School ended mid-July and didn't start again until September which was as far away as Australia.
The weeks stretched ahead without stress, the need to duck board rulers and homework, or having to get up at the crack of dawn to put on formal clothes, heft a bag, satchel or briefcase full of books, and trudge off to a day of toil and confusion.
"Wake up son. It's time for school."
"I don't want to go to school, mum. The kids hate me and the teachers hate me."
"You have to go to school, son."
"Because you're 52 and you're the headmaster."
I still remember one particular end of term day with great fondness, standing on Oxford Road station in Manchester waiting for the train to take me home to Timperley in the folds of the Cheshire countryside. My last day in the fourth form and the future consisted of weeks of pleasure, idleness and the hope of chatting up a girl called Violet. And, of course, the sun was shining.
Nostalgia isn't sepia toned when it comes to summers past: it's invariably sun-streaked. Sometimes it was; on other occasions the rain persisted down. But even that didn't dampen spirits during days of freedom and exploration.
Cynicism only sets in with age.
"Summer? It was that three days in May followed by a long weekend in June. Don't hope for anything better. August will be a wash out."
St Swithin's Day didn't help. It poured down first thing, became dull and sulky and the sun only peeked out at the tail end, as if checking that the rain had stopped. The legend says: St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain; Full forty days, it will remain. St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair; For forty days, t’will rain no more.
So if what we had on that day sets in until school goes back? We can expect a typical English summer, which usually requires anyone planning a day out to pack the car with windscreen de-icer, shorts, T shirts, sweaters, track suits, Wellington boots, weather proofs, sleeping bags, flasks of tea and coffee, survival blanket and a long pole with a flag on the end to stick up through a snowdrift so the emergency services can find your vehicle in the Yorkshire Dales.
If you intend to attempt a day out by train, bus or bicycle, you need a backpack the size of a baby elephant and a certificate to prove you have completed a Bear Grylls survival course.
Brits, however, are eternal optimists when it comes to summer. They don their shorts and sleeveless tops at the first hint of May warmth and are undeterred throughout the following months, no matter what the heavens throw at us.
These days, trips out are taken by car suitably equipped for all seasons and those long carefree days of summer remain as memories of bicycle rides to the woods with Violet.