Another mini-break in my big editing job. The wave of early evening heat makes me conscious once again that I never made it to the shower today. I arose shortly after sunrise, eager to take advantage of the cool air and quiet. Suddenly, it is almost sunset; another day gone, another schedule rendered fluid by the whimsy of things.
I am also conscious that this is the third day I have heard the cicadas which congregate in the nearby carob trees. On the first evening, I thought my ears were deceiving me; they had not quite coordinated their chorus. I was glad I stopped to listen to the discordant and ill-timed croaking as it reached several crescendos in fits and starts because it will be another year before it happens again, and even then, I might miss it. The cicadas are the true herald of summer. Lettuce, and perspiration, and wilting flowers cannot compete with the pervasive cicadas!
The hot weather makes it fitting that one of today’s stories is entitled ‘Athletics’. People are generally incredulous when I say that I was a shy child. Here is one example.
My one and only and younger sister, Jenny, went into hospital with a collapsed lung. This coincided with my first school sports day. My favourite aunt took me instead.
I sat on the ground in the middle of the field with all the other kids who had blue rosettes pinned to their chests. I could not see anyone I knew. I sat forever, waiting for my race to be called. When the loud hailer finally did call my name – repeatedly – I had a sudden attack of shyness.
I got up and merged into the crowd of kids wearing red rosettes in the next row, and stared at my ultra-white tackies*. Someone asked me if I was Allison. I said no.
They scratched me from the race. My aunt was disappointed that she did not see me run, but held my hand afterwards and laughed. “Oh, Ally!” she said.
* In the UK, these are still called “plimsolls”, i.e. canvas shoes with rubber soles used when playing tennis and other sports in the days before “trainers”, and before “Just do it” became a slogan.
The next story might make you remember how very basic childhood games can be:
After two years of school, our family went on a holiday to visit my dad’s brother and wife in a place called Salisbury, Rhodesia – where we would find ourselves living permanently four months later.
We travelled in a great big pale blue Valiant, and learned about borders, and different countries, and that even in 1971 there was more to the world than Randburg, Johannesburg, Transvaal, Republic of South Africa.
I think that was the trip we wrote down every vehicle registration we saw; make, model and colour, too. A bit hard to catch the detail on passing traffic at 80 miles an hour, but when we stopped to fill up with petrol, the two of us had a field day. Not content with one boring thing, we then added up all the numbers of each individual registration.
We did a lot of things like that.
If you really want to read all the stories at once, you can order a hard copy from Amazon. The book is beach-friendly, and does not demand too much concentration. If you don’t like sand, buy yourself some crayons, and have fun colouring in the drawings in the comfort of your own home. Click on the picture below:
© 2015 Allison Wright