Thanks for the picture Mr Gibson
I heard a woman on the radio this morning who said that she deliberately gives her children as boring a Summer holiday as she can, on the basis that time flashes by when you are enjoying yourself with lots of excitement, but drags on forever when you are bored - particularly if you are a child.
Her motive for this is to ensure that her kids grow up with the same remembrance of seemingly endless Summer holidays as she has. For some reason, adults look back on these prolonged periods of acute boredom with fondness, and she would like her children to do the same. She also confiscates tablets, laptops and mobiles when on holiday for two reasons: first that she does not want any distractions from the children's boredom, and second that she would like the holiday photos of them looking straight at the camera and not head-down into a device, no matter how depressed and forlorn the expressions on their faces.
The presenter of this program interviewed some youngsters shortly after this caring mother, and asked them if they found Summer holidays boring. One girl said she hated them, and when asked how they were spent, she said she sat on a sofa with her brother all day, and they just stared at each other. "We hate each other," she explained.
One of the drawbacks to living in a gardenless town flat during the Summer is the feeling of being trapped. Last night I looked at the green, wooded hills a couple of miles out of town and wished I was on them, watching the sun go down from that direction rather than this. This has happened every year of the 27 or so that I have lived here.
Before all you landed gentry go off on the familiar self-congratulatory sermons about how you made the right decisions at the right time and now have to constantly remind yourselves about how lucky you are to be in the heart of several acres of hard-earned real estate to enjoy the Autumns of your lives surrounded by greenery, let me tell you that the brief moments of melancholy that I experience every Summer have their roots in one particular week when I was a young boy living in a large house set in two and a half acres of private grounds fringed with a dense wood, in the middle of countless acres of more private estates which merged with the countryside proper as far as the eye could see, and the eye could see as far as Guildford - 15 miles away as the crow flies.
I must have been about 9 years old that hot Summer when my mother decided - for some reason - that I was not getting enough sleep, so sent me to bed at 8.30 every night.
I would lie on my bed in the broad daylight and in the pyjamas that she checked to see that I had put on, listening to my neighbourhood friends laughing, shouting and having fun about three acres away, through the three sets of wide open windows that were too high for me to climb out from. Sleep was, of course, impossible until it became properly dark and my friends had gone inside their own homes. It was absolute torture.
I am glad I live in a town which people travel the world to be in during the Summer. It helps me appreciate that it is good to be here during the cold, dark months following Christmas when they are gone, and that helps to temper the Summer melancholy.