As a child I loved the long summer school holidays. A time for playing tennis in the street with friends on tarmac that bubbled in the shimmering heat, open air swimming and staying up late, glorious in the knowing there was no early morning wake up call for school the following day.
In contrast summer holidays for Charlie are a time of isolation, a season of annoyance in the buzzing of bees and flies and a confusing freedom of no timetable to follow, his one saving grace being able to spend time in the water. Save for a chilly week spent in the Lake District we went about summer with a fly swatter in hand and an early morning walk around the Fairhaven Lake to avoid crowds of people.
This summer Charlie put me in mind of Philip Larkin’s poem Mother, Summer, I:-
He tells me that the heat of the summer months makes everything too bright and noisy, necessitating outings at dawn and dusk. But now as the geese begin training for flight to distant lands in cooler, waning skies and the swallows prepare to leave their summer stoop, Charlie is happy again. He sits on his swing in the garden in his coat, feet pointing up towards the gathering clouds, and sighs “Ah, it’s a lot quieter now”. Truly a winter child he is happy that school has begun and that routine reigns and that the autumn and winter ahead have some purpose.