Remember back in the day, when the long school holidays started, and weeks and weeks of sunshine stretched in front of us, and we had nothing to do but play – and read? Remember building caterpiller zoos in jam jars, and catching bees (to the horror of our mothers…) and letting them go again? And walking city streets for hours with our friends, because those were the freedom days of the sixties and seventies – and making little tar balls at the side of the road, then diving out to put them where a car would roll them flat?
It was heady stuff, and no comparison to the brave new world kids face today. Who’s to say which is better? One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the enjoyment we get from a few hours escapism in a good book. Two books in particular have stuck in my mind from my own +/- ten-year-old days – and I still have both on my shelves.
The Growing Summer by Noel Streatfield. In this book, a family of four London children are sent to the south coast of Ireland to stay with Great-Aunt Dymphna while their parents are otherwise occupied. And oh, the difference. The freedom. Finding out how to do real things with real people, watching the sea and the gulls, discovering poetry in daily life. How I envied those children.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura’s pioneer childhood must have been amazing. Imagine that vast expanse of prairie, the hugeness of nature, blue skies enormous overhead – and travelling through all that on a covered wagon, looking for the perfect place to build your home. Laura’s life was more than just ‘different’ to mine; it was another world. And like Noel Streatfield’s Irish coast, it was a good place to go for a while each summer. I still revisit both now and then…
I’m delighted that Chosen Child has been awarded a KDP All-Star Bonus on Amazon UK, which means it was in the top 100 KDP Select books downloaded in May. A big THANK YOU to all who bought my book! In this story, little Soraya didn’t have the idyllic summer she’d have wished for. I hope she did the following year!
To finish off, here’s our lake in all its growing glory. (Please note, the sun is almost shining and there’s a bit of blue sky up there. We are thankful for the merest hint of summer this year…)