June and half-of-July Review: things summer should be
We went on holiday at the end of June which meant I had no chance to write a review post so here it is now, half-way-through-July.
Piglet is at an age now where the summer months are all about him. Summer is for kids. Long, warm days in shorts and T-shirts, exploring, getting incredibly mucky. Everything is a sensory adventure – the feel of sun-cream and sweat in your hair, learning to lick all the way round an ice cream so it doesn’t drip onto your T-shirt, stones in your sandals, feet in the water (and sitting in rivers fully clothed), eating all your meals outside, trying to get to sleep when the sky is still light (failing at staying asleep a few hours later when the sky gets light again). Watching the seeds we planted together grow and flower. Picking strawberries, some hard, some a bit squishy. Endless water play at the outside tap. Tantrums and tears when all the excitement gets too much. Being 3 years old in the summer is a lot.
June started out all green and lush. Clouds of cow parsley filled the verges. Tall spikes of foxgloves began to flower amongst the ferns covering the woodland floor. So many insects that they seemed to be overflowing. I went for a lunchtime walk, one day, with Trix in the sling and some beetle-thing fell out a tree and into the carrier. I didn’t want to wake her up by trying to fish it back out so the beetle got carried home, too. Insects rising up and falling down. Big globs of cuckoo spit on plants – fun to spit, slightly yuck when you accidentally touch it. Warm, damp days meant active snails, everywhere. Piglet loves a snail at the moment. We’ve started a snail-shell collection in the Treasure Chest.
We had a family holiday at the end of June. We went up to Angus, between Abroath and Montrose and Forfar. By then the cow parsley was giving way to the bolder hogweed. Ox-eye daisies littered the verges. The house we were staying in was in the middle of fields of wheat. In the evening sun, the wheat was almost neon green. I’ve been working on a big drawing of swallows flying low over wheat fields, so it was lovely to be able to study the ever-changing colours as the light shifted. We got amazing weather. Warm and dry every day. Outside the whole time. The only problem was that we were away over the solstice and one of the bedrooms didn’t have curtains. It is light till after 11pm in Scotland at midsummer.
We learnt last year that holidaying with kids isn’t really a holiday. It is more of an exhausting exercise in making happy memories. And the exciting thing, this year, is that now Piglet is three, those first forever-memories might get made any time. I really hope his first memory is playing on the beach, or riding on his bike down the tractor tracks in a wheat field, rather than me being grumpy and telling him not to jump on the bed when I’m trying to feed his sister.
It’s now just over half way through July. We met up with my sister at the weekend at Whiteadder Resevoir. A glorious picnic was consumed while noisy barnacle and Canada geese honked and splashed around us (goose poo is offensively big. And it was everywhere!). There were swans with signets on the water, fluffy baby pied wagtails seeming bigger than their parents, sand martins, common blue and meadow brown butterflies, harebells, and a red kite. Ruth swam; Piglet splashed; Trixie slept. One of those wholesome, good, good days of summer.
The last few days brought The Heatwave. Record-breaking highs. 35 degrees here in the Scottish Borders. Weird days spent inside, curtains closed, feeding the baby in front of a fan. We camped out for half a day in Tesco. It scares me to think of the extreme climate events that the kids might have to face when they are our age. It feels like a slippery slope to something awful. I was pretty pleased to get so many washes done that the basket was finally empty. I’d still prefer climate stability, though.