Wednesday, 23 July 2014

How to do the summer holidays when you're skint.

It's the last day of the school year today.  I told myself that I'd spend today doing all the little jobs and bits of housework that I won't be able to get done for the next 6 weeks.  Yeah.  Or, I could fanny about on the internet with This Morning on in the background.  I'll leave you to make your own mind up about which option I've gone for.

Now, all over Pinterest and those genuinely good parent blogs with ideas and recipes and nicely groomed children, I've been seeing summer holiday bucket lists for the last few weeks.  They're crammed full of wonderful, fun things to do and places to go to with your kids.  I say that's all very well if you a) have some money and b) you can drive.  I can't drive and a quick check of my bank account reveals that I have approx 50p to get me through to August, and the situation isn't going to improve much after that, lets be honest.  So here's how the boy and I will be spending the summer holidays:

1. Doing housework.  Kid's so bored most of the time that he thinks this is fun.  Or maybe he considers it a novelty because I do so little of it.  Anyway, he likes nothing better than whipping around the furniture with the Mr Sheen and a duster, so he can crack on with that while I make headway with the Pimms.  Yesterday, he followed me outside while I was hanging out the washing.  "If you're a really good boy, I'll show you how to peg out the washing on your own during the summer holidays", I said.  He actually hugged me.  Parenting: I have nailed it.

2. Hanging around various local parks like a pair of hobos.  "I don't care if it's raining. Get on that swing and don't get down until you've enjoyed yourself.  IT'S FREE."

3. Ditto the library.  We will be there, borrowing all the books and scouting for colouring sheets.  And thanking God that the boy is now too old for Rhyme Time, because, lets face it, Rhyme Time is shit.

4. Being in the back garden.  STOP THE PRESS: We have finally had our hazardous patio fixed.  This means that in order to get our moneys worth (because I banned Mr Disgrace from doing it after he ballsed it up last time, and paid someone to do it instead), we are going to be sitting on that fudger until November.

5. Going on nature walks. Why doesn't my child ever want to go on a nature walk?  Why?  I want to do a nature treasure hunt and make a picture out of the stuff we find and complete a tick list of insects and birds and all that jazz.  Whereas Rory's one ambition is to walk to the One Stop Shop and buy a Wham bar and an overpriced Spiderman magazine.  FFS.

6. Walking to the One Stop Shop to buy a Wham bar.  Every Day.

7. Filling in a holiday diary.  In a fit of ill-judged enthusiasm, I spent 2 quid on a scrapbook the other day, so that the small one could record all the wonderful things we're going to do over the summer (such as cleaning the toilet and walking to the One Stop).  This is only going to lead to entries such as this one in his school writing book from October half term:

Translation: "I went to Wetherspoons with Evie."  Because he did go to Wetherspoons with me and his mate, Evie and her mum (for breakfast - it was nice actually).  He also went to the theatre and an art gallery during that half term, but obviously they slipped his mind when writing up his holiday news at school.  And why not?  I mean, is there a more appropriate place to take a child than a budget pub?  Christ.  Add this piece of writing to the various other bits he wrote about me over the year ("my mummy is lovely, she has lipstick", "my mummy lets me wear her make-up" etc) and his teacher obviously has me down as a vapid, looks-obsessed trollop who doesn't let her kid stand in the way of a trip to the pub.  Would not mind but I only own ONE lipstick and it's down to the point where you have to scrape it out with your fingernail to smear it on.

8. Going to Wetherspoons.  Hey, it was such a hit last time, lets do it again.

9. Making stuff from Mister Maker's Giant Box-O-Crap.  None of which will even slightly resemble anything that Mister Maker has ever made.  In fact, most of it will look like a cereal box with one pom pom and a pipecleaner sellotaped on top.  And I will not be allowed to throw any of it out, ever.  Which is great, because what my rubbish house really needs is a load of falling apart yoghurt pot creations strewn all over it.  It will set off the shabby chic theme a treat.

10. Colouring in.  Thank God for colouring in.  Rory's obsessed with it at the moment, and I'm counting on it to get us through the rainy days.  I've been joining in too, and I tell you what - it's saving me a fortune on therapy bills.

Now, just before I go, can I please get a "HELL, YEAH" and a fist bump from the internet?  Because I've made it through the whole of the first school year without my child being late once.  Amazing.  Truly.


  1. My friend just bought her son a bucket in Aldi today. He was so pleased. If that's any help. Only 99p. I blame the home education you know...x

  2. We've tried number 6 (walking to Mc Donalds to get the boys lunch plus some weird-looking watches), a variation of no2 (takinch the kids to the beach), no9 (decoupage workshop has now replaced our kitchen and freed me from doing the cooking as there's virtually nowhere to do so) and a lovely combination of 2 and 9 (getting a couple of beers from the nearest off-licence and going to the park after dark. The kids running around with torches). I've also added an afternoon nap to make the day pass faster!

  3. Free one hour child care at IKEA. Take some disguises for the pair of you and make a day of it. With a family card you get free coffee and internet.

    1. SUPER TOP TIP! (although would need husband to drive me there). And those hot dogs are cheap as...well, cheap as a dodgy product made with all the manky bits of meat that you can't use for anything else can be. But they still taste amazing - can't go wrong.

  4. Fab ideas, love the Wetherspoons nod. Can I add Disney-DVD (or Peppa) marathons and disco-dancing breakouts to all the pop hits lurking amongst your CDs?

  5. So hilarious! Hope the weather remains good so that you can make the most of free stuff outside! ;) Really enjoyed this A LOT x

  6. I love you and love your blog,...just from reading this entry and your intro line. Really has cheered me up after an awful night and a breath of fresh air too! So funny.

  7. Very funny! My son once suggested we go to town so he could busk. I'm cute he said people will give me money. He might have been learning the drums at a time but he couldn't play a chord!

  8. This is me! I don't drive, have money and don't even have a garden so me and the boys have spent most of the last week hanging at the parks until we get too hot, or finding friends with gardens that are free! Good luck over the holidays! x

  9. Get those boys interested in housework by rigging up their own mini washing line outside. Give them pegs, assorted rags and socks to wash and hopefully they will enjoy it as much as my son (and I) did.

  10. Wonderful, wonderful post! I'm loving the Wetherspoons idea. And our park has got a trainline running through it. We have spent hours - HOURS - sitting, listening, waving.....sitting, listening, waving.... sitting..etc. Boring as shite, but costs nothing!

  11. LOL I sure many of us spent our summer this way. Bar options 8 and 9 yes, that's been my summer pretty much. Thankfully we have lovely parks and a great children centre so to be honest, I don't mind at all :0)