The sun burnt away every last vestige of winter. It incinerated the bad memories of the debilitating snow.
Summer was slow to arrive but when it did, its intensity endured for three whole months. People complained of the heat and humidity. ‘We’re not built for this’ they said. ‘For two weeks in Lanzarote, we can manage, we are prepared, but here, we can’t stand this heat.’
For the first time in many, many years we had a summer. A real, long, hot summer of wearing light clothes, walking barefoot in the garden, getting tanned, sea-swimming, eating outdoors every single day, salads, barbeques and long, bright evenings.
I spent a lot of time with the four year old.
Here are some of her pearls of wisdom and my favourite moments:
‘Can we watch Cbeebies now?’ At 6am, but in a tone that implied she’d been asking for hours.
‘Sarah and Duck, Sarah and Duck, Sarah and Duck…’
‘Can I do my colourings? This one is called sheepy lamb. And this one is a rainbow unicorn. Isn’t he soooo beautiful?’
‘Does anyone have any jokes?’ She woke up saying this.
‘Why did the cow cross the road?– to go to the mooovies’ I’ll spare you the others.
‘I spy with my little eye… something beginning with…. BROWN!
‘Tomorrow can we go to the playground?’
‘Shell, you forgot the playground’
‘I see a bouncy castle’
‘Will we ask if four year olds are allowed on the bouncy castle?’
‘Can I have some ice-cream with strawberry sauce, pleeeease?’ At 8am.
‘Can I have a bun?’ Asked for in the singular, consumed in the plural.
‘Can I have pink fish, fluffy potatoes, broccoli and holidays sauce?’ (translation: salmon, mash, broccoli and hollandaise sauce.)
‘That icecream was soooo melty.’
‘More strawberry sauce please.’
‘I like these’ thrusting a packet of Kinder bars into my hands.
Singing the ‘washy washy’ song.
Marshall from Paw Patrol lights up under water. Who knew? Health and Safety anyone? And who or what is Paw Patrol anyway?
‘Do I have to wash my hair?’
‘Read me a story.’ ‘This one – Little Miss Scatterbrain, she’s like Grandma.’
‘Wait, just let me check’ as she goes systematically through every page to make sure I don’t skip any.
‘These are bad eyes, they give me bad dreams. About Bob monsters’ Her brother is Bob!
‘No Grandma, we’re not watching Cbeebees now, it’s my naptime’ Naptime is a myth. Managed two over the course of a week.
‘I didn’t like that beach Shell, it wasn’t perfect white sand’ (White Rock in Dalkey, which, to her credit, is very stony)
I took her to Brittas Bay, that kept her quiet. ‘This is the most perfect beach I’ve ever been to.’ Reminder – she’s four years old.
‘My bucket and spade…I forgot them’ Puts the 2008 financial crisis in perspective.
‘I want to go for a shark swim’ She has a shark swim fin.
‘The water looks lovely and warm.’ she says from the shore.
‘Noooo, I don’t want to go in…it’s too cold.’ is the obvious result.
‘That dog is doing the doggie paddle.’ Even the dogs are swimming, it’s that hot. Not the four year old though.
‘I don’t want to hurt my foot again’ pointing to miniscule dot on her heel, ‘so I’m going to crawl’ meaning it took half an hour rather than five minutes to leave the beach. Then we met a ladybird. Thought we’d never get home.
Summer 2018, you were a beauty.