The suncreams, all three of them, sit folornly by the door, unused since our holiday. Last week's tennis camp was necessarily indoors, so there was no use for the big tube of kids' factor 50, small tube to take with them, or indeed my special my non-greasy face cream.
Now the new term has started, and (bar a September heatwave) it won't be until next summer that we have to think about creams, hats and water bottles. Instead, we spent the last few days ensuring school shoes fit, arranging uniform on chairs and having last minute panics over mislaid pencil cases.
Reconvening at school, the children have seemingly all grown a couple of inches; some just look like they've been stretched out like elastic, others are more bulky. Most are sun-browned (clearly none of us put on quite enough of that cream, or perhaps, like me, we've decided to mind our Vitamin D), and most of the parents at the school gate sport a post-holiday glow that makes them look more relaxed than usual. We swap anecdotes of last minute shoe-shopping, holidays mishaps and new concerns about our children. We're regretful that summer is over, but also relish the school-gate conversation after a two month break.
At home, I pack away the swimming costumes, the shorts and the sarongs, and start thinking about plays to book, articles to write, social engagements to arrange. The house seems empty - even though I've often been on my own over the summer, while the boys are out at activities, today it seems to echo more than usual.
For everyone starting the new school year today -- may it be a good one.