Sumer Is Icumen In

‘Sumer is icumen in’ is, we were told at school, the earliest non sacred song known in the U.K. If you have not grasped the lyrics, here is a link giving the original and the modern translation.

We learned it as one of the many ’round’ songs like ‘Frere Jacques’ and ‘London’s Burning’ and I think of it now that the bods at the Met office have officially declared summer in Costa Rica.

Glad to hear it.

I have had enough of large rocks descending on the roads….

enough of said roads collapsing….

enough of landslides taking out the telephone lines….

in short…

enough.

We have been organising for the heat to come. The fans are in working order and we are well supplied for cold drinks.

I have found a new recipe for lemonade with fermented lemons……..reading that it took some time to be ready I started early, and celebrated the first day without rain by trying it. I shall be making more, a lot more, so just as well that we have a glut of lemons to make both that and ordinary lemonade.

The stand at the weekly feria supplies me with fruit drinks straight from the lady’s finca. Orange, watermelon and guanabana – soursop – ready to put in the freezer for the week ahead.

There is, of course, beer. Made in Spain by a German firm, given a Czech name, exported to Costa Rica and currently on offer in the local supermarket. At that price I filled the car boot.

Roll on the cold soups – vichysoisse, the gazpachos, cold minestrone……..

Roll on the tabouleh, the melon, mint and feta, the cucumber and tuna……

Roll on the cold trout in orange juice and vermouth, the fish pate, the red snapper salad

Roll on the ham – thanks to the Italian deli on an industrial estate, found when lost – the cold chicken galantine, home made terrines, the pickles…….

Roll on the cheeses – thanks again to the Italian deli – and the puds……. burned cream, Eton mess with strawberries from Volcano Poas, fruit tarts…….

We shall sit on the balcony with a G and T looking out across the Central Valley to the mountains beyond and relax in the balmy weather, rain gear packed away at last.

Dogs shall sleep.

However, I have more than a sneaking suspicion that anticipation will be better than the reality.

Most of these delights involve cooking as part of their preparation.

And who will be doing that cooking?

In a hot kitchen in summer?

Muggins…that’s who.

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November 11th…..Armistice Day.

Until in her late nineties mother used to march past the Cenotaph for the annual ceremony of remembrance whether on foot or, in later years, pushed in a wheelchair by a chum from the Brigade of Guards .

Father would never attend any such ceremony, considering it all a masquerade which glorified the deaths and wounds of those who were sent to war for interests that were not their own.

Mother wanted to march with her comrades.

Father turned his back on the whole thing.

But on some things they were agreed. Those who died in war did not ‘sacrifice’ their lives…….they were killed, wounded, potentially maimed for life both mentally and physically, in actions ordered by their governments.

Governments which do and have not given a toss for those who serve in their wars. Plenty of lip service and ceremony, but a U.K. Ministry of Defence which throws money at inept procurement projects while sending the human beings out in the field with defective equipment to take their chance. Discharged veterans without aid and support, some even on the streets.

Further, those who go to war have a strong bond of solidarity…they look after each other through thick and thin…something in civilian, in political life, in these days of identity politics we seem to have forgotten.

Can you imagine them not going to the aid of a comrade because he voted for Brexit….was of a different skin colour….approved of Trump? No, you can not. They will bring him in and argue about their differences later.

It is a lesson we can learn from those who volunteer to defend their country…though all too often they end up defending some other country’s interests.

In civilian, in political life we should stop identifying people by the labels either they or others give them.

We need to band together to defend the values which we need to have a healthy society.

Good housing, good education, real employment.

We can argue about our differences when we have won.

And on a personal note, here is something that brings back memories of mother.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea offers care and accommodation for a limited number of veterans, known as the Chelea Pensioners and recognised by their red coats and black tricorne hats.

Every year at the Royal British Legion Ceremony of Remembrance they make their entry, clapped to their place on the stand to the accompaniment of ‘The Boys of the Old Brigade’.

And every year, without fail, mother would greet their entry with a cry of ‘Creepers!’ and then have to take to her handkerchief as she remembered the ‘boys of the old brigade’ now gone.