Like any true Englishman, I do enjoy a good grouse about the weather. There’s that old saying about the weather in Britain – “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” So, after a good grumble about the endless rain of May, I’ve found myself rooting around in the closet for shorts and a tee shirt, rather than the raincoat and wellies.
There’s something about summer that never fails to make me feel better. The long days, hopefully with a bit of sunshine, not to mention the chance to have some proper family time, once the kids have broken up from school. This year, however, has me feeling more optimistic and positive than ever, and that’s thanks to, at least, my part of the world starting to inch back towards whatever we are calling “normality” at the moment. I’ve had a jab, my friends and family have as well, and it feels like (with all appropriate caveats and pessimism still bubbling around) we can actually start thinking about all those things we have been hankering after for these long months.
Summer is also all about memories – happier, freer times, back when I was younger, and there weren’t quite so many responsibilities or obligations to worry about. Test cricket has started again, which always puts me in mind of, years ago, dragging my small black-and-white portable television out into the family garden, on the end of a long extension lead, tuning the dial like a safe cracker until the picture was just about good enough to make out who was throwing what at whom.
We were very fortunate to grow up in a town by the sea, with a wonderful beach only a short bike ride away. So summer also reminds me of sitting on towels on the sand, for hours at a time, talking to my friends about everything and nothing, and a square meal just being the square carton that the chips came in.
Peaceful, idyllic memories, which are of absolutely no use to me as a writer of thriller fiction. Rest assured, my next book will not feature Milton straightening out corrupt deckchair attendants, or illicit narcotics ferried around in the back of ice cream trucks.
So hopefully, wherever you are, you’re starting to see some grounds for optimism too. I wonder what things you’re now looking forward to doing, now things are getting tantalisingly close for some of us lucky ones around the world. I’m also sending best wishes to those of you who might still be a way away from feeling optimistic, and just hope that wherever you are, or whatever you are dealing with, you find the strength and good fortune to manage.
I’m going to get my head down and crack on with finishing my latest book. All this writing is tiring stuff, though. Maybe I’ll just take five minutes and see if I can find any soft scoop in the freezer…