That's it: tomorrow summer officially begins. June 21st, the longest day of the year. Summer: the sunshine, the trees in bloom, succulent water melons, water games, the beach. I love it, I love it, I love it. I love the zest of lime squeeze on grilled fish. The sun on my skin. The smell of mature yellow peaches in sweet white wine. The taste of apricots that melt on your tongue ever so slowly. My grandad used to call me, and often still does, 'the little apricot lady'. He delights in telling the tale of the day I was born. A hot summer day when they were picking apricots in the fields and they had to rush to the hospital because little baby me was born - with a two week delay... Then growing up, in the shadow of my grandparents, spending my summers playing about around convivial apricot pickers. Then making jams and fruit juices in my grandma's kitchen out of the more ripen ones. In goes the sugar, the hot water bubbling away in the scorching sun, the stench of chicken's poo (which God knows why you are told 'is good for ya'!) mixed to the fragrant aroma of blended fruits..a cheeky little finger stealing a taste of the precious nectar..Nana telling you off, then my little hurt frown, then her heartily laugh; she chocks a little from too much laughing, her voluptuous figure fluttering, then brings her wrist to her face and one at a time swiftly dries her eyes from tears of joy. There is no-one in the whole wide world like my nana! I started off writing this post with a completely different agenda in mind - now, having stumbled upon some beautiful memories, I realize how lucky and blessed I have been. I received some of the most precious gifts in this world: life, a great family and, above all, the gift of a truly happy childhood. I wonder how many people can count on that.