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Saturday 21 February 2015

Daily, weekly and annual routines

Winter at Boxdorf village pond

It is nice to be reminded just how important our daily, weekly, and even annual routines are. 

An early morning cup of tea on the balcony, a weekly visit to a friend, or the seasonal routines of blowing eggs for Easter, making cards for Christmas meeting for an autumn family walk, all remind us that our world is turning nicely.

At my work the children often remind me how much they depend on their own routines' staying constant when they arrive at the group and ask- ‘Where is Évi?’ or ‘Where is Susie?’ when one of us is ill or working elsewhere.

They always notice when another piece of our new kitchen is installed, and have a hundred questions to ask and need to look through the new cupboards and drawers to make sure that all the old things that they are used to are still there.

When a school assistant is ill, or a new replacement begins, it is the first story we hear before coats are removed.

If Mum or Dad is away at work, if a favourite teacher has left the school, or a sibling has gone off on a skiing trip, these changes are also reported. These changes are often the reasons for differences in children’s moods and the children know, without really knowing, why it is important to report these changes in routine to us and to their friends – we discuss them over lunch, their friends ask questions and we all learn from the situation. We learn how to adapt and learn new ways of coping with what comes along in our paths through life.

Spring at Boxdorf village pond

As conductors we must remember that we also have clients who cannot rush in the room and ask where someone is, tell us that brother is away all week and that he is sorely missed, tell us that Dad has had to fly off on a business trip, or that Grandma is poorly and now in hospital. Many of our children cannot report these routine-changing events to us so we must remember that when a child is sad, does not want to eat, seems restless, unmotivated, agitated or unhappy that perhaps their routine has also changed and perhaps we should ask about it in order to indicate in some way that we understand.

This of course happens positively too. Positive changes in routines also have to be discussed and changes in behaviour noted and often praised.
I am the first person to initially react negatively to change. I have improved as I get older but still my initial reaction to a change in my routine is fear, worry, it can even be panic. This may only last for the few seconds that it takes for me to tell myself everything is fine in its new way, or it can last for days and weeks depending on the degree of change.

I think it is one of the reasons that being a conductor suits me, because although my work is so varied and colourful there is always that underlying routine in it that we need to develop for the clients and it does me good too.

I have work in a new city, a new family, a new group of adults, new colleagues, but when the work starts I have to build into it a routine and this is very calming and reassuring and spreads its influences out onto my personal life.

Summer at Boxdorf village pond

What made me start thinking about routines today?

It was when I sat down to read the newspaper with my early morning cup of tea, the one that always tastes best, and I realised how much I had missed this routine and thought perhaps that this was why I never seemed to get going on Saturdays recently.

At last … my Guardian Weekly had arrived and just in time for Saturday morning breakfast as it always used to.

I cancel it when I go away and it usually starts appearing again the week after I return home.

But after my Christmas and New Year break it did not appear in my letter box – week after week.

At first I did not realise why, I thought I must have told them the wrong start-date, but eventually I wrote an email and was told that they had forgotten to restart delivery. My routine had been disturbed and oh how I had missed it.

Each morning as I got ready for work I took Chekhov or one of my other Christmas books with me, all quite heavy tomes, instead of compactly folding the Weekly into my pocket.

Rotating routines

My new routine starts again on Monday, the one that I have to prepare for with lots of sleep in the preceding weeks because it exhausts me.

For three weeks I have been working with the stroke group in the mornings but next Monday I begin three weeks with the Kindergarten children. This work starts an hour earlier but my day still stretches on well into the evenings as always. I find this work tiring but I have developed this as part of my routine so that despite always catching a cold from the always runny noses, I love it.

The dependable routine of nature always accompanies everything we do and makes its own changes along the way. I am happy to see that when I get up a earlier next week I will now be able to enjoy some daylight before I start work and perhaps in the evenings too, on my way home, if I am lucky to get away on time!

Autumn at Boxdorf village pond

My old much-loved, and much-needed, routine

The snow has almost melted and the days might warm up soon if it does not snow again, then I can begin the other routine that I love so much – cycling to work. 
Despite the massive amount of road-works on my route for the extended tramway I am determined to ride my way into the routine of summer, with nature gazing, picking four-leaved clovers and photographing the sunset all to look forward to!

I am glad that nature with its seasons ring the changes but still keeps to its daily routine.


I chose the photographs published here to illustrate my early morning routine of observing the seasonal changes at our local village pond,  not to illustrate the changing rhythms of nature that also affect our lives, that is something else to be dealt with another time.

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