Dear summer

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When you came, you seemed so full of promise. I welcomed you with open arms and a joyful spirit. I really didn’t see it coming.

You’ve been a difficult one. You’ve left me reeling. But I’m picking myself up. I can’t wait for autumn. I’m sorry, but I think she’s replaced you in my affections. She’s offering me new beginnings and creature comforts, crunching leaves and soft woollen blankets and intoxicating aromas. There’s something regenerative in her embrace, something full of hope, that life will return after winter’s barrenness.

I can just see you still, your gossamer dress billowing behind you as you disappear round the corner. The sight is bittersweet; I’m sad for all that’s gone, for losing you, but I’m already turning away, turning to greet the new season. I won’t forget you. I couldn’t if I tried. I promise you’ll be in my thoughts until next year. But I’m letting you go now. Who knows what will happen before you come round again.

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Midsummer merriment

it may have been 3 weeks ago now, but Midsummer weekend this year was unexpectedly good fun. We had meant to make the pilgrimage to Stonehenge with some friends, but everyone forgot about it until a couple of days beforehand, by which point we’d made other plans and it just wasn’t viable any more. I had really been looking forward to it and was sad we weren’t able to go, but at the last minute we discovered a couple of events were on: the Wolvercote & Wytham Midsummer Festival (in Wolvercote itself) on the Saturday, and the Hayfield Road Midsummer Street Party (in Jericho) on the Sunday, both of which turned out to be lovely and made the weekend feel special.

IMG_6024The previous day (Friday 20th, Midsummer’s Eve) had been pretty exhausting, so we had a very leisurely Saturday morning. We decided to walk up along the canal to Wolvercote – previously we’ve always walked up through Port Meadow, but Ed had been on a couple of recce runs along the canal, so we thought we’d try something new.

IMG_6026IMG_6033IMG_6035The canal is lined with brightly decorated canal boats, many of which have lots of plants and ornaments on the roof.

IMG_6038IMG_6036After an hour or so we reached Wolvercote! The fair was held on the village green, and as we arrived some people started making giant bubbles, which of course drove all the kids present crazy. It was hilarious to watch them crashing around chasing after bubbles.

IMG_6109 copyIMG_6042 - CopyIMG_6045 copyIn ultimate nostalgia mode, we got ourselves a couple of 99s and sat down on the grass just as the maypole was being set up. I’ve never seen a maypole in action before, so, coupled with the ice cream and the sun, you can imagine my levels of excitement. There were also games, races, and a dog show.

IMG_6054IMG_6062IMG_6056IMG_6065And of course plenty more bubbles!

IMG_6081 copyIMG_6091 copyIMG_6096 copyIMG_6108IMG_6097We headed home the familiar route, down through Port Meadow, and arrived home feeling the effects of the sun – drowsy, and a little bit pink.

IMG_6114IMG_6121That evening we had a lovely rest at home, curled up on the sofa watching films, and after another lazy morning on Sunday, we wandered up into Jericho in the afternoon to seek out the Hayfield Road summer street party.

IMG_6133IMG_6134 - CopyIMG_6135When we turned up, the Harcourt Collective were on stage, playing one of my favourite songs – they were so good, I need to keep an eye out for them! (You can find some recordings of theirs here.) There was bric-a-brac, face painting, a bake-off, and food and drink. It was a lovely, relaxed event, with lots of families and people hanging around chatting. It was so nice to see a community come together.

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We sat there for an hour or so, enjoying being outdoors with warm weather and good music. It was the perfect way to end the weekend. This summer so far has proved to be idyllic, and I’m almost sad to be leaving next week for 3 weeks in Greece! I feel like I’ve really, finally experienced the quintessential English summer that you read about in Enid Blyton novels. I hope it stays like this for August and September – I have many plans (most of which involve blackberry-picking)…

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Making space

I went to a great talk today in my college, focusing on women of colour and intersectional feminism more generally. Hearing about the many ways in which women of colour are silenced and erased from mainstream narratives was truly an eye-opener, and made me rethink lots of things. I was most struck by something the speaker said about making space for others and for their voices. She emphasised the importance of listening to the experiences of others, particularly when they differ to your own. As a white woman, I cannot presume to know what it is like to be a Muslim woman, or a disabled woman, or a black woman. So why should I assume that I can speak for these women? They are infinitely better able to speak for themselves. And yet they are rarely given the chance to do this. Surely the best way to be an ally is to give them that chance.

Sometimes it’s not about leaning in; maybe instead it’s about sitting back and making space for those voices that are usually left out of the circle.

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