I love this time of year. It has always been my favourite time, and even as I get older the pleasure and thrill of September hasn’t diminished one iota.
When I was at primary school I loved September because I loved the newness of a different classroom, the stiffness of new shoes and school uniform, the fresh start with a new teacher all wrapped up with the security of being in a familiar and comforting school I had known all my life. I loved the chilly mornings with my new anorak keeping me warm that would quickly get turned into a cape on my head or wrapped round my waist, the arms tied together on the way home because it was baking hot in the Autumn sunshine.
When I moved to secondary school September brought another set of new things to savour: new timetable, new exercise books, even new subjects for us in the top set who got to learn German as well as French in the third year. There was the added buzz of new pens and notebooks – a lifelong love of new stationery was born during my time in secondary school – and every now and again there was the thrill of a new schoolbag too. The longer walk to school was lovely too and gave us kids more time to crunch through the leaves as they fell from the thousands of trees that lined our route to school and over the “backies” to the back gate. One of the best things about living in Blackley as I do is the trees – always has been.
After school came sixth form, and after those days and my very young marriage, another “new” hit me one September when I gave birth to my daughter Emma. Not only did the new identity of mother hit me with a big bang, but before too long I found myself repeating all those things I’d loved from my own childhood Septembers with her too. New uniforms being bought at the end of the summer holidays, new book bags and overcoats being bought, new shoes being polished, new stationery and new schoolbags….it was as fantastic to be on the giving end of those things as it was to be on the receiving end when I was a child.
My daughter is now about to start her third year at university and doesn’t need me to sort out her new shoes and stationery any more, and my son will be starting his final year at secondary school tomorrow. Boys are different to girls and he doesn’t want anything new, apart from bigger shirts and a blazer that fits him obviously! He didn’t want to go to W H Smith today for new pens and a notebook like Emma used to do, and as most of his schoolwork is done online now anyway, I would be just clogging up his pockets with pens and pencils when all he really needs is a pen-drive and his bus pass.
Last September I restarted my studies for my degree with the Open University and I was able to indulge my passion for new pens and folders, something that I am looking forward to repeating before my next two courses start in a couple of weeks time. I am on a countdown if the truth be told. The courses are due to start on 5th October but I have already got my study materials through the post, and next Wednesday will see the online part of it being opened. That’s when I can really get to plan my studies – and my folders! – and perhaps even make an early start as well.
I do love September. It’s like another chance at a fresh start and a clean slate again. It’s better than the one that we get at New Year, the one that turns up in the depths of Winter when everyone is dreary and miserable, when coughs and colds ruin most things for most people, and there are lashings of guilt from over-eating and over-spending at Christmas. The September New Year comes on the back of long hot carefree days of happiness and sunshine, and it signals the start of a lovely winding down for everyone. There are festivals and parties to come – Harvest, Halloween, Bonfire Night – and there is a sense of nature being in control. Leaves are changing into spectacular colours right before our eyes, conkers are already dropping from horse-chestnut trees in the park, the sky is a riot of sunsets and meteor showers and misty mornings are the stuff of dreams and legends.
Ah September, how I love thee!!