Friday, 31 August 2012

Farewell summer

Last day of August. Some might say the last day of summer – and what a summer. It really has been the worst that I can remember: worse than 1947 which was pretty terrible. As you would expect I was at school that year and our sports day would have been cancelled, a wash-out, had the headmaster not been the type to expect things to carry on no matter what the heavens threw at us. He had fought during the war, as had most of the teachers, and considered the slightest suggestion that the boys might be feeling a bit cold or a bit wet as a personal affront – especially if it came from a parent.

Then the summer holiday started. If I remember correctly (and I may not for I was quite young at the time) my father was still in the army travelling daily to his office in the old War Office and so we were unable to go away. I was allowed to do what I wanted and go where I wanted so long as I did not upset the natives (or, in adult speak, our neighbours and particularly the farmers). The parents of the twins who lived next door and who were my particular friends felt the same and so the three of us would meet after we had finished our chores (which, in both cases, revolved around chicken and other matters horticultural) and off we would go armed with some sandwiches to seek adventure where we could. How different life was in those days – I cannot imagine many parents giving their offspring that level of freedom at such a young age.

Anyway, that summer life in the woods , the fields and the lanes was pretty miserable and we spent a great deal of time in the twins’ play room generally bored out of our minds, playing the odd game of table tennis and generally falling out with each other. How important the weather is to us poor human beings!

It has been just as bad for our friends in many other parts of the world. North America seems to be having more than its fair share of ‟weather″ and our thoughts at this time are with all who have suffered thanks to ‛Isaac’.

Having said that, yesterday the sun shone without interruption and it seems we are in for a few more lovely days even though the temperature has dropped quite a bit.

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We had a lovely surprise yesterday when two books arrived from Denmark. These are reprints of books (The Way We Were and The Summerhouse) but what we found rather amusing is the fact that the red star carries the legend, ‛A good read’ not in Danish, as you would expect, but in English.

Another arrival this week was the new publication of The Prodigal Wife from Estonia. Marcia has a very soft spot for the Estonians for whom she formed a huge admiration during the ‛singing revolution’ in 1989. We find it incredible that such a small country (less than two million people live there) can support so many book sales.