The Last Day of Summer – 31 August 2013

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‘All good things must come to an end.’ And, thus, it is only right and fair that this extraordinarily good summer has drawn to a close.

Today, on this final day of August, I’m en-route home from a great week with Scouts. We were camping in southern Cornwall, so the family dropped me off on their own way home from our Padstow holiday, last weekend.

Andrew Burdett feeds wood to the campfire.

CAMPFIRE’S BURNING: I feed the fire, during last night’s campfire in Devon. (© Graham Muncer 2013)

Right at the start of the summer holidays, there was my DofE Silver expedition (a blogpost about that will follow), plus the DofE Gold ‘Practice’ and ‘Real’ Expeditions (cutting the film of the latter is my next big project). Interspersed with all of that: work, parties, and the collection of my “really not bad” AS-Level results.

What strikes me is this: how immensely lucky I am. My parents are by no means the richest in the world (Mum’s a teacher, Dad’s still technically unemployed), but somehow these amazing opportunities have come my way. For the same money as some people spend on a few days’ all-inclusive, I’ve enjoyed weeks of adventures, friendship, and fun. I haven’t touched my passport – not even once – but in my zig-zagging tour of the UK, I’ve been more northerly than ever before and – for just a brief moment – been the most southerly man in all of mainland Britain.

For the brief part of the school holidays that I actually spent in Maidenhead, I was earning my money: it’s only because I love what I do that I can make myself get up, day-after-day, and head into work with a smile of enthusiasm.

Andrew Burdett and other Explorers pose for a photograph with hired surfboards.

Andrew (fourth from R) with fellow Explorer Scouts, after a surf session in Cornwall. (© Graham Muncer 2013)

What I’ve learnt this summer is actually very simple. For me, making the most of the holidays is about going out and making the most of every single day. It’s about waking up, bright and fresh every morning, with the self-motivation to wash, shave, and dress for another day. I don’t scorn those of my classmates who see school holidays as an excuse to do nothing for weeks; only pity those who then – having done that – complain that the glorious month-and-a-half of freedom was “rubbish”.

So here’s to the great, warm summer of 2013, and special thanks to everyone I saw or met along the way. From the village drunk I chatted to in Corpach, to camping with Josh and Madi (two of my very best friends) this last week, via everybody else.

It’s the memories of my interactions with all of these people that I will treasure forever. Thank you to those who made this summer so special.

Postscript

Ooh, one last thing. I tweeted earlier that the #BurdettOnTour summer has finished. That’s sort of true, except that, tomorrow, I’m going to Southampton with Harriet to try out powerboating.

Andrew Burdett and friends canoeing on Loch Ness.

Andrew (back of boat, L) and three friends canoe across Loch Ness on one morning of the DofE Gold expedition. (Photo: © Lois Brown)

 

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a 20-year-old from Maidenhead in Berkshire. A self-professed "lover of life", he enjoys a busy calendar of activities and engagements. With regular involvement in the Scout Association and his church, he was made Head Boy in his final year at school. After a gap-year spent as a Teaching Assistant at a local junior school, he is now half-way through his Journalism Studies degree at the University of Sheffield. In his spare time, he swims, reads, and enjoys writing about himself in the third-person.