We are having a real heatwave here in the UK - day after day of hot sun and more or less cloudless skies. For the farmers it is a real boon; the grass is growing well, the hay is crisping
and they are all able to get on with haymaking and silaging without looking at the sky every hour to see whether rain clouds are looming.
The Summer feels like the Summers used to feel when we were kids. Our Mums would pack us up a load of sandwiches (usually home made jam). a piece of cake (if we were lucky) and a bottle of something to drink, and we would be off for the day on our bikes. We mostly went down to the river - to swim, to lounge on the bank, or (if there were any houseboats moored) to chat to anybody there. And of course we would swim in the river. As far as I am aware, certainly on the Witham,'my river, ', nobody ever drowned. And we would burn in the fierce heat. It was a matter of honour to get one's back so burnt that it peeled and then browned.
We learned to be pretty self-sufficient, to look after ourselves, to keep well clear of unsavoury characters (oh yes, they were around in those days too), and to arrive home in time for tea. Woebetide us if we were late - and in any case we would be famished by then and ready to eat.
The big thing that has changed of course is the volume of traffic on the road. Hordes of cycling kids carrying shrimping nets and paraphernalia would be a major hazard on the roads now.
And the computer has come and taken over the lives of a lot of children.
But I can sit here in our cool dining room, which faces North and is always cool however hot it may be outside, and I can read, I can reminisce about the old days if I wish to, I can plan what I intend to have for lunch (nothing too strenuous to make), but above all, I can keep out of that scorching hot sun - I no longer enjoy its close company.