Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer
Like many language teachers, my first class back after the summer holidays was getting my students to talk about what they did over the summer. When I began teaching in Spain, I was quite shocked to find that most students’ answer was the same; I went to my summer house. In the UK, it’s generally only the wealthy who have a second home and I remember wondering about my students’ background; surely they couldn’t all be from rich families? I soon learned that it’s quite common in Spain to have a second, and often third, home and spend your whole summer there. With the summer fast approaching, I’ve been thinking about my childhood summers and how different they were from most of the students I’ve taught here.
In England the school summer holiday is normally 6 weeks and begins in late July. I remember as a child counting down the days until the end of term and those 6 long weeks of freedom. It’s strange how the mind plays tricks, but I don’t remember cold, rainy days. Although it was July and August, it was also northern England, but it seems now that we had endless summer days and were rarely, if ever, indoors although I know this can’t be true.
Like most workers in the UK, my dad had 2 weeks off work in the summer and we always had a family holiday, in the UK or abroad. I remember one year my parents, my grandparents, my sister and I squeezing into an Austin Allegro with our suitcases on a roof rack and a caravan attached to the back of the car, driving from Yorkshire to Cornwall! Tempers must have frayed with us all crammed into one car on such a long trip, but I only remember the laughter and good times.
Another memorable trip was to the Isle of Wight. We had to take a very early ferry and were too early to check into our apartment, so we slept in the car wrapped in beach towels! Our apartment was one big room and my parents’ bed folded up into the wall to give us more space during the daytime! It all added to the fun even though I was convinced that it would fold up with them in it one night!
But what did I do for the rest of the time? I would spend hours going around the block on my bike with my friends, or playing tennis over the garden fence with my best friend who lived next door, being careful not to hit the ball into the next garden and having to get it back from the grumpy old man who lived there. We would go to the park or to the summer club at the local sports centre. I think I was only inside to eat and to sleep! The days lasted forever and they were magical times.
About a week before school started again, we would have the annual shopping trip for new uniform. My mum would take my sister and I into town and we would have a full day out getting everything we needed for the start of term. Early September would arrive and all too soon it was the first day of term and within a couple of days those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer had become a fond, but distant memory.