So … it’s nearly been a couple of weeks since our lovely daughter came home and told us – ‘Schools shutdown!

10 days of isolation, confliction (no GCSE’s, no prom .. no proper goodbyes), every night applauding the NHS at 20.00, new burgeoning routines, a week of lovely weather and a few days of winter, a daily deluge of worrying news, a week of Boris Bulletins a weak of bullet-less Boris-less bluffs. A week of tweets and a week of What’sapp groups – some already left!

Throughout this time her school shoes have sat resolutely on the dining room chair and a scrumpled blazer discarded in its traditional manner on the chair beside.

No longer the objects of paternal exasperation! No more imploring of ‘Will you please not put your school shoes on the chair… will you please put your blazer where it goes’ No sarcasms – ‘Anyone’s shoes??’ Anyone know whose blazer this is?’ No deep exhalations as dad puts said blazer on its hook and no weary trudging up the stairs to place said shoes on ‘their step’. No more devious hiding of said shoes and blazer to cause a panic in the morning when they can’t be found in order for ‘lessons to be (not) learnt.

They’ve just sat there – totems to a time past. A phase of life gone.

No more ‘school blazer’ no more ‘school’ shoes

No more urgent clean or polish. No more plasters to stop rubbing or urgent replacement laces from the late night dash to Asda.

I remember teaching her to tie laces for those first school shoes … 11 years ago.

No more brave dives into blazer pockets, wading through the ecosystem of sweetie wrappers, scribbled notes, tangled headphones, enough small change to refinance a nation, and lip salves, more lip salves, more and more lip salves – and sometimes even the illusive treasure of a missing front door key.

No more school outfitters, embarrassed kids, RSM kit inspection parents, no more ‘room for growing’ no more ‘ I can’t wear that I’ll get bullied’ no more ‘Shall we get 5 whilst we’re here’ no more ‘ How much????’

No more 5 shirts all ironed hanging on the door ready for the magic fairy to whisk them up to the bedroom and maybe once or twice as far as the wardrobe!!

No more school tie … at last – perhaps at some grande unveiling … the knot will be undone … the tie knot that lasted years finally unravelled and set free like a pit pony to enjoy its moment in the washing machine before being folded and placed alongside Lilliputian jumpers, doll like shirts and sweatshirts from years and schools past – now safely in the attic … for keeps.

And now the last blazer is soon to join these other relics from a life well schooled. (We just have to decide who is brave enough – who gets the honour of the final blazer pocket trawl.)

So shoes – it’s time to come off that chair. Blazer … now is the time.

And now of course I long for one more night of shoes on the chair. One more night of blazer in a heap. Just one more loud knock on the door when the key can not be found. One more shrug and ‘Alright’ when asked what school was like today. One more excited giggle as a story of mishap or embarrassment or triumph is retold. One more hug when intercepting the magnetic draw to the fridge. One more – ‘What’s for tea?)

So shoes my friends – you can have one more night sat upon the chair. And blazer one more stroke, a bit of smoothing, a respectful fold and you too can have one more night on the dining room chair.

It’s all different in sixth form – right?