The other two long school breaks kind of look after themselves;
Christmas is about Christmas so you tailor that around your family's needs including any foster children you have; you decide whether to do the church thing or ignore the religious side, how to do gifts, who to invite round...all that.
Summer is summer. The weather plays a big part, but if the worst happens at least the rain is warmer. People and organisations put on events, sports things, book appreciation afternoons.
Two and a bit weeks. Cold, wet and so windy all the daffodils are flat on the roadside. The housework somehow trebles with everyone knocking around spilling things.
The cry "I'm bored" goes up on the evening of the day they break up, and for good reason: Easter is nothing. No gifts, no decorations, cards or tree. No sunny carefree days with the promise of the beach. Just two weeks cooped up with nothing organised and nothing to play with but a chocolate egg, or, if they are unlucky, several chocolate eggs.
I remember my childhood Easters with mixed feelings when I was little.
It frightened me.
I couldn't really understand why everyone seemed to be celebrating by having a Bank Holiday, that a man who we were told was at the very least nice and kind, was nailed to a piece of wood. I vividly remember trying to pin down the time of day when the nailing happened because it seemed respectful to be respectful around then. I remember working out that it was probably around 5.00pm what with all the other beatings and sufferings which came first. Of course back then I didn't know the middle east is four hours ahead of us.
What I'm saying is that theres something in the message of Easter, but we don't explain it very well to children, and I'm not about to try telling foster children about the woes of a man who would be 2016 years old, had he lived. At least the Lord was convinced he knew where his Father was, right up to the moment he took his last excruciating breath.
The Easter message is something like; remain hopeful and keep striving for a better world. There's no point talking to foster children about religious heaven and meeting all their dead family members, do I need to expand?
Do you know what one very small foster child once said to me, and I shall not be able to write this without crying:
"Will you come and find me in Heaven. I won't know anybody."
We watched the telly a lot. Those poor programme schedulers, all they've got to play with is Ben Hur and Narnia. Then on comes the news and it's real horror happening now, most of it somehow linked to religion. Followed by government plans to change all schools into academies, then an item about the recent Sats for Yr 6s, which they now concede were too hard. This statement came after the kids felt mauled and useless. The statement was followed by the announcement that in order to correct this error, Yr 6 will take Sats again in their first year at secondary, so something else to get worried about right there kids.
We watched Ben Hur twice for the chariot race, but only because a discussion broke out about whether there was an actual fatality which the wife of the stuntman who allegedly died allowed them to keep in saying it was what he would have wanted.
And everywhere we went on Sunday the people on the tills in shops, which were open, kept saying "Happy Easter".
If anyone can tell me what that means, I'll come round and clean your house for free.