Midsummer's night drizzleJun 23rd, 2007 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Personal Columns
“The weather”, I said, “it’s drizzling”.
The school dinner lady sat looking out from the dinner room, watching us through the double glass doors that opened onto the playground.
Her lunchtime task was to help serve the school dinners and to supervise playtime. Playtime was much easier if the children were all in the playground surrounded by the twelve foot high chain link fence. Wet days meant being inside and the problem of having to get out the box of games and jigsaws with which they would pass the time until afternoon classes started.
Drizzle was therefore grounds for contention. It meant that the forty children in the school could complain that it was wet and that they wanted to come in; it meant that the school dinner lady, who watched over the forty could say that it’s not raining and go away and play.
Except this conversation wasn’t prompted by any desire to be inside, I had spent too many lunch hours making jigsaws that were maps of the British Isles or the United States (I always liked the Tennessee-shaped piece). Drizzle was not a cause for concern about getting wet; it was much more serious, it was a cause for angst!
I had read that the day June 24th, was Midsummer’s Day. It was Midsummer’s Day and school holidays were still three weeks away. Midsummer’s Day, to a boy of my age, meant that summer would be over before we even started our holidays. It was Midsummer’s Day and we were at school and it was raining- could the school dinner lady not sense the angst of a small boy?
It’s Saint John’s Day, Midsummer’s Day, tomorrow and the hills are shrouded in mist and there is steady rain falling. The days are getting shorter again. Looking out on a Midsummer’s night scene, there is nothing in the slightest bit dreamy. The Earth rolls on through its seasons, despite the anxiety of a small boy that he might miss the summer and despite the disappointment of his 46 year old successor who still hopes vainly for a year that does not turn.