Wednesday, 30 September 2015

On The Last Day of September

'The big ship sails through the alley-alley-o
The alley-alley-o
The alley-alley-o
The big ship sails through the alley-alley-o
On the last day of September


That's a children's rhyme, and I seem to remember there was a game that went with it - something to do with making an arch and children running through it. Like most of these old rhymes nobody seems to know where it comes from, whether it means anything, or how a ship came to sail through an alley in the first place. When we had flooding in Yorkshire we had dinghies and canoes in the streets, but nothing that came near big ship proportions. And why the last day of September?

There were other verses - 'the captain says it'll never, never do'. The cap'n was right, me hearties, because the ship ends up at the bottom of the sea.

But the thing about the last day of September is that it's so unpredictable. The last day of September can be bitterly cold or pouring with rain, or it can be, like today, gloriously sunny. (Hello, sun. Where do you think you were in July and August, then?) The rhyme always alerts me to the Last Day of September.

I have photographs of a Last Day Of September long ago when my children were small and we were all in summer clothes on the beach. LYS had just about sussed how to walk while holding on to something or someone, and we have pictures of him toddling through the waves while holding both my hands. The following year was another sunny Last Day of September, and I took the children to the playground. An hour later we were rushing Daughter to the doctor because she'd run headlong into a swing and been concussed.

That turned out to be a very long Last Day of September and an even longer first day of October. The nights were longer than the days. However, there were no lasting ill effects. (Note to Daughter and Daughter's Chap - any eccentricities are to do with the genes and the lousy upbringing. Or possibly the brothers. Not the swing.)

I hope you've all had a good last day of September. Have a great thirty-one days of October, and look out for small children near moving swings.

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