Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer as it is supposed to be

Last Spring TLOML and I moved into that sweet little garden flat, and anticipated a glorious English summer. I remember sitting on the Heath in t-shirts during a freakishly warm spell in March, salivating at the thought of the months ahead, to be spent in sunny London, replete with picnics in the park, barbecues in the garden, and afternoons spent sipping bitter shandy in beer gardens. That, for me, is what the quintessential London summer involves. Plus we were getting married, the Olympics were coming to town, it was a Jubilee year generous with bank holidays - all signs were good.

In the event, it was a bit of a washout. Not the bit where we got married. That was perfect (despite the rain most of the day). And yes, the Olympics were brilliant - but somewhat anomalous. My main memory of them now is of how continually surprised we all were that London hadn't ground to a halt after all, and the volunteers were really surprisingly nice. But most importantly of all, it rained all summer long. It was the wettest summer in 100 years. Not such an auspicious start to our new life in London, and not a great encouragement to my sun-loving husband.

This summer by contrast is shaping up to be everything an English summer should be. Blue skies and bright sunshine every day for the past couple of weeks - we've had more sunny days in the last fortnight than all of 2012, it seems to me. Long, light evenings where it's actually warm enough to sit outside and eat. Again, we've eaten dinner in our yard more times in July than we managed all summer long in Fox Corner last year. And it's a north facing yard, half a mile from the chilly North sea, at that. What's more, 2013 is an Ashes summer.  Five weeks of wall-to-wall cricket, to be listened to on the radio sitting on a rug in a park, or on the beach, with a backdrop of kids playing their own 2, or 3, or 5-a-side version of the game.

Maybe I look back with rose tinted glasses. Perhaps my four summers in the US coloured my homesick view an even deeper rose. (Actually I was only in the US for two summers, but I'm going to count the two Winters in Malibu as summers too). But this is what I remember English summers to be like. All strawberries and cricket and sandals. And days like these:
Blue skies and green fields

Another sunny day at the seaside

Sadly I've already established you can't live somewhere just for the weather. Otherwise I think I could make a case for staying here forever.

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