Three distant dark figures on the lawn of a bright garden.

I’m deep into my summer break, which has not gone to plan. Instead of being in an AirBnB near Lake Geneva, we had to stay home to take my father-in-law to daily radiation therapy for a fast-growing lump on his neck. The speed of his decline is hard to absorb.

He noticed it in June, got an urgent referral in July, and started radiation treatment mid-August. He was driving a week ago, even as we wondered if he should be. His energy was fading with his appetite. Last week we drove him every day to his appointments, and each day he found it harder to get in and out of the car and walk through the hospital. On Friday he agreed to use a wheelchair. At the weekend, he became delirious and fell at home. An ambulance came. It doesn’t look as if he’s strong enough for the necessary treatment. There’s a rough month ahead.

Against this backdrop, as awful as it is, I’ve been able to recover my mojo after a torrid year with my own father and a tough work environment. Dad’s okay and managing at home well enough, which is a relief. I’ve written a lot more in my notebook about films, books, writing, technology, my desires, and all the good things my creative practice needs. Being able to help other people energises me, and I’m excited for September and October, my favourite months. Bring on the leaves, cooler winds, patterned jumpers and the rejuvenation I experience every autumn. It hasn’t been much of a summer in the UK, but autumn can’t disappoint.

(A grim duality. There’s loss coming, it’s in the air, like the sound of the steam train in Something Wicked This Way Comes.)