I woke up this morning with one sunburnt arm, as a result of sitting outside yesterday to watch the Wimbledon men’s final (and what a match that was!), and with the song ‘Here comes the sun’ going round and round in my head. Together, these two things combined to inspire today’s blog post – my ten favourite things about summer. 1. Not having to wear a coat
After a long winter, complete with hurricane-force winds and record-breaking rainfall, and then that annoying couple of months when you’re not quite sure if you need a jacket, so you take one with you, then take it off within five minutes of leaving the house and end up carrying it all day, it’s nice to now be able to head out in the confident knowledge that you don’t need a coat. Of course, this is England, so you may still set out without any additional layers, and then find it’s pouring with rain by mid-afternoon. Like today. Doh.
2. Ice cream
On the whole, I’m not a huge fan of hot weather; given a choice I’d rather be cold and putting on layers than hot, because there’s only so many layers you can remove (particularly when you’re allergic to getting your legs out, for fear of blinding innocent passersby with their extreme whiteness). And let’s not even mention how unbearable the District Line becomes when it’s hot. Urgh. But if there’s one thing that makes it all better, it’s ice cream*. Not on the District Line, though, obviously, unless you want your ice cream to end up in someone’s armpit.
* especially if it’s Magnum Strawberry and White Chocolate. They’re limited edition, and the day they stop selling them, I may actually cry.
I’m concerned that I talk a bit too much about Pimm’s and am giving a bad impression of myself. I’m really not a big drinker on the whole, but there’s something about relaxing with a nice cold glass of Pimm’s that makes everything ok. Also, it has fruit in it, so it’s good for me. Right?
(Update: when I shared this post on Facebook last night, it led to an interesting discussion about whether Pimm’s is actually nice, or whether it actually tastes like soil. So I thought I’d throw the question out and see what everyone else thinks. Don’t be scared to say if you hate it too; I won’t be offended – after all, it just means more for me…)
Barbecues aren’t always great. If you choose the wrong day, you find yourself huddling in the house, ready to run out at the appropriate moment to grab a soggy burger from the hapless host, then dash back inside to eat in the living room. And then there’s the eternal dilemma of how to balance your plate of food and assemble your burger whilst also holding a drink, and trying to keep an excitable dog away from the sausages. Yes, I speak from experience. But there’s one thing I love about barbecues, and that’s the way they seem to exert a magnetic pull on any men present. I don’t know why boys are so attracted by fire (personally open flames of any kind terrify me), but it makes me laugh every time. 5. My birthday!
I was born almost exactly half-way through the year, which is great because it means I have a nice even gap between my birthday and Christmas. Admittedly I have also had to do exams on my birthday in the past, and then there was the time I decided to celebrate my 18th the evening that England were playing Germany in the World Cup. Big mistake. But on the whole, it’s a great time to have a birthday. I recommend it.
6. Open air theatre
As you probably guessed by now, I’m a massive fan of theatre of pretty much any kind. But there’s something a bit special about open air theatre; I think it’s the fact that you never quite know what’s going to happen, because it’s so much harder to control everything outdoors. A couple of years ago, I watched Richard III at the Globe during a thunderstorm. Fortunately, unlike the poor people standing, I was under cover, but I completely missed one scene because of the noise from the pouring rain, and spent most of the afternoon mildly terrified of being struck by lightning. And despite all that, it was brilliant, because bizarrely, the weather seemed to fit perfectly with the play. Particularly dramatic moments were punctuated by loud crashes of thunder, and as the play drew to a close, with the villain defeated, the sun came out and the rain stopped. The actors adapted admirably and worked with the elements to make it one of the most memorable theatre outings I’ve had. Then again, there was also the time I went to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and the play got cancelled before it even started because of the torrential rain. So it doesn’t always work out. 7. Child-free paths
Now don’t get me wrong. I like children. But my office is opposite a primary school, so for most of the year, my five-minute walk from the tube station to work is an obstacle course, the obstacles being small children on scooters and mothers with pushchairs who seem blissfully unaware of my presence (not to mention, given that this is Fulham, a fair number of au pairs). So please don’t judge me for looking forward to six glorious weeks when I can walk down the street without falling over anyone.
I’m not talking knee deep in mud, haven’t showered for three days festivals. I did that once, and the sight of the toilets by the last morning was enough to put me off for life. What can I say, I like my creature comforts. But I’ve had some great times at festivals and open air gigs over the years, including the time we nearly drowned at a Coldplay gig (I’m not even joking) and the time we saw our old music teacher in Bjorn Again at V Festival. Actually, that was kind of weird and embarrassing. But you get the idea.
Need I say more? (Don’t worry, I hear you crying, ‘Please don’t!’)
Just to clarify, although I wasn’t great at science stuff at school, I do realise the sun sets all year round. But during winter, it’s dark before I leave the office, so I’ve come to associate sunsets with the summer months, when I actually get to see them. As you know, I’m officially a sunset addict, and can’t see one without getting my camera out. So the summer invariably means a lot of me wandering about staring at the sky and getting in people’s way, then annoying everyone on Twitter with my photos. Sorry about that. Now obviously, because I’ve written this post, I’m assuming that in about five minutes’ time it’s going to start raining and won’t stop till September. Sorry I ruined summer. Have a Pimm’s; it’ll help. Honest.