They grow up so fast.

I knew this week was going to be an emotional one. I don’t mean sad, not in any way at all but a pleasant mixture of sentiment and realizations of the way the years are passing by so incredibly quickly.  On top of that, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by the most wonderful friends who know me inside out and come rain or shine—will always be there for me.

This week my son began senior school. Over the past few weeks we have been carefully prepping both physically and emotionally for the transition from little boy to teenager-in-waiting. There is no doubt he is ready for the step up, but I’m not sure I am.

Watching him learn how to do his tie up perfectly and seeing the pride on his face as he put his (slightly too big) blazer on for the first time brought tears to my eyes.

They say they grow up fast but no one can really explain just how fast. It seems only a couple of years ago that I was dressing him in his first school uniform and walking him to the gates of the local infant school. He suddenly looked so little and it was really hard to not just turn around and take him home again. Seven years later, as I dropped him outside the gates of his senior school; dressed in a uniform that practically drowned him, and carrying a bag that is almost as big as he is—I had the same sudden desire to scoop him up and take him home again. I wish I’d had a camera to record that precious moment but I’m sure the memory will stay with me for a very long time.

It was also my birthday this week and much as I can’t possibly disclose my decrepit old age, I think it was the best one I’ve ever had. Simple as it was, my husband really went to town to make sure I felt special and had a day to remember.

He knows how much I love photography and imagery, (you may have seen some of my pictures on my Flickr account which is attached to this website) so he bought me a fabulous Cannon PowerShot camera to pursue my interest further.

We dropped the kids off for their first day at school and then went for coffee. Most of the conversation revolved around the roller coaster of emotions we were feeling at seeing our little boy disappear into an ocean of enormous high school kids.

We then went for a long walk along an old railway line—one of our towns hidden gems, and I tried out my new camera snapping everything that moved and quite a lot of things that didn’t.

The walk led us to one of our favorite pubs where we whiled away the afternoon in the blazing sunshine before heading off to collect the kids from school.

In the evening we all went out for dinner. My son was still on a high and full of the wonders of high-school. The kids chose their favorite restaurant for the double celebration of their first day back and my surprisingly special day.

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“Isn’t it strange that the sun always shines when we come here,” …

said my friend’s son as we parked ourselves on the rolling green lawns of Kenilworth castle.

“Well, Alex, it’s not quite like that. We’ve actually tried to visit several times lately, but we only come here when the sun is shining.”

Too late, he was gone.

Kenilworth castle is one of my favourite locations locally. There is something about that place, whether it is the unusually peaceful history of a medieval castle, or the dramatic ochre colour sandstone set among weeping willows against a baby blue sky, it doesn’t matter, I just absolutely love it there.

The gift shop has a great hold over our children, too. They stock a vast array of wooden swords, spears and daggers etc. The boys love nothing more than stocking up on weaponry and heading off into the bowels of the castle – or ‘the hole’ as they like to call it.

It brings out the medieval soldiers in our 11 year olds, and in this age of video games and technology, there really is nothing like seeing your son drawing a wooden sword from his belt-loop and heading off with his friends into battle.

More pictures on my flickr.