New term, new beginnings ...

Well, its been a strange, unprecedented year and I don't know about you, but I can't quite believe that summer is almost over and that in a week or so students of all ages will be heading back to the classroom.

When I was a child (fifty plus years ago), there was no two ways about it I hated school and as the August Bank Holiday approached I used to get a sickly, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I could never sleep the night before actually returning to school and sometimes I wished that I had never even had the long summer break and then I wouldn't have this endless, lonely, stomach churning night ahead!

By the time my own children entered the education system, thank goodness that school life bore no resemblance to the almost Dickensian, gloom filled days that I could remember. But even so, the end of school holidays, although filled with excitement at the thoughts of seeing friends again, were always tinged with a little bit of sadness, so I determined right from the start that my children would always end their school holidays on a high and most importantly, sleep well the night before the big 'return-to-normality' day. Hence, that last day was always spent doing something fun and back in the eighties and nineties, that often entailed a day out to Whitby.

The sun invariably shone, or at least in my memory it did, and we had fun on the beach where we all collected shells and the children had donkey rides. Of course we had fish and chips for lunch which were eaten at the end of the pier, followed by an ice cream - which always seemed so much bigger than the ones that we had at home.

Then there were the shops, ... oh how we loved those quaint and quirky shops that sold things that you never saw anywhere else. Shops that smelled of incense and that played music from far-away lands. Shops that sold crystals, ethnic jewellery and wall-hangings and clothes reminiscent of my hippy, teenage years. There were always hidden treasures to be unearthed in Whitby, and I will never forget the day that we discovered the Guatamalan Worry People.

Tiny, handmade and brightly coloured, they were sold in family groups and contained in little yellow boxes. It was said (and still is to this day so I believe), that when the Mayan people of Guatamala had worries, they told them to their worry people last thing at night, before placing them under their pillow. As they slept, the worry people would work their magic and by morning, according to legend, the worries had disappeared.

Needless to say, we all bought a set and even though the yellow box has now faded, I still have my Worry People to this day and yes, on occasion I still have been known to use them.

In many ways, it were these end of school-holiday trips to Whitby that were the inspiration for Angels & Unicorns, the 'Quirky Gift' page in particular. Here, I am delighted to say that I too carry a supply of original Guatamalan Worry People, along with many other quirky, colourful and delightful products, that you may not find too readily on the high street. Why not take a look and let me know what you think?

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