Has summer delivered this year? Usually it does, but unfortunately we can’t always take advantage of everything it has to offer. In my case, a bunch of yellow hospital appointment letters are vying with cheerful sunflowers in the vase this year.
Aside from the unusual fatigue for the time of year, my biggest concern at the end of June this year was: would our flights to France be canceled again? Would the sun even shine in Donegal? Would Nadal make it to the Wimbledon final? How Long Would My Basil Plant Last This Summer? (My record keeps it alive until Halloween.) What should I wear to my son’s graduation in August? Will I look like Hillary Clinton in this mint green velvet suit?
The sensual promise of summer is all the more important the older we get: its temporary allure offers us a brief, glorious bounce from ball to racquet before slipping away into something more comfortable, cozy and comforting. A smack of illicit, dangerous heat before the temperature drops and the leaves fall, if we’re lucky.
Hope comes easier when the days are longer, warmer, and filled with a heady mix of memories and memories
For many of us, the love of the silly season began in childhood: summer semester all-rounders, a salthill swim followed by salt and vinegar chips or a 99. The soundtrack back then was that of Dean Martin volars or Harry Belafontes Jamaica farewell and Gilbert O’Sullivans Clearuntil it was Tina Turner What does love have to do with it?Cyndi Laupers Again and againBob Marley’s No Woman Do not Cry and, brave teenager you’ve become, the Toasted Heretic version of Galway Bay.
Car picnics in Coole Park, Carraroe, Burren and the Cliffs of Moher thronged with the excitement and innocence of the pre-Celtic Tigers Galway Races, the Galway International Arts Festival and the steady stream of summer visitors from Dublin, London, American and even European suburbs. The Soda Stream stayed on the counter next to the sandwich maker. There was even a pirate radio station running from the garage for at least two of those teenage summers.
Most Irish summer gardens back then, including ours, boasted at least rhubarb, gooseberries, salad greens, courgettes galore and swingball. One hot summer, the third Labrador pup my older brother left on the kitchen table, unlike its forerunners, was given a name (Goldie) and a free pass to dig up the spring onions, chew the tennis ball, and the fat orange bats and whatnot a duchess in the front seat of the station wagon.
Summer swimming and car rides just got better, as anyone who has a dog will never stop telling you. Somehow, over the years, all of those summers come together, pulling you back and pushing you forward in the most life-affirming way.
Whether you’re off the grid, off the island, or on the island, at work, resting, or playing, you’re probably enjoying the bittersweet place that is mid-August. A lot of summer loving and living done, a little bit more to do.
island of love is a gracious blur, the Dublin Horse Show is about to start, there’s the prospect of Eton Mess at your non-centenarian uncle’s garden party, you might even use your stepkids’ well-intentioned/ironic paddle boarding voucher, declutter the attic , print, cut out 20+ years of photos and archive them in albums, write that household detective story, buy that electric toothbrush (why don’t you have one yet?), make a paella that people want to eat, shave your legs with your glasses on, so do it do it right, brush that old clump of dog hair, cancel that expired life insurance policy, take care of something else Better call Saulcall the gas company to see if the new monthly debit amount is a typo.
Summer and life are simple, give or take what Caitlin Moran calls a woman’s never-ending to-do list, and what one friend calls the rite of passage (pun intended) of female 50-something health scares. It seems that some of the staples and joys of summer are being missed out on by those of us reluctantly working our way through this slew of yellow dates this year.
As my brother’s friend Jock used to say, “All you can do is all you can do, and sure, that’s all you can do!”
So the priorities now are: order instead of baking summer birthday cakes, stagger to M&S and get what every Irish woman of a certain year needs on holiday or in the hospital: a new nightgown and a multipack of cotton knickers.
Sometimes just knowing that Sharon Shannon is playing down the street and that you would be there if you could.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/why-the-summers-of-our-yesteryear-will-always-outshine-these-sultry-scorching-days-41910132.html Why the summers of our past will always outshine those muggy, scorching days