For me at least August has always, in so far as possible, been a month to let time stand as still as is possible. This is the moment when the hard work in the garden begins to bear fruit, the grass slows down and barely needs cutting and if it does, well who really cares and just a casual browse of dead heading the flowers as I pass while gently watering the geraniums is all that is necessary. A time to relax and enjoy the moment. When the boys were young we would go off for the day two or three times a week to the ‘Happy Fields’, with a bottle of pop, sandwiches, blanket all carried in a ruck sack, football being bounced as we walked the couple of miles to the park to spend the day by the old badgers den and Finham brook where it was safe to paddle on worn by the stream ancient sandstone. Then walking home, the boys ravenous with hunger, slightly crisp at the edges where the sun had caught foreheads and shoulders and listening to their wonderings aloud about what was for supper.
In August I do the bare minimum, windows do not get polished, cookers are not cleaned, housekeeping is kept to a one step ahead of catching botulism regime and no more, for me sitting in the garden or pottering about is far more important than whether my shelves gleam. And potter we have, we have visited palaces, both Buckingham and Hampton Court, there have been seaside trips to Brighton and Deal, there has been night time driving around central London just to see the sights at midnight and sitting in the garden by candlelight until 4.00 a.m. listening to the sounds of the night while enjoying the cooling of the air. There have been wanderings along Kensington High Street and night time exploring of St. Pancras Station listening to the pianos donated by Elton John played so beautifully by complete strangers, there was a little exploration of the city and Leadenhall Market and trips to London Zoo. On the hottest of days home brew has been drunk and very much enjoyed while sitting and enjoying the garden, the sweetest of tomatoes from the greenhouse have been picked and eaten in the simplest of salads or pasta dishes, the latest Rowan magazine has been devoured and a cardigan for winter cast on.
August is such a beautiful month to catch your breath in, to relax and just be. To stop striving to resolve all ills and remember as Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam so eloquently puts it,
“One Moment in Annihilation’s Waste,
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste…”
And while I was allowing myself to just be, a seed sparked life, one that has been sat in fertile soil for as many years as I can remember, definitely since the age of seven or eight and I decided to explore it just a little. Only to find I had exactly what I needed just, metaphorically speaking, around the corner.
To cut a long story short, I found a Handweaving studio just off Finsbury Park and trotted over for a look and after playing selected a loom that sang the loudest to me and headed home. Two days later and I produced my second piece, the first a scratty looking dish cloth, this one a very expensive cotton tea towel in a log cabin weave.All praise August and let us hope for a little more of the long balmy days of late summer.