School closure


So referendum day dawned and it was wet. So wet in fact that the whole area had been flooded. “Did you sleep badly?” asked my partner gloomily. In fact, I completely passed out after only son came in and had no recollection whatsoever of the night. Apparently it had been pretty stormy. My partner was already tired from the weekend so another bad night’s sleep was not adding to his general sense of well being. I was merely tired from the relentlessness of life. Every week Friday seems that bit further away.

My partner groaned his way through breakfast and headed off with daughter two. About 15 minutes later while I was creating “nectar” for the butterflies, as you do, [only son got a caterpillar hatching kit for his birthday], the phone rang. “Don’t go up the A road. Take the back roads. The place is flooded,” said my even gloomier partner. We took his advice. There were big puddles everywhere. Just near the school a river had burst its banks and was flooding all over the road. Nevertheless, we made it to school on time. I burnished my good mother credentials, while attempting to divert only son from jumping in every single puddle on the way to the school gate.

Just after I got home, my partner rang again to say he was taking many diversions. Forty minutes passed. I got a call from daughter two. “School is closed, mum, and dad’s gone.” “Your school is closed?” I said out loud for no particular reason. A voice came from the other room. “Does that mean the GCSEs are off?” Daughter one was still in bed, avoiding physics revision. An email arrived shortly afterwards from the school.  It informed us that school was closed…except for public examinations. Ha.

My partner was stuck in a traffic jam somewhere on the way into London. I headed off via back roads. People were doing u-turns all over the place. I ploughed through, a woman on a mission as daughter two sent me voicemails all the while. The only problem is I was in a forest and there was no way of accessing them so they just made me feel on edge.

I arrived at the school. “At school,” I texted. Nothing. Against all advice from teenagers, I went in. There was apparently no sign of daughter two anywhere. No one had seen her. I went back to the car and texted her. About 15 minutes later I got a call. “Just coming, mum…” said a breathless daughter two. “Just got your message. It was delayed. And I have no data.” She forgot to hang up so all I could hear was her heavy breathing as she ran towards the car.

Daughter two went into a complicated explanation of signing in or not signing in and being forced to stay at school or some such, but it turned out that even if you signed in you could go home because there were no teachers, not even the really angry ones.

We sailed home over the waters. A couple of hours later a text arrived from primary school to announce that the other two could be collected early. Naturally, daughter three, who is going through what I will describe as a hormonal stage, was a bit miffed. Only son, however, was rather pleased. “Put on the One Direction,” he yelled from the back of the car. “Number eight, please, mum.”

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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