By this point in the year, you’re probably quite used to the idea of summer: the concept of a prolonged period of good weather.
Actually, you’re surprised and delighted to see so much sunshine; basking in those wonderfully warm temperatures we’ve had of late.
But not quite taking it in your stride; taking it all for granted. You’re still keeping an eye on the forecast.
But feeling confident, still.
Buying the sausages for the BBQ at the weekend, even though it’s three days away. Not erecting the ‘just in case it rains’ canopy. Just yet.
You might even have packed your sweaters away (finally). And now, your wardrobe is lighter - in weight and probably in colour, too - and so is your spirit.
Indeed, it’s as if your mood is directly linked to the amount of sunshine on offer: the sunnier it is, the sunnier you feel.
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days…
Sunny summer days seem endless. After a long day at work, you can arrive home with time to do things. Whether it be pottering in the garden, going out for a bike ride or relaxing al fresco with a glass of wine or a beer with the sun still high in the sky.
On a fine day, there are still vestiges of light until 10pm. No wonder the kids complain you’re putting them to bed in broad daylight.
Even getting up in the morning is easier. And whilst you might not always have a spring in your step on the way to the office, any part of the journey that involves a sunny walk is certainly more pleasurable.
In summer, everything seems a little more relaxed, a little lazier. You could almost believe the Hamster Wheel of Life had slowed slightly. As American author, Sam Keen said ‘Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability’.
Yes, it’s amazing what a bit of sunshine can do.
And how we love the sun! Because we simply don’t get to see it often enough.
So, when it breezes in like a long-lost love (especially when it’s unexpected), we worship at its feet.
We run out to embrace its rays, removing our clothing before it’s advisable; even if it’s that brief spell around February when we have an unseasonably early taster of things to come but technically, it’s still winter.
In short, we get a bit giddy. We can’t help ourselves.
Feelin’ hot, hot, hot! (or not, not, not!) …
Because we LOVE the heat! Bring it on! The Hotter the Better we say!
Well, for a while. And then, perhaps, not too hot.
Because, quite frankly, when it gets that hot it’s difficult to do anything. Thankfully the office is air-conditioned. But then you spend your days shivering in your short sleeves in what feels like -5.
And as for sleeping in the heat: not a chance! Even a sheet feels like a lead weight on your clammy legs.
And the DIY stores ran out of fans on the first day of the good weather.
Doesn’t it feel heavy?
What we need is a good storm…
If we do experience a prolonged period of hot weather, we are in the throes of a ‘heatwave’ and become even more obsessed with the weather than is usual (and that’s saying something).
The tabloids sum up our surprise at this continental shift with headlines like ‘Phew! What a Scorcher’. They print pictures of city workers spending their lunch hours crowded onto small patches of grass or cooling their feet in fountains.
During the now infamous long, hot summer of 1976, there were scorching temperatures from mid-June to the end of August with 15 consecutive days reaching 32c or more.
There were hosepipe bans, stand pipes in the street and the National Water Council encouraged saving water by bathing together.
In fact, it was so hot, the Big Ben clock suffered metal fatigue and stopped working for three weeks.
But even during a hot spell, just because it’s balmy now, we know it can all change at any moment.
In early June 1975, the latest recorded snow storms fell across Britain, as far south as Surrey.
Yep! That’s the British weather for you. Lulls you into thinking you’ve moved to the Caribbean and then slaps you round the face with a big fat snowball.
Whatever the weather…
So, let’s celebrate our wonderful, unpredictable, sometimes frankly weird weather.
Because it’s all part of what it means to be British.
And this is never truer than during the Great British Summer when our sun-starved little nation hopefully moves its world outdoors.
It’s a magical, fleeting time of barbecues and picnics and strawberries and cream; getting wet on walks which started with clear blue skies, getting wet at festivals, getting sunburned at festivals, getting sunburned at the cricket, getting wet at the cricket, getting sunburned at the BBQ, getting wet at the BBQ…
You get the picture.
But whatever the weather, ultimately, the Great British Summer is all about having fun.
Albeit with an eye on the forecast, and our fingers firmly crossed.
With hope in our hearts – and a brolly to hand.
Whatever Summer means to you, and however you spend it, enjoy every second.