This has been the best summer ever – Rick Jackson 

Picture: Friends of Stokes Bay
Picture: Friends of Stokes Bay
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This is the summer dreams are made of. The summer we all wish for. If we could describeour perfect summer, the summer of 2018 would be it.

Sunny every day, not having to check the forecast because you know it’s going to be nice. Not having to worry about what to wear as anything light is all you need.

For many I’m sure, if every summer were like this one, we wouldn’t bother heading for the Mediterranean for heat and a great tan.

I don’t remember the long hot summer of 1976 and although my rose-tinted glasses of youth tell me every summer in the 1980s was brilliant, I know they weren’t as good as this year.

Living within walking distance of Stokes Bay, Gosport, we now regularly pop down to the beach and have an evening barbecue.

There is such a lovely atmosphere there. Far from too busy, other families are doing likewise, with paddle boarders and kayakers adding to the atmosphere.

It’s not so easy for family Jackson though, as we’ve discovered this year. Nothing with young children is quick and easy.

The amount of stuff we need fills the boot of our big S-Max, our picnic blanket would cover Gosport and a suitcase of spare clothes is needed.

Being a pebble beach, the approach to the sea makes you look and feel like you are walking over hot coals in slow motion. Then there is the sudden drop in temperature.

It might be 29C at head height, but your toes have now hit the sea and although it’s had plenty of time to warm up, it’s not like the pool at Holbrook Leisure Centre.

Once you are in, it’s wonderful though and the full joys of summer come to the fore. Swimming with my two-year-old daughter, bouncing over the small waves.Then the man’s job, cooking the meat on the disposable barbecue.

Shutting down the internet was the right move for us

Is there anything worse that showing your wife a lovely house that would be perfect for us on Right Move... just as she’s settled on a builder for a new kitchen and extension?

Yes, offering a different opinion to the one sent for the planning application!

We’d talked long and hard about our dream kitchen. It was all decided.

Weeks pass and I mention it might be better to move the utility room into the house. I held my breath. She agreed. Relief.

Our builder and architect must be fed up with us changing our minds, but it’s a huge investment and I’m sure we’re not the only ones.

For our own sanity, we’ve decided to put away the internet until it’s done!

I’ve gone radio gaga! Don’t tell builders what my job is

As we prepare for our building work, we’ve already had four months of noise, mess and disruption from next door as they’ve had a double extension built.

It’s impressive how quickly so much has been done but our neighbours moved out and we should have too! I can live with the noise of machinery, shouting builders and the dust from, well, everything.

What I can’t live with is their radio booming out all day. They listen to an ’80s station. This is fine for a day, but the same songs keep coming around. It’s the same with the ‘hit’ station they have on, the same awful songs being played.

 I’ve not mentioned what I do for a living.

It won’t light. When it does, the refreshing sea breeze blows the lighter paper too quickly and the coals don’t catch.

The man next to me has a mini gas barbecue. This makes me feel inadequate. Time for an upgrade.