The house measures the year by where the light reaches. This is our third summer here and I watched carefully for the day the light claimed the worktop, the bathroom, the wall above our bed. There are places it catches that still catch me by surprise. So: this is summer once again. Here in the spilled honey of the worktop, in the gleam of the basin taps, in the pearlescent glow of a plastic bead. I will admit, I’ve collected these moments this year, but I’ve never quite believed in summer.
A cloudy day. The reflected flash of blue on the black TV screen before an ambulance pulled up outside. One of our dear neighbours — the neighbour who held our street together with her kindness, the neighbour who lent us Rasmus and the Tramp — died suddenly this week. Her car is still parked, uncharacteristically well, opposite her house. She babysat and tutored many of the children in our area, so it’s been a week filled with our own sadness for her and for her family, and also the sadness of the many small people she encouraged and loved. On the same day, another neighbour gave birth by planned caesarean to a much longed-for baby. There are only twenty houses on our street. Light and shade. Always light and shade.