It was the summer of 1988, or maybe 1989. I was nine or ten and shared a bedroom with my sister, Anna. Our room faced the street and it's huge west-facing bay window caught the full glare of the setting sun and the pink curtains gave the room a warm glow. We possibly had wallpaper which was pink with white clouds. That summer the local pub round the corner had a moment when it was the place to be. Every weekend (once Mum and Dad had tucked us in and gone downstairs) we would get out of bed, kneel up at the window and peek out of the curtains to watch people, couples and groups, walking to the pub. They were young, noisy and trendy, laughing and smoking. They stuck out in our quiet, suburban street. I thought they were utterly fascinating. We didn't know anyone like that. We knew children who went to school, played with their Sindy houses and rode their bikes. We knew grown-ups who went to work, went sailing, and had friends round for dinner. We didn't know anyone who went to the pub.
The next summer it was quiet again.
Lately there are times when I am doing something very everyday with the children and I am taken straight back to a moment from my own childhood, like an echo. We are approaching midsummer and it's very light when the children go to bed and the light pours in around the edges of the black-out curtains, creating slanting patterns and dancing dust. Through the open window we can hear noise and activity - cars going up and down our road, bees, voices talking, birds, the occasional plane overhead. And that memory of going to bed when it was still warm and light outside, of long summers when it was endlessly hot and sunny for weeks at a time, comes back every time like a reflex.