Summer holidays are meant to be fun.
A time for freedom, not a time to hear mother yelling for me to do this, do that… don’t do that… make yourself useful.
The sooner I did the jobs she wanted, the better I would be able to go out and run all the way to my favourite place, the River Thames.
To the old houseboat tied up outside the church, with its small graveyard, each headstone facing the water. The boat belonged to the vicar from the time before he wore the white collar. He knew I visited and never told me to go away.
I cleaned all the windows and brought some of mother’s old sheets from home so I could lie on the bed and dream. I would pick summer flowers from our front garden to cheer the place up. Here on my boat, I visited India and bathed in the Ganges, visited the temples, leaving flowers for Ganesh and Hanuman the monkey God.
All through the summer holidays, I would visit Greece and Rome when each place would be in full bloom. The best place of all would be the mighty Mississippi. I had the best summer on my Riverboat Queen, following in the footsteps of Huckleberry Finn…