Dear Summer…I love you!

summertowel

Here in the UK we share something of a telepathic bond that unites us in the most hilariously stupid manner – the only way for each and every one of us to get through the day is by bitching about the weather. We can’t help ourselves. Today I was waiting patiently in a supermarket queue, and I made the mistake of avoiding eye contact with the stranger next to me.

It took one second to recognise the look on his face. I knew he felt compelled to comment on the weather and expect me to agree. “Hot out,” he said with a mixture of half-smile, half roll of the eyes. There wasn’t a shred of doubt that he assumed I’d unreservedly share his deep-rooted feelings on the issue of the hot weather even though we’ve never met.

I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. I just nodded and pretended to check my messages.

It’s all about the bitching.

Winter bitching.

People here bitch about the cold winters, the grey skies, the never-ending days of grey drudgery where life seems meaningless and every face I see has hopelessness written all over it. They mope around, huddled under vast swathes of winter gear as if about to lead a trek to the Arctic. In winter I think some people enjoy getting a cold just so they can blow their noses loudly and bitch about how it’s all winter’s fault and nothing to do with a common virus.

Autumn bitching.

They bitch about autumn (or Fall as the Yankee Doodle Dandies call it – I quite like the term) because it means summer has gone, or what little we had anyway, not that we ever get any summer here. EVER. Falling leaves remind us of the misery ahead, nothing but a bleak cold landscape – greyness as far as the eye can see. FOREVER!!

Spring bitching.

They bitch about spring because they ‘re willing to swear on their mother’s life that it’ll only lead to a crappy, half-assed summer that limps along like winter’s bitch, and the effort summer puts in to the SUN part may as well be phoned it for all the good it does. They want spring out of the way as quick as possible because it’s a nothing season. Even the slight rise in temperature seems to mock them by saying: “Yup, this is as good as it gets, folks.”

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch!

People bitch about the rain, sun, snow, frost, mist, gloom, brightness, wind, storms, long cold nights, short brief humid nights and every last iota of weather that apparently craps its way across this country. Ever since I was an ankle biter people have been bitching about every tiny aspect of the weather for reasons that I’m never going to understand.

These days my theory revolves around the British being a socially awkward race who can’t tolerate a moment of shared silence. Therefore they have to fill it with what they assume to be a pretty good conversation filler.

Um. No. It really isn’t.

“Strange person in the queue, please keep your irrelevant thoughts to yourself. I’d rather insert a hundred hamsters in my butt and let them eat me from the inside out than hear your pithy comments on what’s happening outside right now, or tomorrow, next week, month, year or hear about how the wondrous Disney style summers you had as a kid lasted a million years.”

And that’s only a summary.

I can’t bring myself to list every whiny scrap of weather bitching bullshit in case I start sounding like the only eternally optimistic smiling idiot in the UK who thrives on bitching about how everyone else bitches way too much!

So what if I’m optimistic? I’m also a realistic. Our weather is pretty good. No. It’s great. Amazing. Breath taking. Inspiring. Uplifting. And so on.

Apologies, dear blog reader, I’ve digressed from the point of this post almost immediately.

In brief – Summer is awesome.

See that towel shot at the top? I took that a couple of weeks ago on a fabulous beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. If you’re ever in the UK I whole heartedly recommend you visit it. Any season is will do as it’s a beautiful place.

beachboots

Here’s a photo of my boots. Not exactly summer beach sandals I know, but they’re comfy and make walking on sand considerably easier than flip-flops. I’m not a fan of getting stones and shells stuck between my toes every other step.

Summer in the UK is marvellous. In 2012 we had a very wet summer. But it wasn’t cold. I know when summer is here because I stop wearing a coat. If I can wear a t-shirt outside I’m happy. Having said that I enjoy wearing a coat in the winter because I appreciate being warm indoors after experiencing a lovely bracing blast of cold.

A Heat Wave? Ruuuuuuun!

