Is summer over? The days are definitely getting shorter, the nights are colder and, despite the Bank Holiday heatwave, the jumpers are on!
I’ve had a fab summer this year. I’ve been very sure to make time for myself and to relish the 6 weeks holiday my boyfriend has from teaching. I’ve had two weeks completely without work (even switching off emails!) and lots of lovely days out.
I thought I’d use this blog at the inevitable “Back to School” time of year to reflect on a summer well spent.
July is always a funny month; my private school teaching ends but state schools are continuing. Added to this the start of wedding season and I’m lulled into thinking I have less work to do… Within the weddings at Swynford Manor, Warwick House, Normanton Church and more beautiful venues, I squeezed in days out to Bletchley Park where my mother and I realised we are not as bright as we thought! It was fascinating to see exactly the places where codes were cracked under huge secrecy, and also the social element of working in such close confines. What an incredible place!
We also headed to London on the hottest day of the year to see Dior: Designer of Dreams at The V&A Museum. This was simply breathtaking. I knew virtually nothing about Dior before going but what an education! There were pieces there from all heads of the house, from the classic Christian Dior to the extravagant John Galliano. My personal favourite was the current head of the house, Maria Grazia Chiuri, who I thought was the closest to Dior’s original vision.
The setup of the exhibition was fascinating too – such different worlds and imagery in every room. The pieces perfectly matched their setting of a garden room, ballroom, even displayed in solitude sometimes.
It is almost impossible to get a ticket now but I would highly recommend buying the book of the exhibition which explains the pieces in such detail and with such wonderful photography that it is really something to treasure.
For our two weeks off this year we decided on staycations. So easy, same currency and you know there’s always something to do if it rains!
Our first trip was back to Glasgow – my university city. It was amazing taking Oli round all my old haunts, eateries and bars. We checked off every tourist trap on my list, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Riverside Museum, Glasgow University and The People’s Palace. We also visited my university – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – which was an absolute blast from the past. I loved going back, feeling all the feels of “did I work hard enough?”, and even revisiting the room where my final recital took place.
I adore Glasgow – if only to rebuke its reputation for an unsafe city! It’s a wonderful place, full of glorious people, views, places and things to do. It’s so vibrant, brimming with life and culture. It was especially poignant for me to return to a place where I had been so unhappy at times, but that really made me the person I am today.
Into August and after a short trip up to the Yorkshire Dales with my mum, our second staycation was to Cornwall, which is fast becoming one of my favourite places in the UK. We rented an AirBnB Shepherd’s Hut near Boscastle for a couple of days to explore that area then moved down to Padstow for a family holiday with Oli’s family. This was amazing, filled with beautiful weather (most of which enjoyed on the beach) but also exploring Lanhydrock, a stunning National Trust property with over 50 rooms on display. This is always a must-see for me when I’m in this part of the world as there is a small family connection to the house.
Summer is over however and we are back to the grindstone now. This year is set to be a bit calmer for me (well, I’ll see if that’s still the case in December) with less teaching and more spending time on me (I believe the term is self-care) and with my instruments. I’ll keep you posted!
Welcome to the blog of Harriet Flather Musician!