The release this week of Patty Griffin's new (self-titled) album put me in a reflective mood.
Her unique music always evokes many memories. Some bad, some good; smiles and tears.
One song from a previous album always brings back strong memories of my many years working on the Stockton-on-Tees Summer School for the Gifted and Talented. Originally I was brought into the team merely to add a little chess to proceedings and I felt like an imposter in the midst of so many genuinely talented people. However, I was pleased to be able to return every year, with my own character and capacity growing all of the time. I will always be thankful to the people who trusted me to grow into the role, especially during the years when others had shown a distinct lack of faith in anything I had to offer on both professional and personal levels.
Ultimately, I became the only ever-present over the course of the years the Summer Schools were active and I learned such a lot from all of the remarkable teachers, TAs and children with whom I worked.
The chess was a memorable part of the events, of course, but amid the ocean of other excellent activities and outings on offer, I can tell you the time when everyone was universally at their happiest was when we made and flew simple kites on the Sunday afternoon.
It was only a few years later that I discovered this remarkable song by Patty Griffin, which somehow encapsulates the experience of those summer days when, just for a couple of hours, the biggest problem anyone - child or adult - had to worry about was a nothing more than a tangled string.
''The Sunday after there was laughter in the air
Everybody had a kite
They were flying everywhere
And all the trouble went away
And it wasn't just a dream
All the trouble went away
And it wasn't just a dream...''
''How the little dreams we dream
Are all we can really do...''