Sunday, 7 July 2013

Summer has arrived - now please make it stop.

The weather forecast for today says it's going to be 28 degrees celsius, so it's a foregone conclusion that tomorrow's headline on at least one of the low-rent newspapers will be "Phew, what a scorcher!".
This country is nothing if not predictable. Most of us will have been grumbling about how crappy this year's weather has been so far, wondering if we're ever actually going to get a proper summer. Now it appears to has arrived, and I don't think I'm the only one that kinda wishes it would back off a bit.
For me it ideally needs to be about 20 degrees. By the time it reaches 25 I'm fading fast and looking for some shady corner to hide in and the nearer it gets to 30, the nearer I get to sitting in the fridge to avoid melting completely.
Being England we don't have a climate, we have weather. Weather that is unpredictable (despite what the meteorologists would have us believe) and never makes everyone happy at the same time. That's why we're renowned for using the weather as a conversation topic; it gives us something to grumble about and after all, grumbling is our national sport and therefore pretty much the one thing left that we're actually good at.

I'm simply not good at hot weather and I certainly don't have a wardrobe that lends itself to coping with it. There's a couple of pairs of shorts, and t-shirts are a year-round item, but that's it. Even my man-sandals have gone to landfill since they lost an argument with the pressure washer, and I'm not convinced about replacing them as they only ever saw the light of day for about one week of the year anyway.
Some people are clearly into all this heat and sun though, and they're out there in their trendy summer clothes, being happy and turning an attractive shade of brown.
If I spend too much time out in the sun I turn red, and spend the next fortnight being sore, itchy, and finally flaky; harbouring a renewed conviction to keep my pale skin covered up as much as possible.
Arabs seem to have the right idea, wearing those big white robes and headgear that must be amazingly effective at preventing sunburn and reflecting the worst of the sun's heat. Unfortunately, if I was to go to out like that I'd stand out like a sore thumb and if there's one thing I really don't like it's standing out. Blend in - that's the way. It stops you being noticed....

So although the summer has finally decided to grace us with it's presence I'm already looking forward to autumn with it's cooler days and the declining sun filtering through bands of trees slowly shedding their leaves of beautiful red and golden shades. I'm looking forward to harvesting a big pile of elderberries to make wine to keep me warm and horizontal during the winter of the following year.
For me autumn and spring are the most enjoyable seasons - they're seasons of change. Autumn sees nature getting itself ready for bed; ready for the long cold slumber of winter. Spring is nature's awakening; the emergence of the snowdrops heralding the start of another year as the deciduous trees slowly regain their foliage and wildlife can finally find sufficient food after the winter's hardship.
So for the time being I'll stay in the shade, clutching an ice-cold drink and enjoying looking out at the world in it's colourful summer splendour, and making the most of there not being much need to wear waterproofs when riding the bike.
While not without its drawbacks (like sunburn and bugs), summer does at least allow me to commute in daylight and not have my fingertips frozen to the point of physical pain. But if winter didn't do that to me I wouldn't have anything left to grumble about.
Oh, who am I trying to kid? Of course I would.