Anyone who actually follows these entries and read the last one where I was about to enjoy basking in the sun on the patio as a “penthouse housewife” can be reassured that any feelings of jealousy were completely unfounded. Having spent every summer for the last ten years or more for the majority abroad or in the south, I've never experienced a Leeds summer and had forgotten an unwritten rule.
Term finished for the majority on Friday so today heralded the official beginning of the school summer holidays – as weekends were never a “school day”, the summer always felt like it started on the first would-be-work-day. As both a teacher and student, the hottest days always seemed to be during the last four weeks of term, especially in final exam-sitting season. I remember both the distracting humidity when trying to frantically scrawl exam question answers and the pain of trying to persuade disgruntled students to do some work.
This year is my first full British summer and the first time I have spent it in Leeds, despite living in the city for over a decade. It is also the first time the start of the summer holidays has been something I have been dreading. As a supply teacher, summer holidays means no pay and little work prospects, whereas full-time staff are paid but also have to endure all the other hardships and stresses that come with contracted work.
Every year I can remember, the weather seems to change as soon as the holidays begin from baking punishing heat to dreary wet humidity. I have always thought in order to compensate for this summer holidays should begin and finish earlier but LEAs don't seem to consider this an appropriate action.
Today, unfortunately followed this infuriating pattern - I woke up looking forward to a good read on the hammock and instead faced wearing a borrowed hoodie and a wet stroll into town (having had weeks of humidity and sun in London, I failed to pack any appropriate school holiday attire). I have also discovered that it is not only the weather that is against my fun – for some reason every Leeds and Bradford theatre shuts up over August so all my reviewing intentions have been shattered. I can understand that the summer is supposed to be outdoors time but what about when the rubbish weather predictably kicks in and what are all the tourists supposed to do? I guess temporary housewives should really occupy themselves with housework anyway...