So here we are, the last evening of British Summertime – even though it seems like it was just yesterday that it was June, the roses blooming everywhere and my bags packed for Seattle. I was quietly dreading this summer before it started: my first summer in the big city, my first with a full-time indoor job – it didn’t seem like a good match for a girl whose favourite thing is to be outdoors and loathes being cooped up when the sun is shining. I should learn to be more optimistic, though, because this summer was wonderful, office job and all. I wouldn’t change it.
2 solo transatlantic flights, 1 camping trip, 14 days of fun with 3 best pals, one week at the sea, hundreds of tube rides, at least 10 ice-cream cones, new friends and old, 30lbs of homegrown tomatoes, one bowl of blackberries picked (sorry mama, I was a slacker this year!), one broken ankle (my grandfather, who is happily on the mend), 4 laps of the London cycle ride circuit, much novel-reading, endless laughter, 3 lovely lovely months.
Certain things remain in reach in my memory. If I think about the Washington weeks, I think of the crunch of a s’more between the teeth, the baking foil wrapper sizzling on my lap. Driving along the freeway in Ashley’s red bug, pines ascending from the bluff in Bellingham, eating macaroni and cheese in bed, falling asleep to 500 Days of Summer after the most exhausting exhilarating day, cars crawling along elevated roads as we watched the sun paint the sky purple from the ferris wheel – and the sight of evergreens rising, the lake tinted orange, as the three of us sat giggling and trying to stay still on top of the Garrels’ roof. It was good. Oh-so-good.
Back home – lunch every day sprawled out on the slope of Regent’s Park, the black tarmac sizzling, the cool respite of the tube. Mint cordial, iced coffee, pounding the pavements in my Saltwater sandals. The Thames shining blue, Boris biking towards the sunset, the frisson of first emersion jumping into the Ladies pond on the Heath, the cool embrace of the muddy North Sea. Peach juice dribbling down tanned elbows. Toes sifting through sand like an hourglass, sunstreaked hair, a freckled nose. The relief of crawling into cool sheets, limbs heavy with the kind of exhaustion that only comes from temperatures above 30 degrees. There was plenty of work, plenty of fun. In a nutshell, it was wonderful. All I really want to do is share these forgotten snapshots, reminders of one of the nicest summers I can remember and surely a good omen for the months to come. Come at me, winter. I’m ready (as I’ll ever be!)