September comes round, and for once this year, it’s not about starting up writing again.
But it might be about not getting stuck when I don’t post for a while.
I like September. It’s often one of the best picture months on the calendar (have you noticed? Go and look at your own wall calendar and come back to me about it).
I like the sense of purpose and routine – usually around going back to school – without the being completely worn out bit. That’ll come by the end of the autumn term, I know it.
One of my grannies had her birthday at the start of September. It was another reason to like it. And you should know that C. S. Lewis was a big fan of autumn – as I discovered when I read a biography of him some time back.
Here’s where we’re at this time round.
Sunshine. Day after day of it. Sure, the temperature goes up and down, you get the coat/jumper/length of sleeve bits wrong at different points.
Part of me is uneasy at the relative lack of rain (it is Scotland, after all). And part of me is very happy to send Junior and Mini back out to the trampoline after tea. Again. And again.
We experience that early September burst of summer. Year after year, back in my office days, I would set out around Scotland at this stage in the month, and enjoy sunshine all over the country. I smile at the prospect of it coming round again.
Sometimes, the sun and the light combine in magical ways. At the mid September long weekend, it’s nice enough to go down to the sea and paddle.
Mini has already dispensed with Crocs, trousers and sleeves pushed up as far as they will go. The swell of the Forth is coming in, and I watch a certain amount of wave jumping and sand scrabbling.
We retreat when a jellyfish is washed in (just in case), but in those few minutes, I breathe easier. And we take a little seaweed home to remember it by.
There is a trip to feed the ducks on the river by my parents. Suddenly, there is a benefit to the ongoing refusal to eat crusts.
The obligatory basket is brought out to put the crumbs in – and I learn that my mother used it as a little girl when she did the same thing. The binding around the handle is coming loose in one place, but other than that, it is the perfect size for a child’s hand to carry.
There are three adults to one child. The afternoon stretches before us. There is no rush. Plus there might well be pizza for tea.
We play and play and play at the park. At least, Mini does. I watch the process of increasing confidence; learning tricks from other children; coming back to the same elements day after day.
Small climbing wall. Scrambling net. Rope bridge (with added potential to swing it sideways, once you’ve built up the courage).
We discuss the possibility of making a list of all the new jumping and swinging skills. Maybe there’ll be enough for some kind of a reward. Mini thinks so. (I do too, to be honest).
We see a succession of junk model robots come home, courtesy of Junior Reader. In true inventor style, they have numbers for the new upgrades: Frank 1, Frank 2, and so on.
As I write, Frank 3 has come home today. He makes rude noises if you press his eyes. I am encouraged to do so.
I come to the end of reading Pippi Longstocking to Junior Reader. I am initially sad, then I remind myself that there are two more books still to have fun with.
I am not sure whether it sits in the category of books that are funnier to read to yourself than to read out loud. (The Hyman Kaplan books are also in that group, but those are a way off for Junior Reader.)
In the meantime, I discover a new Church Mice book, second hand. Junior Reader appreciates the dry humour, the word play, and all the little injokes in the drawings.
Mini discovers Meg, Mog and Owl. I have another opportunity to revisit my own childhood, reading and reading them over again.
We talk about which one we like the best – I still think Meg on the Moon is the greatest, with their tea of egg and chips floating around in zero gravity. (Sadly, I can’t show you the individual picture – but you can see the cartoon version online.)
There is one golden Saturday morning when Junior and Mini get up, eat breakfast and keep playing. No real squabbles. Dan and I look at each other, get our teas or coffees, and stay in bed as long as possible.
There is a discovery – and rediscovery – of Duplo. Larger and larger blasters are made. Longer and longer trains are put together, along with their various passengers. A clown figure pushes another clown figure in a Duplo pram.
There is a sighting of Yorkshire rhubarb in the supermarket. It’s not the early sprouting stuff, true, but it is also on offer. Rhubarb and brambles. I feel the need for a crumble, and maybe some custard to go with it.
There are plenty of other days and hours and minutes that are less moment-y. There are forgotten lunchboxes that come home smelling. There are abandoned socks and argued over food remains, pushed to the side of the plate.
There are attempts to use up food that don’t quite work out. Refusals to do X. Arguments over who gets to open the front door first in the morning.
Still, the light reminds me that we still live in the afterglow of summer. It is autumn, true, but of the pleasantest kind.
I choose to write about the brambles, and the light, and the swell of the sea on an afternoon that seems without end.