First off, apologies for being a misery of late. I've been suffering from the malady that is head up arse and have felt a black cloud covering my world. I am prone to these from time to time, they creep up on me when change is afoot and envelop me to the point where I'm suffocating under the heavy veil of dark, sombre thoughts. Change makes me reflect and reflection often carries with it the need to be better. Anyway, time to step out from the darkness and move forward.
Summer has held little meaning for me since I started working. I worked, and go back to working, in a place where there are no windows and thus should the end of the world be happening I wouldn't have an inkling. Come rain or shine it makes no difference, I have the lovely florescent lights that tell me nothing about what time of year it is.
When I was a child we had great summers, in the six week summer holidays we would take day trips once a week to somewhere new. I am the oldest of five and the five of us would go travelling all over the country. We would make food to take with us; usually sandwiches, chicken drumsticks, crisps and drinks to see us through the day. Come early morning my Mum would take us to the train station and see us onto the train before she went to work. Those were the days when she made sure I carried plenty of ten pence pieces to ring her from the phonebox when we got there and in case we got stuck for whatever reason. No mobile phones when I was young which gives you an indication of just how old I am.
One time we were hungry before the train left the station and so started diving into the sandwiches once seated. I remember the guard standing outside watching us with the most amused expression and the five of us waving and grinning like it was the most normal thing to be doing. When I think back now, my youngest sister could only have been 2 or 3 which made me 13 or 14 at the time, so yes, looking back I can see why he had that expression.
We went to Oxford on a day trip and had been told by our Dad to go visit the college he had attended. It was quite a distance from the train station but we didn't realise that until our youngest sister complained that she was tired of walking. Two of us took it in turns to carry and piggyback her for what felt like miles. We got to the college, peeked through the gates, clicked the camera and that was that; mission accomplished!
If there was a tour bus we would always go on those as it took us to places we couldn't walk to. It also served the purpose of giving us a rest when we were tired. There was many a time towards the end of a day where we would be sitting on the bus going round and round the tour loop until it was time to catch the train home.
My second sister's birthday is in August and for her sixth birthday we had a party for her. My parents had never done the whole birthday party thing so when we were old enough my first sister and I organised a party for her. We were giving my sister something we never had when we were growing up, we had a party with just the five of us; it is one of the happiest memories from our childhood that we all share. Sprout has told me often that it is the one moment in time that we have all talked about on separate occasions. We had saved some money for party food, decorations and even had party bags to make sure her experience was a full one. We had burgers, played games and although other details have been forgotten I know we all had great fun.
All my memories of happy times and fun are always those moments I shared with my siblings. The five of us are close, very close. My Mum worked hard to provide the roof over our heads and put food on the table but in doing so she missed these moments but she had no choice. As a parent myself, I now look on those times and feel sadness that my own parents didn't play a part in those memories. With Munch I want to be a part of his most happy memories; to experience his wonder at discovering new places and to learn from him what it is to see the world anew.