According to the almighty BBC the UK has not had a chunky heat wave like the one we’re experiencing right now since 2006. Right. Okay. Thanks for the statistics. But that means what to me exactly? Did I need to know that? No. There are blue skies, lovely hot sun, ice-creams waiting to be et, strawberries and cream to be scoffed, beaches to explore, paddling pools to be sploshed about in, and a gazillion other things to be enjoying.

No one should really care when we last had some nice hot weather. We’ve got some now so enjoy it!

paddlingpooldog

Here’s a photo of our dog Ben debating whether it’s a good idea to put his paws in the paddling pool. He’s a all bark and no trousers. Every now and then he’ll gingerly step in the water, front paws first, very slowly, then one back paw leaving the other back paw hanging in the air like a chicken wing trying to remember if it can flap like real birds can.

The British endured the wet 2012 with a grimace and old-fashioned stiff upper lippedness that harks back to WW2:

“Keep your pecker up, what, what. By Jove it’s a cold one but it’ll not dampen our spirits. Not one jot.”

And we all knew this year was going to bring more of the same. It’ll be a wash out. We never get any good weather here. Might think about moving to Spain. Booked this years summer holiday in 1962, back when weather was proper, not this silly come as please wishy-washy stuff we get nowadays.

But all of a sudden the clouds melted away and the glorious sun put his hat on and came out to play.

Hooray, right?

Hmm, well, kind off. For a few days. Have fun in the sun they said. Enjoy it while it lasts they said. It’ll all end in tears they said. “They” being those miserable glass-is-half-empty fun sponges who always bring one of those nasty roll up plastic rain coats with them when it’s scorching hot right across the country.

They were bloody well wrong. The sun has been here for a few weeks now and you’d think people would be happy for once. Only they’re not.

Everyone flocks to the beaches, pasty white bodies ready to soak up the rays with the notion they’ll leave at the end of the day looking like a bronzed Californian beach dude or goddess. What you get instead are droves of red skinned zombies shuffling slowly across the sand because intense sunburn prevents them moving faster than the undead.

And then you have the usual newspaper photos of parks, river sides, outdoor pools (and pretty much any bit of land big enough to lay on) riddled with sun worshippers. That’s great. I love shots like that. People outside enjoying the sun, smiling, chatting (or not since everyone sits in a tinny almost silence listening to music on their gadgets these days) and generally loving the sunshine.

summerknees

These are my knees, dear blog reader. Say hi knees. They’re not bad knees. I’ve had them a while so I’m kinda accustomed to them. The beach on the other hand, don’t see that as often as I’d like so I wanted to share it with you. Like I said before, Wells-next-the-Sea, go check it out. No, I’m not taking any kick-backs from their tourist board. It’s just a really nice beach.

Then the Half-Empty-Glass Club arrive.

  • “It’s way too hot really.”
  • “Well it’s not the heat as much as the humidity I don’t like.”
  • “This sort of thing shouldn’t be allowed.”
  • “What are the government doing about it, that’s what I want to know.”
  • “Wasn’t like this when I was a kid.”
  • “Now they’re saying there’s a water shortage. What’s the country coming to?”
  • “It’s always the same isn’t it? You long for some nice bit of sun and along comes too much.”
  • “Where are the ice-cream vans? I want a Mr Whippy.”
  • “I heard Tesco sold 10 billion burgers yesterday. What greedy buggers want that many burgers?”
  • “BBC said it was 110 degrees in the shade. What’s that Cameron going to do about it?”
  • “Well I blame the [insert random country here] because they’re the ones doing all the [insert random uneducated reason here] by melting the ice-caps/burning rubbish/killing whales/nuking stuff/polluting the ozone layer/killing puppies and making us all suffer for it.”

I know that last one is a bit far-fetched but don’t tell me you haven’t heard some miserable git trying to blame everything bad on the planet for the weather being too hot/cold/grey/gloomy/wet/dry/boring. As for the rest, I’ve actually heard/read people saying this sort of stuff just lately. 

Shut up! Shut up now!

Stop making summer bad for everyone.

