Wednesday 23 September 2020

The essence of summer 2020

Hubby and I nipped out for a walk first thing yesterday morning. The mist hung over the green hills of Turville while the sunlight was so piercing I could barely keep my eyes open. It felt like the last breath of summer... a chance to wander through the fields, past hedgerows and along chalky banks with the sun's warmth on our skin. We even spotted a some ragged purple flowers - a flash of floral excitement late in the season.

The countryside around Turville
The last day of summer?
Our beautiful walk coincided with the step-up in regulations to control the coronavirus. After a relatively carefree summer, it looks like we'll be hunkering down at home for the foreseeable future. I can feel the seasonal melancholy setting in...

Recently, however, I read an article in The Times on how to keep happy when everything is changing. Psychotherapist Jean-Claude Chalet suggests we hold onto the essence of our positive experiences. In clinic, he asks his clients: "If you could distil what you had and put it in a bottle, what would the ingredients be so that you could take a swig when needed?"

Inspired by this idea, I'm bottling up some special moments from the summer of 2020. We didn't go abroad but we did have some fun times:

Culham deer park at sunset
Our magical deer park

  • A spontaneous walk in a local deer park after supper one evening... against the backdrop of an English country house, lit by a magical sunset, we strolled amongst different breeds of deer (Bambi, white harts etc). Our own personal safari!
  • While visiting friends in Bath, the kids climbed up onto the garden wall to watch a summer storm coming in; they sat silhouetted against the Bath skyline.
  • Eating out by a campfire in our friends' garden in Sussex on a country estate... later all the kids camped down for a giggly night in a communal bell-tent.
  • Coastal walks in Cornwall, looking down on turquoise coves and rocky headlands, as well as a sunset stroll on Watergate Bay beach - everyone was smiling, even the dog.
  • Dinner parties in the garden at home - fairy lights twinkling on the table, BBQ fare and a strawberry pavlova.
  • Hi-jinks with the cousins: in a heavy downpour, the kids felt it was the perfect time to take a dip in our put-up pool.
  • Swimming, picnicking and paddle-boarding in the river with friends and family - Costa del Henley.

Family standing at sunset, Watergate Bay
Sunset at Watergate Bay
Credit: Will Lam

Coastal view in Cornwall
Cornish coastal walks

Paddle-boarding on the Thames
Credit: Will Lam

What moments from your summer would you choose to bottle?

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