Yes, parents of young children the length and breadth of the British Isles are weeping tears of relief, for the thunderous grey cloud bank – under which we have been cowering, up to our armpits in filthy rainwater (for which conditions only the deep river fly-fishermen among us were suitably equipped [with up-to-the-armpits waders]) for the last four months – has finally rolled away to leave the place awash with sunshine for the start of the long (or l-o-o-o-o-n-g, depending on your outlook…) school holidays. (Oh yes – and in time for the commencement of the London Olympics… If you’ll indulge me in a moment of patriotic fervour: go Team GB! And for anyone who missed the outstanding-and-excrcuiating-in-equal-measure 2012 on BBC2, I’d thoroughly recommend a rifle through iPlayer to rectify the situation. Utterly brilliant.)
Cagoules, long-sleeved shirts and sensible waterproof footwear – perfect for bounding excited-puppy-like through the, until recently, bountiful puddles (and ably demonstrated by the v. sweet Adora in my previous post) – have been shed, with whoops of glee, in favour of little else but sunscreen, a strategically-positioned handkerchief-sized scrap (or two, for the ladies) of fabric, and that perennial favourite, the humble flip-flop/sandals that would not look out of place on a Gladiator extra. The last five, or so, days have witnessed a rather more convincing attempt at the delivery of Summer (“like they used to make ’em!”) than I think any of the inhabitants of these ‘meteorologically challenged’ isles ever dared dream again: the air is laden with the scent of after-sun, charred sausages and bubbling tarmac, and buzzing with the sound of over-heating scooters, cut-grass, and the yelps and squeals of people enjoying the recission of drought restrictions (more specifically, the hosepipe ban). I have also detected the sound of overheated, outdoor-fun-wearied children – mainly, but by no means exclusively, of the under-5 variety – one which is characterised by a sort of gradually crescendoing whine, punctuated by theatrical huffs and sighs and, in extreme cases, laid-out-on-pavement raging tantrums. Also featuring in these episodes are often pleas for a parent/other responsible adult, already laden down with all the family’s entirely unnecessary outerwear (I’m recalling my own unfortunate mother’s lot, here…), to relieve the child of the burden of walking a step further and instead carry them the remaining distance home. I have no statistical evidence by which to support this theory, but I’d wager that the success of such entreaties is directly proportional to the known tenacity/stamina of the child to sustain a tantrum (or the parent’s tolerance threshold for the latter…).
By way of demonstration, therefore, I thought I’d call on the services of some passing ursine characters – one of whom, fortunately, has already been deployed for Illustration Friday challenge purposes and, so, was familiar with procedure – for this week’s topic: Carry me…?”