The Summers that Shaped Me

July 20, 2015

Today I thought I’d tell you about some of my summer holidays in years gone by, complete with a lot of dodgy pictures and a lot of self-reflection and observations. Let’s time travel!

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 Summer 2005 is the last summer prior to this one I spent entirely in the UK. I was underage back in 2005 and my friends and I were at that awkward level of teenager life where you’re too old to go for dinner round somebody else’s house, but not quite old enough to go clubbing or to the pub. I mean what are teenagers meant to do? No wonder they just congregate in parks and shopping malls. It’s tough.

My friends and I spend the summer alternating round each other’s houses. We went to my house every Thursday, which we titled “the gatherings” and… I don’t know what we did? Played Playstation, had water fights, climbed trees, had sleepovers and barbecues I guess. I started learning the guitar on one borrowed from a friend (still in my bedroom ten years later). I think at one point we were writing a film and shooting bits of footage? Or maybe we started a band? That’s the kind of thing you can do as teens.

2005 was also the summer 6 of us went on a trip up north; we spent 1 day at Alton Towers and 2 days chilling out at home, watching the Saw films, “cooking”, learning to tango, God knows what else, but the time passed. I tried to find some non-awful pictures to show you, but 2005 is the year I attempted to grow my fringe out. Although shout out to that brown skirt – it was made from this weird stretchy fabric that was exclusively sold in Camden during 2003-2007 and I adored it. It was the summer I enjoyed the lazing around and the joys of just bedding yourself in with people; even as a teen my life tended towards fast-paced and busy but that summer was my most chilled out time on record. I just spent about half an hour going through old photos and now feel very nostalgic for that mundane time. We didn’t even have facebook to distract us!

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The early part of Summer 2007 was magnificent. Although tragically this was my second attempt to grow out a fringe (why didn’t I learn), study leave seemed to start in about March and I lose count of how many breakfasts, shopping trips and garden parties happened up until June. It was somebody’s birthday every weekend and house parties became our default social scenario. I suffered a huge blow in my life quite early on that summer and that ended up being quite traumatic. It’s actually one of the very few incidents in my life that even today I can’t laugh off or joke about. I went from the best period of my life to one of the very worst and I just really unravelled; I was way too young to even begin processing what had happened to me and although I had a lot of friends, I didn’t really have the capacity to properly talk to anybody.

The reason I’m including this in my summer round-up is because I stayed in a lot and started just writing song after song after song. I filled notepads with songs and most importantly they started to improve. One of the songs from this time is still in my setlist now. I feel like summer 2007 is when I just sort of ceased developing and my gears stopped changing. Growing up is a gradual process and it sounds ridiculous but I feel like most aspects of myself and the way I operate can be easily and directly traced back to that event and that summer, especially when examining the way I deal with things and create things today.

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Summer 2011 was such a big summer for me that it kind of split into two parts. It was the year I left university and I had absolutely zero plans for the summer and zero plans for the year after. The first part of summer was spent completely surrounded by all my friends; I saw a lot of my friends from back home, I saw a lot of my theatre friends and I even got to reconnect with my old school friends at a party which was wonderful.

I spent a lot of time with all the friends I’d made over the last 3 years, a long and drawn out goodbye to my degree and the corner or South London that had become my home, as well as all the years that had come before that. I leapt at every opportunity and ended up with plans that would take me far across the country for the second half of the summer. The first part of the holidays culminated in one of the best and most emotional nights of my life; flanked by my best friends Danilo and Pete it was the night I left London.

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After I left London my summer was spent surrounded by completely new people who had no link to school, university or anything I’d done before. I had leapt at every opportunity that turned up in the last few weeks and ended up spending the second 2 months of summer running around between two different music courses and a month-long run with a show at Edinburgh Fringe. I didn’t know anybody on any of those projects but ended up making lifelong friends with a lot of people I still work alongside today (such as the company I just toured with, half of Quizcats and as you can see from the pictures, James).

I’ve written about how it was the summer Amy died and I started singing; finally finding an outlet. That first time I got onto the stage and stood in front of a microphone, as myself, it was literally like the world had shifted in front of me. It was in some crappy venue with about 12 people but I just thought “I knew this is what I wanted”. If I hadn’t met James and we hadn’t been in Edinburgh that may have never happened. So, the whole summer was an amazing way to learn that even with no plans and no idea of what to do, life works out for the best. That even if the worst happens, friends are to be found everywhere.

12 comments so far.

12 responses to “The Summers that Shaped Me”

  1. Denise says:

    Oh, I loooved your post! I really enjoy your way of writing, if makes me feel as if I were there too! I must say that I was so touched by your words saying you feel we connect, and yes, I do feel this way too! I confess at first I thought you would find me a bit stupid, with my grin and outfits, but that’s just because people today tend to like more shoes than feelings, so I post those photos every week 🙂 That’s our world 🙂 I loved your summers 🙂 I may have seen you playing with your friends!!! That was my first thought when I saw the picture in black and white, I lived some years in London! My favorite photo is the one you are with a friend, you wearing a gray jacket and looking to your right 🙂 I loved the brown skirt, by the way, and I also love Camden! It was so good that you went to Edinburgh and met James and you thought of what you really want (ed) to do! Be proud of that (I bet you are, and with reasons!) because not so many people can say that! You are really such a great girl!
    DenisesPlanet.com

  2. I love all these pictures – can I steal this post idea? I really like the reflective look back and it’s so perfect for this time of year.

    Lizzie Dripping

  3. Monika says:

    These pictures are great! The clothes really take me back to that decade and I feel like those years 2005-2011 really shaped me as a person as well. I feel like I’m still trying to make sense of some of the things that happened to me during that time and there are other moments that I’ll always look fondly on. This is a really cool theme and I’ll check out some of the other posts too.

    -M
    http://www.violetroots.com

  4. ellieeburns says:

    this is such an amazing idea for a post, it made me think about how significant summers really are! loved looking at all the photos x

  5. Christina says:

    aww love reading about your summers and hearing how it all lead up to you being where you are today! Even before fb and photo sharing you took so many pics, I have so little from growing up x

  6. Sybil says:

    aaahh what a wonderful way to reminisce thru these memories! 😀 thoughtful post!

    Have a great weekend!
    Animated Confessions

  7. Adorable pictures!
    Have a nice evening!
    Natallia Jolliet
    http://www.alexphotographygeneva.blogspot.com/

  8. Oh my God you look so gorgeous in that image with the guy in the green shirt. (also sorry for spamming your posts, I’m catching up with the blog)

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