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Is it summer?

With the change in the current weather, either predicted by supposed forecasters or by pot luck, it might be reasonably safe to assume it could well be that summer thing in all its glory but the ultimate way of knowing it is for sure is despite all the rain, snow, ‘Hurricane Hilda’ plus assorted unnamed blizzard conditions in recent months/weeks, there will be a hosepipe ban as par the norm.

If only we could devise some way of actually storing water, but never mind as we can’t have everything I suppose.

Summers don’t seem to be like the ones we had years ago that lasted from, say, the middle of April till September as nowadays just as something half decent kicks its way in with hot humid weather, its then followed by a rip-roaring thunderstorm or hurricane - sometimes so fast that the ‘Lets Give a Hurricane a Silly Name department at the Meteorological Centre are caught off guard - and we have instant Siberian weather conditions with ‘global warming’, the last government or 'lessons have not been learnt' being blamed.

Nowadays you know if it’s a good one as the weather is scorching hot, then you have to go on a waiting list to get into a car boot sale as the demand for bodies to wander around in a vain effort to soak up the sun suddenly increases ten fold or two fivers if you’ve got no change.

One sunny, hot humid day was some years ago now as my mum, of the people for the people, had somebody visiting her late one morning and over a cup of tea in the kitchen, she looked out at the assorted wild bird-life that was part of the homestead if you like as mum left seed, bread crumbs and a bowl of water out for them.

Cue her friend who then pointed out which bird breed was which, as if mum didn’t know, and their assorted habits etc as in which ones flew south at a given time and perhaps those who had had their flight cancelled due to baggage strikes etc as she seemed to be really well informed although a dark cloud was looming she perhaps could not see or imagine.

Having heard all the assorted information that would not have been out of place in a session of television’s ‘Mastermind’ quiz programme with the chosen personal subject of ‘Peering out of kitchen windows and discussing wild bird life’, mum then asked if her knowledge extended to knowing which one had done the spectacular 'whoopsie' all down her bed sheet she had hung out on the clothes-line as she felt sure, discounting any passing eagle, it might be something to do with the bloke who kept racing pigeons down the road at number 77, with the green front door but although she did not know him well said she thought he was perhaps Scottish as he spoke with a very strong tartan accent.

Answer to that, there cometh none but the slooping of tea continued unabated but mum suggested that whatever it was, it was fed well on a regular basis.

There are of course more obvious signs that summer is here and by signs it can only mean the now eagerly expected road works - I say eagerly as it’s a bit of a sort of competition to guess which road/bypass/roundabout that won’t be affected by those silent shadow people, who arrive to set up a small shed type structure, then the signs, folding bollards and all the other paraphernalia that go to make these sites attractions in their own right.

Next is a reported shortage of wristwatch batteries in the surrounding area as a lot of people are slightly perplexed that every time they drive by, after the initial slowdown process that is, there is seemingly nobody ‘on site’ actually doing anything (on motorways, its sort of traditional that someone will walk backwards and forwards with either a shovel or large tar stained brush/broom to give an indication of involvement or movement) so it crosses many people minds that the battery in their watch wants renewing and so a shortage begins as its a seasonal sort of thing.

A lot of this procedure is now blamed on ‘going digital’ or it’s the effects of global warming in that people are fading away from the job, whatever it might be.

Going digital is often used or blamed for assorted elements that make the world we live in so joyful these days although one incident that still makes me wonder if I knew a genius at one point but I was unaware of the fact then.

Stan was one of those wonderful people who was ‘down to earth’ and had time for everyone - wristwatch battery shortages excluded - and if you asked him the time of day he would tell you, although there were never two occasions when the reply was the same but he often said ‘time waits for no one’ but more so in car parks when shelling out for a ticket or as he once put it, one of the very few times we are charged for buying fresh air or in common terms, a space in it.

As well as being a soothsayer of sorts, Stan also played the spoons around the local pubs and clubs (for those not aware of this musical talent should perhaps look it up on the internet) as he was quite good at it as in entertaining folk as to see him ‘crackling the cutlery’ as he put it was quite something with the added plus that after each piece he would tell you what it was he had just played - he explained that was because of any ‘late comers’ arriving having missed the first bit - as he didn’t like to feel anybody was being left out.

The years crept on and Stan grew older in the same time cycle of course but having not seen him about for a while, I bumped into him one afternoon and asked was he still ‘crackling the cutlery’?

Sadly time had taken its toll on him as he was now plagued with arthritis and with the coming of the ‘digital age’ felt he would be unable or capable to ‘re-train’ to be part of it hence he was now retired from ‘crackling the cutlery’ so was not ‘going digital’ but was into more gentle pursuits such as playing ‘shove fifty pence’ which was formally ‘shove-halfpenny’ but this had been converted and also ‘gone digital’ in the passing of time.

Summer also sees more people or motorists coming to grief with potholes in the roads as the supposed ‘nice’ weather brings more people out to enjoy it plus has given a new edge to the children in the car asking: ‘Are we there yet?’ has been replaced by a new sport as parent/guardian plays ‘snakes and ladders’ in trying to avoid said potholes as they advise the said children: ‘Just keep counting the potholes’ as they drive along our most wonderful patchwork quilt roads that make the jungle trails of Peru seem almost a luxury in comparison.

While the potholes are taking longer to get sorted or filled in, extra funding has been put aside to buy more tins of aerosol paint to mark them with, so it’s not all bad news.

The simple joys of the British summer - unbeatable.


Recalling the ‘best days of our lives’


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