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Summer, so time to grimace and bear it

SUMMER'S here and they're dancing in the streets.

My street to be blunt. Put your ear to this page and you may hear the thump-thump-thump that indicates someone not so very far away is sharing his lamentable taste in music with all and sundry. I could, of course, avoid it by donning those helmet-sized headphones that cut one off from all manner of noise pollution, from mewling teenagers to barking dogs.

Alternatively, I could check into a monastic retreat for a spell, thereby allowing my blood pressure to return to what passes for normal. As it is, I shall probably just grimace and bear it.

As the temperature rises and the sun wanly emerges, into view hove beings never normally seen during the season when your breath freezes in front of you. Like midges, they appear from nowhere and are equally insidious. Typically, they are pale of skin and tattooed of limb and strut their stuff like turkeys in the hour before their necks are wrung.

If they're male, they are invariably carrying truckloads of lager, the consumption of which renders them even more senseless than when they are sober. If they're female, they jabber incessantly on their mobiles, supplying whoever is at the other end (the Samaritans?) with precise details of their whereabouts, perhaps so they can be located should they wander off piste.

Boarding a train at Perth at the weekend, I realised too late that we were seated next to a dozen youths, each of whom looked like Justin Bieber. They were drinking. And listening to music via their mobiles.

Suffice it to say that whatever leaked out was not composed by Bach or the Beatles. They were going on holiday and oblivious to everyone else. Two Japanese tourists gave each other a look which said, "Why on earth did we leave Kyoto?"

The youths were fizzing with excitement, indicative of the fact that this may have been the first time they'd been outwith the boondocks. Crossing the Forth at Queensferry one asked, "Is this the road bridge?"

Another pointed out that it was unlikely, given we were on a train. "What's the difference between a train and a tram?" asked the first youth. It's amazing how a friendship can be sustained by such conversations. When not discussing transport they considered the "burdz" they had known and loved. Or would like to have loved. Except they did not articulate it in such Austen-esque terms. Like us, they got off at Haymarket and jumped aboard an airport-bound tram. They must now be abroad where they have leave to stay for as long as possible.

Back home, meanwhile, there had descended upon the park opposite our flat what looked like a tribe of refugees, the technical term for which, I believe, is "revellers". There was a circus with a big top and a sound system that would have made Bruce Springsteen go green with envy. Had we so wished we could have bopped to the beat in our own kitchen.

Having said that, there were times when it had to compete with a pipe band and a disco in a marquee, both of which were part of a community group's family fun day. All human life was there, including my brother, who, as afternoon morphed into evening, was attempting to bag litter left by the ravenous hordes.

At which point I made the mistake of looking out the window and was immediately roped into helping. Increasingly, I'm beginning to think that in another life I may have been a scaffie.

It was around now that the local racecourse called a halt to proceedings for the day, thus releasing into the wild the herds at what it calls without an iota of irony "Ladies Day" and is described as "a 'must' in the Scottish social calendar".

Our street is their catwalk but by the time they reached us, the ladies were more staggering and limping than posing and preening. What cannot be denied, however, is that they made an effort. Dressed in garments that were as low-cut as they were high-hoisted, they tottered homeward in bare feet, having abandoned their vertiginous heels.

Accompanying them were their beaux who, all inhibition gone, roared like lions in heat and sang like Sidney Devine. Remind me: when do the clocks go back?

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