I don’t understand why these grumpy sour-faced misers are given the opportunity to throw their negativity on the rest of us for the purpose of “news” or “entertainment.” When TV news channels or newspapers want to pep their ratings a little during a hot spell (usually when there’s nothing else to bang on about) they seem to think everyone else is interested in the “dark side” of summer.

Okay, heat does kill, and the young and old should take care, or be cared for, when there’s a prolonged hot spell, but we should embrace our weather not bitch about it!

The last couple of weeks, when not at work, I’ve been sat in the back garden. Shorts, drink, paddling pool to dip my feet in and laptop to write on. This has been the first time in many years that I’ve been able to sit outside in hot weather and not sweat myself a small ocean every hour. Losing weight rocks. It has been glorious. I’ve got a bit of a tan, enjoyed wonderful barbecue food, and watched Tilly splash in the pool while Ben snoozes in the shade.

summerlaptop1

For regular readers you’ll know about my issues with the Pain Demons living in my hips. Check out my Zombies Don’t Write! post for more about that annoying issue. They’ve been making it hell to sit and write for any length of time. However, physiotherapy is indeed helping so I’m overjoyed at being able to sit and write whilst soaking up the rays. I even made myself a little sun shade for my puter.

summerlaptop2

Circling back to the Kill Joy Squad.

People in the UK bitch for apparently no other reason than to fill the silence and feel important by passing on an extremely watered down (or grossly inaccurate and misunderstood) fact to make themselves feel important, or be part of what they think everyone should be talking about simply because THEY want to.

Winter bitchers…

No. You’ve missed the point. Winter is not an endless season to be endured. It’s a cold, wet, grey slap in the face so you’ll appreciate the other seasons more. Winter is…

  • Early morning frost, stunning fog and mist shrouding everything in sight that makes the world seem very small and quiet.
  • Waiting for the first snowflake and the possibility of building snowmen.
  • Watching your breath curl into the air.
  • Crunching snow and ice under your feet.
  • Huffing on windows and drawing smiley faces.
  • Enjoying the long nights, warm and cosy indoors.
  • Natures way of preparing the world around us for a new season of growth and splendour.

Autumn bitchers…

This is a golden season, nature’s time to show off everything in its arsenal of colour. Autumn is…

  • A gradual easing down of the temperature to prepare us for Winter.
  • A chance to enjoy the art of colour in every tree and hedgerow.
  • Looking forward to Bonfire Night, fireworks and hot dogs
  • Back to school with tales of summer adventures to share.
  • Bidding farewell to long lazy evenings in the garden, knowing you’ll see them again next year.
  • Looking forward to that winter holiday, be that fun in the sun far away or snow smothered hills.

Spring bitchers…

Not even close to being a none season. This one is about hope and what-ifs. Spring is…

  • A fresh start more meaningful than New Years Eve.
  • Looking ahead to creating a year of memories.
  • Planning where to go, what to see and who to share the year with.
  • A time to ease off on the layers of clothing and put away the winter hat.
  • The chance to feel revitalised and catch the first warm rays of sun.
  • Big bags of optimism, this will be the year when I…

Our seasons must be enjoyed.

The next time you open your mouth to bitch about the weather, think about the parts of the world where nothing much changes – deserts, rain forest and the poles for example. We should feel lucky to live in a country where our weather gives us such variety and where every day is far from dull.

I guess I’ll never truly understand why anyone should want to complain about the British weather. And yes, right now I’m in a happy mood because it’s warm and sunny. I like warm and sunny. But I also like cold and frosty because it’s the other extreme. It’s like only ever eating vanilla ice-cream without trying all the other wonderful flavours.

At work today I bitched about how hot my office was. Like a sauna. It reminded me of my Grandad’s greenhouse. The humidity brought back memories of compost, leafy smells and rich juicy tomatoes. So thank you hot weather for linking to that good memory.

The eczema on my fingers has gone insane due to the heat. My skin is cracked, sore and peeling. It reminded me that it’s only a tiny nuisance and compared to the suffering and pain plenty of other people around the world endure, it’s really nothing to bitch about.

