I know, many are heaving sighs of relief. The school holidays are done, the little darlings (not so darling in the last weeks of August) are dressed again in uniform grey, or navy, and heaving sacks of books off to school. They will return full of grumbles about Mr So-and-So and how little Johhny up the road never does any homework and gets away with it so why do they have to wrestle with Pythagoras so please, please, please can they have their phones back because they simply have to talk to someone they saw just half an hour ago ...
The days resume a routine, a familiarity. We all know what we're doing. From 8.30 to 9.00 the streets are full of young people, mothers with straggling youngsters, and working men and women relaxing in their shops and offices and building sites knowing that they don't have to worry about the children for a few hours. Phew.
There is another side to this. I'm 'retired' (whatever that means), so there's no going back to work, no resumption of routine. I get up when I feel like it, the same as always. I eat and read and wander round my lovely market town at any time of year.
But the town - ah, that's where the difference tells. No young people in the corners, lads with their trousers round their bottoms (how do they stay up?), women with wonderful bosoms on display. All those tattoos and piercings and telling the world about who did what to whom last night. No children hanging around the cafes licking ice creams. The playground is quiet, the swings still, abandoned. And the toy shop, which has been busy all summer, suddenly quiet. I can move in there and it feels wrong. The woman at the counter shuffles papers and doesn't know what to do with herself.
The streets are now free, for people just like me. Respectable, with careful hair and shopping trolleys. We remember our pleases and our thank yous. We discuss the new shop, have we been in there yet, I wouldn't bother if I were you, oh I thought it was rather good. We wonder if we have time to stop for coffee.
Nobody balances on the kerbstones. Nobody plays 'bears' along the cobbles. Nobody tugs at a sleeve and asks for an ice cream. And I miss them - these children, these young people who have filled the streets with energy and laughter.
Roll on half term.