As soon as the paeonies bloom and the school Jubilee picnic is due to take place the wind gets up and it rains.
The paeony thing happens every year, it's like a markable day. Paeony Day. When the flowers burst forth and the wind whips away the petals.
I'm just hoping it's fine for the rest of today or it really will be a terribly British picnic. You know the ones, huddled inside the nearest shelter, sweaty butties and a lukewarm drink attracting wasps.
Please tell me these aren't just a feature of my own childhood. But then, I remember a particularly exciting picnic from when I was twelve. I know which summer it was because it was just before my friend left. She was a refugee from Beirut and very sophisticated. She did the cheek kissing thing when she met up with you, had pancakes for breakfast and once bought me a bendy Sindy for my birthday.
Anyway, we took her to Alton Towers for the day. This was when it was a house and gardens with attractions rather than just one big attraction. It was a lovely day, no rain. My Mother had packed a cloth and proper plates. We set it all up under a tree and it was like something from a photo shoot. I still have a photo in fact from just before...
Just before a hoarde of wasps descended on all the food. Before my Dad went completely nuts and, enraged, trampled all over everything. It was a grand day.
My Dad isn't a big fan of insects. A moth once went down the back of his shirt. It was a nice blue shirt. Was. Once again he went beserk and tore at the shirt in his haste to rid himself of the beast within. He was left with a collar round his neck and the sleeves hanging at his sides, the body of the poor blue shirt in one hand, swatting away at the long gone moth.
Which has reminded me of once, long ago, sitting in my Dad's maroon car. The one I loved and which had springs in the seats and straps inside the doors. I had an itchy foot but was wearing brown lace-up shoes (I think we were going out somewhere Special) and couldn't get to it. I remember being told to sit still as I was distracting the driver, my Dad. I wriggled and fidgeted one foot against the side of the other to try to scratch the now unbearable tickling itch.
I managed to loosen the lace and ease my foot out of the shoe a bit. A massive black beetle then crawled out of the shoe and up my ankle. Guess what happened next...