Sunday, 1 May 2016

May Day


THE arrival of May always lifts my spirits. It's my birthday month and associated with happy memories and summer expectations - even when closer to 70 than what once seemed a grand, old age of 60.
Was that almost a decade ago? At heart I'm still a youngster and long may it be so, though I no longer bound forth like a lamb when summoned to play but, instead, wisely warm up then cheerfully amble on.
Every age, I find, brings its rewards. Now, for the most part, I only work at what I choose. There's satisfaction and enjoyment  in that. Also, I've learned that it is really other people who matter most. Even when younger and more self-driven I found that, ironically, we are at our happiest when we forget ourselves - such as in a team game we're all enjoying. In the end, it's the people around us that count.
She Who Knows is no doubt storing pleasant surprises for the latter part of this month, which sees a flurry of birthdays in our families. There will be no Mayday call just yet from Edmonds Towers, here in Great Marton. The international distress call comes, by the way, from the French  M'aidez for 'help me'.
May 1st was the start of the pagan summer and always celebrated with a public holiday. One such day particularly sticks in my mind while holidaying in Holland. I was in Amsterdam and friends told me people in the city liked to take a short journey to the coast at Zandvoort for the day.
"It's always sunny," said the Dutchman confidently and, do you know, it was glorious!
After a short train journey my mate David Bailey and I, both then bachelors, sat on a wide crescent beach marvelling at the stunning views before us - many of the beauties from Amsterdam parading shamelessly beside the sea, wearing only bikini bottoms or thongs. Only a cold plunge in the freezing North Sea brought me back to my English senses.
The following year I organised a week's holiday there. But the procession only happened on May 1. In June, I discovered, it was full of frumpy, middle-aged Lowlanders holidaying with families.
Incidentally, I checked the forecast for today in Amsterdam and see it is cloudy though much hotter than here. Perhaps the pageant of beauties proceeds still - it's a stirring thought.
On this uplifting website's pages there are other enlivening sentiments. The Books page covers our feel-good publications on Kindle, by Amazon, and in paperbacks, sponsored by the British Arts Council. Any purchases support this non-profit-making literary endeavour to spread some joy and goodwill around the world and our many diverse readers.
There are excerpts and stand-alone tales on our Story/Chapter page, while Memoir caters for the travel urge in us all - along with occasional disappointments upon return, or the folly of expatriates' whimsey. The Poem page also gives cause for reflection and, hopefully, a smile.
May you enjoy it!

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