Monday, February 05, 2007


Spring is in the air in Argyll today - the sky is a brilliant blue and the sun, although washed out, is at least gamely trying to warm us up.

Mornings like this always remind me of my days as a paperboy in the village of Edzell, seen here in the photo.

During the summer holidays back in 1996, which I seem to remember as a never-ending summer of sun, I actually looked forward to getting up and heading out to deliver the news to the sleeping folk of Edzell.

At 6.30am, there was still a chill in the air and dew on the grass, but not a single cloud in the sky. And as I wandered or cycled around the village, reading the sports pages of every paper I delivered, it was plain to see that the day was going to be a scorcher. By the time my round was completed at 8am, the village had awoken and my parents were off to work. The great unfillable vastness of a seven-week holiday stretched before me.

Practically that whole summer was spent playing football and swimming in the river by day. In the evenings, the attentions of my group of friends would turn to music, primarily The Beatles and Oasis, who played at Knebworth that August, a concert broadcast live on Radio One.

It was also the summer of Euro 96, watching Scotland draw with Holland, lose to England and beat Switzerland, only to miss out on the next round by a single goal.

No summer since has been the same - since then, I've spent every summer working. Full days can no longer be spent lying in the sun or recreating the mercurial talents of Brian Laudrup on the local football pitch.

Perhaps it is true that schooldays are the best of your life - not necessarily on a day-to-day basis, but in the comparitively commitment-free way in which you can live your life at 16.


Anonymous said...

... you're half-way right, man..... you CAN get that feeling back... you just have to try really, really hard...

... trust me...


Erica said...

Yeah, but (this, to Eric)...maybe part of the appeal is that in the summer of '96 he didn't have to try really, really hard, to do anything.

It would seriously regress me to live life in search of a dream/feeling that already happened.

Although, we all know what happens to a dream deferred.

Groanin' Jock said...

I have experienced something close to that feeling of having whole weeks freed up to do absolutely nothing (and, paradoxically absolutely anything that took my fancy).

Travelling around the world, we flew into Bangkok, and knew that we didn't have another flight booked for a month - having four or five countries on hand to explore with enough money to do it. That's probably the closest approximation I've had to that summer in my adult life.