Often at night, when I should be sleeping, I find myself leaning out of my window, staring at the stars on the horizon until my vision grows blurry. It's one of those things I love to do at anytime of the year - it's just so much easier in the summer: your fingers aren't freezing off and you can still feel your toes if you stretch out in the slightly damp grass and cup your eyes until you can't see the streetlights. Gradually your eyes adjust to the dark, and you realise that if you let your gaze wander, you can see more than just ursa major and a few planets.
That all said, there is something to look forward to in the autumn and winter - I have strong memories of sitting camped out in the darkest corner of the garden, wrapped in blankets and hunting out the meteors until I've lost count of how many I've seen (and how many wishes wasted).
I'm pretty in awe of my dad's ability to point out constellations with ease, or tell me what planets I can see in a given month.. It's something I hope that by the time I'm his age, I'll have the same stargazing ease. I tell myself that those nights leaning out my windows and listening to the screech of foxes, or letting the cold and the damp seep into my slippers in the garden, is like my research.