Another year draws to a close

Yet another summer term ends, and while we still have one more day tomorrow, it is for staff only as the pupils get to start their holiday at the end of today.

It has been a year full of trials and difficulties, some challenging pupils and some difficult staff issues too, and I will be very glad to see Friday afternoon roll around. At the same time it will be quite sad as our headteacher of some 25 years finally retires. I’ve known him myself for almost 20 of those years, which is actually over half my life, and quite a crazy way to think of it! It really is the end of an era, and he is leaving behind some pretty big boots to fill, a rather daunting job for any new potential head teacher!

So what is the summer holidays actually going to look like in the Vokes household? Well, we’re keeping Olivia in nursery for her two days a week, as we have to pay for those anyway. It gives me an opportunity to get other things done, plus she enjoys it anyway and gets a great deal out of it, so why deprive her of that? She is starting to make friends and learn social skills with the other children, a valuable lesson that she just can’t really learn at home, no matter how much I try to teach her. The other three weekdays it’ll be just me and little missy, so I am hoping to take her out to see friends and family, or go for some walks as she loves being outdoors… but for those rainy days where we have to stay at home I intend to but some kids paint and let her have fun painting and get totally messy! Kids need to explore, they need to be free to make a mess without worrying about consequences, and this is exactly the reason we had laminate wood floor put in when we were sorting the house out before we moved in, rather than carpet downstairs. Pretty much everything, including the sofa, can be wiped clean with little effort!

Then of course I am lucky to have Clare off work for a week and our trip to Torquay planned! I am very excited about Olivia’s first holiday, it’s going to be great, even if the British weather does treat us to a downpour, I am fairly confident we won’t care that much!

What has been happening more recently? Well there was the leavers prom that I always attend around this time of year. The kids looked fantastic and all the parents were keen to get their hands on some prints!

I have been going for a few years now, and have taken some nice photos along the way, but I knew I was on a time limit this year, and had to get back home as early as I could. So it was a case of rattling through the photos and trying to make the ones that I took really count. With my 85mm lens and a beautiful yellow flowered bush conveniently located on the school grounds, it all came together pretty well. Thankfully, the practical upshot of this was that I did not need to put up my background and lights this year, which saved me a lot of time and meant I was able to get home to the wife, who wasn’t feeling well, and be able to put Olivia to bed instead of her doing it.

The weekend was a busy one, and I had been asked to photo graph my friends little girl who was almost seven months old, and naturally I was delighted at the opportunity! As she was still only in the sitting stage, and not moving very far, this gave me an instant advantage, it meant I could be more flexible and move around to get a better shot. Just before we finished, we took the shoot outside and got a few photos in the natural light, under the shade of a tree in a local park.

Having such a cute little model always helps to make things easier though, and after a big snooze and a feed just before we started, she was in a fantastic mood and didn’t complain once about the camera being all up in her face either! I can’t wait to capture her again at 12 months and see how she has changed. These are the kind of photos I want to be doing more of! They are far less time consuming and far more stress-free! Of course I still do weddings, but I keep it low-key until friends ask me to help out, which I am always happy to do.

Of course, the blog wouldn’t be complete without a new portrait of my beautiful little daughter. I have taken so many of her since she was born, it was easy to get carried away, but now its time to start taking some proper portraits, especially as she has learnt to at least pause and look at the camera briefly now. I am not trying to get her to pose, or turn her into some kind of child model, but these are memories we will treasure when she has grown up and moved out. That day may seem like a long, long way off… but it will be here one day!


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