Column from 19/08/09
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House martins whirl and swoop overhead, making the most of a brief spell of sunshine to feed themselves up before the long journey ahead. They’re gathering now in large numbers, preparing for a migration that will take them across Europe to sub-Saharan Africa for the winter. After the summer we’ve had I wish I could join them.
Soon the swallows will follow suit, the hedgehogs will intensify their hedgerow foraging before settling down to hibernate, squirrels will horde caches of food, blackberries will ripen…. It can all mean only one thing: summer is already drawing to a close.
But nature isn’t the only thing telling us that things are about to change. Parents the length and breadth of the nation will have noticed other signs. As the new school term approaches the kids start getting restless, realising that their long weeks of freedom are coming to an end. It affects parents too: conscious that there’s not much of the holidays left, we rush to cram in all the things we’ve been putting off over the summer break.
Last week, for example, we found ourselves on Sherkin Island putting up the tent in weather that was, let’s face it, marginal at best. It was certainly a far-cry from camping nirvana, but we’d promised the girls, and after letting much of the summer slip by waiting for a break in the weather we suddenly realised that time was running out. We panicked, packed and headed for Baltimore.
Sitting on the ferry watching tendrils of mist settling over Sherkin, I couldn’t help wondering what on earth we were playing at.