Thursday 23 May 2019

Keeping the magic alive when the sun's gone

It's not just the sun, it's us too, we have this magic in us, we have to believe
It's not just the sun, it's us too, we have this magic in us, we have to believe
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I don't want to be stating the obvious. But isn't it amazing? Let's put aside for a moment the devastating effect on agriculture, and gardens, and car washing, and the fact that there are too many people at my beach. Isn't it just magical? Isn't it great to be alive?

I went to the sea at about 10 o'clock at night one evening last week and I swear to you it could have been an August bank holiday weekend. The sun was setting in one half of the sky, there was a full rising moon on the other side, and the sea was full of people. Old people, young people, families, all out determinedly making the most of it. An extraordinary sight of midsummer madness.

For the kids, you know that this will be their 1976. When they grow up and summer inevitably disappoints, they will think back to this and say, "the summers were endless and glorious when I was a kid".

You realise too that we are a simple people. That when the sun shines we don't want for much. When the sun shines you can just decide that everyone will head to the beach after work and have your tea out there. I rang home and mooted it early in the day so my wife had time to make Neven's posh sausage rolls. Before we left she warmed up the kids' spaghetti bolognaise from the night before and I grabbed some strawberries and bacon fries on the way home. The spaghetti was still warm when we got out of the sea and chowed down. Even the fact that we got a puncture while there only dampened the mood temporarily. We got back to eating our thrown-together smorgasbord in the evening sun.

Everything becomes magical in this weather. Lobster hotdogs on the roof of the Marker Hotel. My daughter announcing to me that I've been working so hard that she's bringing me up to the village and buying me a 99 from the new Mace. So she gets some of her own money and I give her a backer up on the bike and in we go, and she gestures extravagantly at the display of sprinkles and toppings, and says "What'll it be, Dad? You can have whatever you want!"

Of course the fake grass is proving a godsend in this weather. It's so solid and reliable. No muck in the winter and now no hassle, no turning brown, no need for watering. It's literally all-weather. In a stroke of genius my wife bought a full-sized picnic table from a dude on the internet who paints it any colour you want and delivers it for half the price you'd pay for one in the shops. It has lent the back garden the air of a holiday resort. The picnic table is a home office, an art zone, a place to eat and a sanctuary. Indeed, between the fake grass, the picnic table, and the beanbag chairs the garden has the air of a break-out area in a tech start up. We've thought of everything to create the kind of space that makes our workers happier and more productive. And of course people in my house hate clothes, so the fact that they are semi optional in this space, is making everyone a bit happier in their own skin.

Of course it will end. As much as we don't want to think about that, it has to end. I particularly would like it to end before I go away on my holidays. People claim they go abroad not for weather but for a change of scene, the food, the culture, etc. I like all that too, but I am a petty person. I won't be able to enjoy it fully if all the while I know I could be sitting at home on my batty with similar weather.

But when it ends, maybe we should try and keep some of this magic. It's not just the sun. It's us too. We all have this magic in us. We all have this ability to enjoy the simple things. The sun helps. But we have to believe it's not absolutely necessary. Because it won't always be there for us.

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