Back in the days when I only had myself and a rather mangy looking goldfish to think about (my parents brought us up to be independent from an early age: I thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool as my first "swimming lesson". I learnt bloody fast I can tell you) a lazy summers day meant a variety of things, depending on my age.
At six it was Screwball ice-creams from the ice cream van and staying out late in the street (Bea never did this and called me an urchin) playing Knock Down Ginger and 40/40. At thirteen it meant trying to wangle an invitation to one of Bea's Super Summer Sizzlers (a gaggle of late teens cavorting around Peckham Rye Park, each with their own Walkman playing their own tunes and trying to be cool with a capital C). At sixteen it was avoiding all contact with stupid boys whilst trying to tan myself to a gorgeous brown armed with a bottle of Ambre Solaire Factor 40 forced upon me by my mother. At twenty five (and with my first serious boyfriend, what can I say, I was a late starter) my ideal lazy summers day was to waft romantically around in all manner of white broderie anglaise eating strawberries whilst watching my Then Beloved play cricket manfully. It never worked. The strawberries attracted the wasps and, as I wasn't exactly waiflike, I looked like an exploded sofa lolling around under an umbrella.
My first summer with David was interesting to say the least. He only has to get an inkling of sunshine and turns a lovely mahogany brown. I go pink, then red, then sort of teak coloured. This was wonderfully demonstrated with our first lazy summers day together: we went sailing. Me, on a boat. My first time no less. I doused myself in Ambre Solaire, pooh-poohed the offer of a life jacket and lay out on the deck in what I thought was an alluring post. I have pictorial evidence to show that I looked like a rapidly pinkening beached whale. After a couple of hours surfing the high seas (okay, the bit off Southampton) we returned to shore.......him gorgeously brown, me pink, shuffling and distinctly overheated and sunstruck.
Summers after that, and before Mac, were spent, I seem to remember either watching cricket with the curtains pulled or me finding wonderfully inventive ways of soothing my sunburn.
Our first summer with Mac was traumatic. He was a very fair baby and, during our first week away with him in August, him aged not even six months, David the well seasoned and well weathered father and me a 32 year still in search of a perfect tan we all aged considerably. Firstly, babies don't understand that the sun is hot. I placed him in a cotton all in one outfit, plonked a hat on his head and perched a parasol over him for our first lazy summer day as a family. Within twenty feet of our walk he had wrenched off his hat, screamed until we removed the parasol and was sick all over his cotton outfit. Newquay residents got used to seeing us only venture out after sundown.
Paddling pools feature heavily in both my childhood and Mac's - David claims he was never allowed one but Matthew suggests that they hadn't been invented then. Matthew is just bitter, David informs me, because he was never allowed another one after he attempted to drown his then best friend in one aged four.
At the moment we've got three on the go. One for Mac - "the poople one is mine" he informs
the dogs who have the other two. Yes. You read right. Mac has the purple one, Senior and Middle Dog share the yellow one (Senior is not really fussed but doesn't like to feel like he's missing out) and Junior Dog has the blue one all to himself. This came about after last year and the Great Paddling Pool Fight when all three dogs tried to squash themselves into one small plastic pool and caused a tidal wave all over the lavender.
Anyway, I digress. Which at this stage in the blog should come as no surprise to any of you.
The reason I'm asking is because I had one of my own yesterday. A lazy summers day sans husband, child and hounds. David had agreed to take everyone to see his friend who has just bought a boat in Rye. After instructing David to....
a) not let Mac out of his sight
b) not let the dogs out of his sight
c) not let Mac on the boat or in the sea
d) not let dogs on the boat or to go too far our in the sea
d) have a relaxing day
.....I was left alone. Just me. The whole day stretching promisingly ahead, just for me, all mine, a lazy summer day.
What did I do?
I put the washing on, put some washing out. Watched Friday night's repeat of Big Brother. Had a Magnum ice lolly while channel hopping. Rang Charlie for a gossip. Ate another Magnum ice lolly. Had some filo prawns for lunch. Watched a film, Shutter. Killed a wasp that had the audacity to fly in. Wondered what all my boys were doing. Ate some peanuts. Received phone call from David and Mac who grassed his father up soooo much "Mummy, I went on the boat and droved it a little way and Senior Dog fell in and Junior Dog wouldn't come back to the shore and Daddy shouted at us all a bit".
Then I had a bath with the door open whilst eating strawberries and drinking Dr Pepper with ice. Ate another Magnum ice lolly (in my defence, they were the mini ones - note past tense). Had a scone with strawberry jam and cream whilst watching Only Fools and Horses. Mused a bit about what delights are awaiting me on the Philosophy hours next weekend on QVC. Received another phone call from David to ask me if seaweed was bad for dogs. Had a chat with Marjorie Stewart as she collected the lottery money "Aw, you all alone today? You could have popped in, we've been watching old holiday home movies!". Pondered for a while if Marjorie was in fact right in suggesting that I'd wasted my Lazy Summer Day. Decided that she wasn't, rootled round in the freezer for the last of the Magnums, cranked up Only Fools and Horses on the G.O.L.D and waited the return of the travellers.
The next Lazy Summers Day I get, I'll do something summery. Apart from eating ice-cream that is.