Joy as family grows and days get longer

At last! Do you begin to feel some warmth on your back, a pleasure in sitting at night with friends for a drink before dinner, a barbecue where you didn’t have to freeze your eyebrows off?

Summer has come so late this year I began to believe it was never going to arrive and we would be thrown straight back into another dark and dreary winter.

The rains certainly arrived during this winter, and consequently our modest garden is about to take us over in our beds.

However, I can never complain about rain – not after all those horrendous years of drought we endured. 

It is still too searing and fresh in my memory, holding that hose late at night, attempting to keep exhausted plants from dying on us when we had half an acre to care for.

Now, in our very modest 45 squares of garden, I can cherish every plant.

Having told them they must grow or go, now they all need stern trimming back and some may even have to go.

Oh! What treachery when they have served us so well ... too well.

With summer comes birthdays and our family gathers to celebrate three granddaughters and one daughter, all together on one day.

They all have so many commitments with extra activities that we can’t celebrate individuals any more.

It was probably one of those first really hot Sundays. As soon as the formalities were over, from somewhere, out came the water bombs.

It was indeed a fight to the finish – every grandchild gleefully pitching their water bombs at another cousin, and being whacked in return.

It was everyone for himself, and the grandchildren eventually retreated back inside, soaked to the skin and high as kites.

That loud shrieking and laughter which go with summers in a pool, summer  with a hose and summer with water bombs has at last returned for the next few months. And I just love it.

Despite the natural way children revert to wild animal behaviour when the situation presents itself, it has been beautiful to see how they have so gently welcomed the newest arrival to our troop’s numbers.

This wee one is only eight weeks old. As her mother was holding her, the cousins would ever so gently and quietly come to this tiny moppet, kiss her softly and, if they wanted to, have a quick nurse of the beautiful baby girl.

She was a “pass the parcel” baby all day, with each cousin being offered time with her for a cuddle.

When she was first born her eldest cousin, who is 15, insisted on visiting her with his mother but not his two sisters.

He knew too well he would not be allowed a look in if the two girls were with them, so off he went on his own.

I have a beautiful photo of this very tall young man holding this baby girl very confidently in his arms, looking very proud.

I know we have too many people in the world these days.

Earth is straining under the challenges to feed, house, clothe and water everyone. And yet, bring a baby into a group and everyone is immediately captivated.

The most poignant photos by far in any war are those of a soldier, armed to the eyeballs, carrying a tiny baby out of a burnt out, bombed building, or perhaps lifting them out of a refugee boat. It touches the hearts of people everywhere.

I declare summer here. Long may it last!