On a damp and cool first day of August, I am transported back to the summer holidays of my childhood. It was a time when summers were always hot and sunny and seasons were seasons. If only.

My summer holidays were either in a caravan in West Bay in Dorset or they were in Rotterdam with my Dutch family. Sometimes both. In West Bay, I loved the beach but we seldom made it to the beach because for as long as I can remember August has, in weather terms, been changeable. Our caravan was owned by a couple who lived in Broomhill, Bristol. Their names were Eric and Grace. It was quite a big caravan and it had to be since three grandparents and my mother usually accompanied me.

Caravans in those days – late sixties, early seventies – lacked two essentials: a TV and a bathroom. I kid you not, especially with the latter. If you wanted even to have a pee, you needed to leave the caravan and walk to the nearest communal toilets. Washing facilities were the same, albeit in different buildings. I have always required a bathroom break at around 4.00 am, even as a young boy, and I well remember the long, usually freezing cold, walk to the loo. And it always seemed to be raining.

My grandad loved driving, so we would drive to other resorts like Lyme Regis and Burton Bradstock, gazing through the windscreen at the horizontal rain at the slate grey skies. We would unravel our sandwiches and flasks of tea and sit there, squashed in his car, until he decided it was time to return to the caravan. We never went out to eat, we never went to any of the pubs. You would think this was the most miserable time of my life, but it wasn’t.

I would walk, alone, around the beautiful harbour, watching the waves crash against the sea walls, standing next to the fishermen as they cast their lines. I would buy a burger with extra onions and a can of full fat Coca Cola and climb the cliff top that gazes down on West Bay, slipping and sliding all the way up and all the way down. For a passing moment in time, I was the king of the world. Sometimes I would walk to Eype where drowning campers sheltered under their awnings, clutching mugs of hot tea. And they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Oddly enough, so was I, which was just as well since we couldn’t afford anything better!

I guess I would have been happier if the sun had shined more often and I am certain my grandad would have been, although he’d have had nothing left to talk about. When my dad visited from Canada, he would painstakingly explain that the reason the weather was rubbish was because of where we lived. “If the prevailing wind comes from the Atlantic Ocean, what do you expect?” And he said it every single year. It still rained though and the old boy still complained.

I felt very lucky having a holiday, even if it was in the same place pretty well every year and despite the weather it was rarely seaside postcard sunny. When I started full time work, I discovered that there were places where the sun shone throughout the summer so I visited them on holiday. Unlike in Britain, if I went to Greece in July and August, it was certainly be sunny and warm. Realising somewhat late on that I rather liked the idea of roasting in the sun, something that rarely happened at home, off I went. And I never warmed to people who moaned that it was “too hot – I need the shade.” “Then what are you doing here? Go to West Bay and just about everywhere in England and you will find it definitely isn’t too hot there!”

Too often, August seems to be the start of autumn with grim days like today. It’s meant to get better in a few days, but don’t bank on it. There’s still loads of things you can do when the weather’s rubbish and complaining about it won’t make a difference. Trust me, it never did.