It appears as if summer has arrived in Britain overnight. Despite dubious drought warnings, we were enduring days on end of grey skies, which more often than not ended up as rain and then bam! The sun came out and we’ve had uninterrupted sunshine for almost a week now. To the rest of the world, please forgive us for our excitement but one sunny day in Britain is a gift let alone seven days in a row of wall to wall sunshine. Waking up to glorious beams at 5am is thrilling but I really must haul the sewing machine out of the loft and attach the blackout linings to my curtains and more importantly to my little one’s curtains so that I’m not greeted at ’early bird o’clock’ by a three year old who thinks the sun is up so it must be time for us to get up.For those who aren’t familiar with Britain and its weather, something needs explaining. Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean we have either warmth or sunshine hence our excitement when proper ‘summer like weather’ arrives in May. Being the pessimistic nation that we are, we know that this hot spell is unlikely to last for the duration of the ‘summer months’ and so we have to make the most of it while it lasts; make hay while the sun shines so to speak. It might be useful to point out at this point that we Brits are obsessed with the weather and talk about it all the time. It’s too hot, it’s too cold, there’s too much rain,next we’re experiencing a drought and we have even been known to have the 'wrong kind' of snow! We are all wannabe meteorologists!
What do these periods of unaccustomed warm weather mean to us? Housework is left for a rainy day, Tesco and Asda’s shelves are depleted of paddling pools , sun hats and strawberries, Boots the pharmacy triple their sun lotion sales, the corner shop runs out of ice lollies and hanging flower baskets and pots of petunias appear on porches. The smell of sausages being barbecued and freshly mown lawns, fill the air; reminding those of us who suffer with hay fever to take our one-a-day loratadine. Different kinds of sounds fill the neighbourhood; children squealing as they have water fights, Mums shouting at their younger kids not to soak their teenage sister unless they want to unleash her inner demons!, music blasting loud enough for at least four houses to ‘enjoy’ it, (Reggae again!) as well as ‘Just one cornetto,’ from the ice cream van which promotes the selling of genuine gelato! The closest thing to Italy that anything on that van has come is the driver’s spag bol on Wednesday nights.
The school playground is filled with parents of all shapes and sizes; revealing far more flesh than is decently necessary. This flesh ranges from ashen white, with blue undertones, to varying shades of crimson; from rare to well done and crispy. Why is it that many people in this country still find it unbelievable that the sun can burn you even if you aren’t sat on a beach in Magaluf? "You can get sunburned in Great Britain people and haven’t you heard of skin cancer?" I want to shout at them through a megaphone! What can look even worse than the pasty white or red, sun burned skin, are the bodies of those who have attempted to apply fake tanning lotion which has turned streaky and Dorito orange coloured instead of the ‘natural golden bronze’ description promised on the bottle! A baffling habit of beer bellied and hairy British males is to remove their shirts at the first sign of sun. It’s enough to put me off licking my ice cream cone! I’m sure it is these same males that give Brits abroad a bad name.
So, excuse me now while I go and fire up the barbecue, (yes, women are perfectly capable of throwing a few shrimp on the grill) yell at the boys for soaking their sister with the super boost water guns that I crazily bought them in a moment of madness and catch a few more rays on my ‘for too long having been shrouded in layers of warm clothes’ body! Let’s enjoy this hot spell while it lasts!