All righty, day one of camp for both boys at the Rangers Archery Academy run by Trackers Bay. It goes from 8.45 til 3.30. (Be still my beating heart.) They get taken to a regional park type place, set up for the day and shoot arrows at targets to their hearts’ content. They also learn some useful bush survival stuff and sometimes how to make their own bow. Very Hunger Games. Last year they absolutely loved it, so I’ve booked them in for two weeks this time, at great expense, in the hope that they will do a leaders course next summer and end up teaching other little darlings. The camp coaches actually took me aside last year and said how helpful the boys had been. Amazing how they change personality in other people’s company isn’t it? They let it all out when they come home, don’t worry.
Americans feel no guilt about sending their kids to camp. It is just how things are done here. People take about one or two weeks annual holiday so it is just a necessity and the industry behind holiday camps is a well-oiled machine here. A survey pops up the week after to see how it went and what could be done better. The Nike Cal tennis camp the boys did a couple of weeks ago was just superb – one coach per six kids and one of them was the junior tennis champion of the world a few years’ back.
And let’s face it, summer camp is about preserving a parent’s sanity. At this morning’s drop off for the archery camp, the other parents and I, complete strangers, beamed at each other. Our shoulders straightened as we headed back to our cars – I think we all felt a surge of energy in the knowledge we had six hours to ourselves to think and get things done. I’m working on a new website idea and I just need some uncluttered thinking time. Having said that I’m managing to fritter away the day already, stopping off at Trader Joe’s (great food store chain here) and Whole Foods (needs no introduction) on the way home. I am having a “work lunch” with a friend to talk about the website. Then home for some writing and it’ll be pick up time before I know it.
Next week is a free week, apart from some morning tennis. I have been trying to take the kids into San Francisco to see the Diego Rivera mural at the San Francisco Art Institute but oh boy it’s going to take some major bribery – it truly is like I’m suggesting an awful punishment. The boys have not taken to San Fran. They find it busy, smelly, full of homeless people and hard to navigate. I don’t think they would even want to go in with their friends either. I guess that will change although their first bit of exploring is more likely to happen in Oakland because it has a lot going on – music venues, pubs, loads of restaurants and it’s very accessible from Berkeley. Maybe I’ll just drag them around Lake Merritt in Oakland instead. It’s a good walk and it’s around water! I’ve found a great cafe near the lake too – Boot and Shoe Cafe – it does doughnut muffins as big as your head. That should get them there. And we could pop to the Oakland Museum of California on the way home. Oh, who am I kidding?
By the way, that’s four weeks down of the school holidays gone, just six and a bit to go. You’ve got to feel for me.