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Hot Summer Nights

We’re never satisfied with the British weather – too wet, too dry, too hot, too cold, too windy, too still and very rarely is it just right! It is of course but we often prefer to look at the negative side. Something to talk about, I suppose.

Recently we’ve been blessed with a spell of warm, Mediterranean weather, which has meant not having to worry about jackets, jumpers, heavy shoes and socks. Still able to eek out the last few days of summer clothes before the inevitable Autumnal chill sets in. I have loved every minute of it.

Many of us remember the summer of 1976 – an incredible heatwave that cracked the earth,  dried up the water table and gave me an awful dose of sun stroke. I remember it so clearly: Mum and Dad had gone South, I think for a funeral, and Grannie was looking after us in Garelochhead. I was cross because she wouldn’t let us ride our bikes in a village where we were used to a lot of freedom, and then I was very sick – having to watch my sisters play under the water spray just before the hosepipe ban kicked in. Feeling giddy and nauseous and tired and very grumpy. Sun stroke is not pleasant, and I still have to be careful to this day not to spend too much time outside in the heat without seeking shade or wearing a hat.

At 0730 this Monday morning on Radio 2, Moira Stewart introduced the Golden Oldie – Moody Blues, Go Now. She read the biography of the listener who had chosen this track and I smiled as they described hanging out in each other’s houses, consuming vast quantities of tea and biscuits. It was 1976 and the person requesting the song was about 16 at the time.

What struck me was that a group of 16 year olds today are unlikely to drink vast quantities of tea and eat biscuits on a hot summer’s day preferring cans of high caffeine fizzy drinks, or even vast quantities of alcohol.

Where have we gone so wrong that we condone the amount of alcohol that is being consumed? I’m not just talking about teenagers and those in their early 20s, but my own age group and older.

Tune in and pay attention to how often we are encouraged to ‘pour a large glass of wine’ or ‘enjoy the pint that is deserved’ after a tough day at work, at home, in the garden.

I know many people have  a love/hate relationship with alcohol and increasingly can find it a challenge to go more than 2/3days without a drink. Even if only a couple of glasses of wine are consumed we can be wracked with guilt about a lack of will power, and it’s even harder when the encouragement to pop the cork flows in thick and fast from well intentioned friends.

Whenever there’s a Bank Holiday the adverts on TV are packed with supermarket deals on alcohol. I would love to watch encouraging videos that entice us to spend quality time with friends and family that doesn’t involved getting drunk.

The nights are drawing in and many changes are afoot, not least at Meadowpark as weall continue to settle into a comfortable and easy rhythm of busy-ness, laughter and progression.

I will welcome the change when this warm spell leaves us: a chance to get cosy, have a different flow and routine, a gentle shift in gear.

Hot Summer Nights – a poem of stolen words and song lyrics

‘On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?’

Hot and steamy.

‘It was a hot summer night and the beach was burning..’

A cool breeze beckons.

‘Summer loving had me a blast, summer loving happened so fast..’

Teenage joy and heartache.

‘We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun…’

Good Grief.

(thanks to Meat Loaf, Travolta and Newton-John, Terry Jacks and Bastille)

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