Happy 1 September! Call it a hangover from my days at school, or thanks to the fact that I still work in an education environment, but this time of year always makes me think of fresh beginnings. In some ways it feels more like a time for new year, new starts than the beginning of January and I think that’s partly helped by the fact it’s not dark by mid-afternoon. However, it’s also sad to be waving goodbye to the summer months and knowing that before too long it will be cold and dark again. The summer always goes by in a bit of a blur; partly because it’s the time of year when I can be most busy at work, but also because there tend to be a lot of plans. One minute it’s May and then the next it’s September. It doesn’t help that the seasons tend to be moving earlier each year so the trees on our road have already started to show hints of autumnal colouring. I’m not ready for that yet!
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything (I usually have a huge gap with no writing around this time of year) so I’m going to share a few of my highlights from the past few months with the hope that soon I’ll have time to write a bit more extensively on some of these things!
Many people said that summer 2020 didn’t feel like a proper summer because they didn’t get to go away on holiday. I agree, last year was a really strange summer but the weather was gorgeous and by being at home, in some ways we made the most of it. We had long days just sitting outside and reading on a picnic blanket. We got up early to go for walks and escape the heat of the middle of the day. We made jam, and quiches, and spent a lot of evenings eating dinner al fresco. Somehow that just hasn’t happened this year. We’ve got a cupboard full of empty jam jars but haven’t gotten round to making jam. We’ve had limited lazy days outside on the picnic blanket and it feels like over a month since the weather last felt properly summery.
I will do the British thing and partly blame the weather. I know we’ve had some hot days (one we spent painting a judo hut which was very hot indeed!) but it hasn’t felt as consistent. Whilst the last few weeks haven’t been cold, they have felt consistently cloudy which is just a bit grey and dreary. On a cheerier note, it’s also because we’ve actually done more this summer. We’ve been away, we’ve seen family and friends, and we’ve even had people to stay. Whilst we still haven’t really been that busy, we’ve started to experience a fuller calendar which is lovely, but does mean those days spent reading on a picnic blanket either have to be planned in, or are much likely to be less frequent. So what have the last few months brought?
A trip to Scotland
Booked fairly last minute, one of the highlights of this summer was definitely our week long stay in Fort William in the Highlands. We climbed Ben Nevis, searched for Loch Ness monsters, got lost in a bog and reminded ourselves how much we enjoy being in the mountains. A healthy dose of fresh air every day and some gorgeous scenery helped to make it feel like a proper holiday – a break from work, our flat and everything the last year had thrown at us.
Al Fresco Eating
One of my favourite things about the pandemic has been the fact that it has encouraged so many more places to open up an outside space. It’s so nice to eat outside! It always feels very continental, so even if you’ve only gone down the road it can feel as if you’re on holiday somewhere whilst having your dinner. I admit, it’s nicer when it’s sunnier, but actually one of my favourite outdoor eating experiences this summer it poured down (and other than a large tree we didn’t have that much shelter!). However the food was delicious and we had good company so it didn’t matter at all.
A day at the Eden Project
I’ve wanted to go to the Eden Project for quite a long time, but somehow it has never quite made it to the top of our list. This summer we made it and it was such a lovely day out. Sitting in the café in the Mediterranean biome, I honestly could have been in Spain or Greece. It was a surprisingly good way of tricking ourselves into thinking we’d been further afield than we actually had.
Seeing Family and Friends
Seeing family and friends again this summer has obviously been a real highlight and something that’s felt just a bit extra special. Last year felt really odd without a trip to Devon to see James’ family, so it’s been great to make up for that now. It’s been lovely to have visitors again and make proper use of our spare room, although I think it’s fair to say that my hostessing skills have become a bit rusty! Whilst there’s still a long list of people we want to see, this summer has helped us to get off to a reasonable start.
Venturing into Wales
This is a bit random, but one of the strangest things about the pandemic has been that for a significant amount of time it has been illegal to cross the border into Wales. A border that’s less than a half hour drive away from us. So the couple of occasions this year where we actually have been into Wales, have felt like a much bigger adventure than they might have done previously.
Hot Air Balloons
Although the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta once again had to be cancelled this year, we were still treated to balloons across the city on a couple of occasions which helped to make it feel like a proper Bristol summer.
Whilst we’ve done much more this summer than we did last year, Covid has consistently still been at the back of our minds and has still meant we’ve been cautious. Having only just received my second vaccination, in some ways this September feels even more like a significant ‘new start’ as I feel less vulnerable that I have done for most of the rest of the year. Whilst I don’t think this will bring about any huge changes to how I go about my daily life, both James and I have started to feel a bit more restless and ready to start doing some different things. We’ve been bouldering a couple of times which has been fun, and we’ve started to plan more visits to see people, as well as some crafting projects to keep us busy in the evenings. I’m planning to try and get into a more regular rhythm of writing again, and writing more consistently on things that aren’t Covid related!
How was your summer?