Summer. Finally. Blazing sunshine. Salads. Robinson’s Barley Water. Lying flat on your back on prickly grass and gazing up into enough perfect blue to kit out an entire shipful of sailors.
Doesn’t it just flit you back to those halcyon summers of childhood, when it was always boiling-hot, your mother’s skin smelled of Ambre Solaire, your dad put his shorts on but didn’t take his socks of and every park had a paddling pool?
In Rotherham, Clifton Park pool was THE place to be. You could fit the whole of Treeton in. I think it’s a skating rink now. I’m guessing the threat of Legionnaire’s Disease did for it. In one sheltered little corner of the park there were donkey rides. We’d queue for hours to amble a couple of circuits on a doe-eyed, furry little beast of burden with not a thought for its welfare.
Maybe it’s the memories, but Phew What A Scorcher heatwaves always bring out the kid in me. Today, as I gaze out of the winter-tinted windows of our air-conditioned office, trying to pretend it’s the same temperature outside and battling on in a very grown up and responsible way inside, I desperately want to feign a sickie and rush home to the garden. I wonder how many have done that today? Doubtless there’ll be statistics in the Daily Mail by Thursday.
And I want an ice cream. Not a hand-churned award-winner flavoured with creme de menthe and cocoa beans ethically harvested in Mozambique, but a proper one - a towering twirl of whipped air, vegetable oil and whey protein, dribbling with ‘red sauce’ and stabbed with a stump of chocolate flake. I care not Maggie Thatcher had a hand in its invention. Or that the vans have been deemed environmentally unfriendly. I LIKE the taste. And nothing smells more like summer to me than ice cream van fumes mingling with the odour of hot, melting Tarmac.
Hot weather demands water, too. A poxy plastic cupful from the office water-cooler doesn’t cut it. I want a paggling pool. I’m too big for a round one dad used to go blue in the face blowing up. It would have to be one of those huge affairs that cavorting drunken adults catapult themselves at on You’ve Been Framed.
I want to erect the beer-stained tent Boy brought back from the Leeds Festival three years ago, (he said it was beer) and camp out in the garden. Summer. Finally. Let’s get stuck in before it melts.