‘Get your cozzie on jojo’
‘Get your cozzie on now and go in the garden, its nice and hot and Daddy has a surprise for you!’
‘Sprinkler surprise, mummy, sprinkler surprise?’
‘Well why don’t you hurry up and get into your cozzie and find out?’
So I struggle into my swimming costume, frills, bows and all manner of things ill fitting for a tomboy and bumble down the narrow stairs, through the living room with an enthusiastic hop over grandpa’s legs I’m out the back door and into the arena of sprinkler surprise.
Daddy is standing in post box red swimming trunks, the hair on his legs is drenched and sticking to his pale skin, but not just standing he is slightly crouched waiting to leap forward and catch one of my half naked brothers. Both of who are running around weaving in and out of each other like pinballs, occasionally crashing together and careering off in opposite directions all the while shrieking, cheering and whooping with all the unadulterated joy you can imagine. In the middle of the lawn is the sprinkler, the machinery of the game. It rotates in an arc, shooting freezing cold water out in all directions. The beauty of its repeating movement is mesmerizing and as the water is thrown out, it catches the summer sun and winks at me with an excitement appointed only to your youth.
I bound down the concrete steps and thrown myself onto the grass running as fast as my undeveloped chubby legs will carry me. I blunder into my brothers who yell with annoyance and provide Daddy with an easy target who catches me by the legs holds me upside down and swings me with surprising velocity through the freezing cold water. The water shoots through my hair, into my face drenches my costume and leaves me with glittering skin and a feeling of pure adventure.
The game can only go on so long as the adults energy levels will allow, and as you get older, the games get shorter and the sun doesn’t seem as bright nor the water feel as exhilarating. But in those summer months, when you are young enough to think it will last forever and the holidays stretch longer than you can remember, sprinkler surprise was better than any birthday present, any expensive holiday to the sea because it was just the summer, my Daddy, my brothers and me.