Summer to me has always meant the beach, and now in the depths of winter it's to sun-kissed strands and sparkling blue seas that my thoughts are prone to wander.

In my childhood days, from kindergarten through high school, I was lucky enough to be able to spend a couple of weeks and several other weekends every summer at a cottage my grandmother had at Saybrook Manor Beach, on the Connecticut shore of Long Island Sound.

It was there that I learned to swim, to skin dive, to fish and — in due course — to meet girls.