And for some reason I’m a bit concerned over the fact that I haven’t dropped the kids off at the pool for 3 days when they usually like swimming once a day at least. Okay, that’s a weird one I know, just thought I’d mention it for funsies.

However, I’ll still have stuff to bitch about during every other season of the year but I’m not going to blame it on the weather.

Offices get hot/cold. Eczema comes and goes, hot or cold. Worrying about doing a poo…well, that’s probably the result of a recent diet of junk.

So when the weather changes…

Don’t bitch about it: “Aww man [insert bit of weather here] again? That sucks.”

Instead say: “Ooh it’s all [again, insert bit of weather here] outside. Nature sure loves mixing it up!”

And finally…

I think you’ve had enough of my bouncy/happy/smiley 😀 witticisms and musings for one day. So I’ll leave you with a quirky photo of Ben unknowingly wearing an unusual accessory. Made me smile anyway!

summerbenfeather

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12 thoughts on “Dear Summer…I love you!

  1. Your post made me smile. I love the seasons and I love all types of weather, but I still fall into the British habit of complaining about it. I think there are two reasons why we do it. Firstly, we have so much of it. It affects everything – the sport (only the British could have two sports where the actual outcome is affected by the weather – cricket and tennis), the roads, the ability to hose down our kids, planning days out, whether to put the heating on, the rare and random chance of having a barbecue – and it’s so unpredictable. It’s rather like living with a batty aunt who you love dearly but can make life a little bit chaotic. Secondly, as Brits we don’t tend to share our real opinions much. Politics, religion, even parenting styles, these are things we might tweet about but are unlikely to risk getting into a heated argument over. The weather is a neutral topic that will rarely result in an argument (except, of course, you seem to have a strong reaction to our whinging!). You wouldn’t stand in a queue and ask someone about their politics (or I wouldn’t) but it’s nice to connect with others. The weather is easy. Like saying, “Look at batty Aunt Polly, isn’t she a blast? What crazy thing is she doing now?”
    I bumped into a Londoner while I was out walking the other day, and we did end up talking politics. I was very quickly out of my depth (I’m not overly interested in politics) and in disagreement with him. I didn’t want to argue my point through lack of ammo and a desire not to end my pleasant walk with a row. “Isn’t it hot, I’m off for a swim,” was a safe way to end the discussion.
    That said, I haven’t come across the kind of complaining you have. Mostly it’s just “It’s too hot,” or “I’m sick of this rain”.

    • I’ll certainly have to remember how to use the weather as a good reason to escape from someone when the topic of conversation wanders into strange territory!

      What baffles me is why so many people don’t like or understand Aunt Polly. She’s entertaining and you never know what she’s going to do next. I’d rather have Aunt Polly than Uncle Grey who sits and stagnates in the corner, who wouldn’t know the word variety if it smacked him in the face.

      It’s weird how you point out that Brits won’t start a conversation about politics or any other similar subject. Maybe it’s because that sort of debate requires some degree of investment in the stranger who assumes it’s okay to start talking to you. The weather topic pops up, quick exchange of words, and you’re gone.

      Sadly when people bitch about the weather they always seem to agree with each other. I don’t find that fun or engaging. I’d rather some stranger suddenly say: “Hey man, what you reckon about [random political/religious/financial topic] and all that stuff?”

      Then my brain would be sitting up, ready to accept a different view point to mine. “No, that’s a load of BS, you got it all wrong.” Allowing for time constraints this could lead to two people having a lively and thought provoking debate or a quick exchange of words and two pissed off people.

      Either way it’s considerably more entertaining than:

      “Hot isn’t it?”

      “Yeah. Very.”

      End conversation.

      I think the next time someone prods me about the weather, I’ll remember this and hope the conversation goes:

      “It’s hot/cold/wet/damp/boring/cloudy/insane/fun/grey outside isn’t it?”

      “I’m off for a swim.”

      Doesn’t matter what the weather is I reckon that’ll be a good answer. Plus if there’s snow outside it’ll give the stranger something to muse over when I’m gone!

      • I have remembered one thing that does really wind me up when people whinge about weather: when they see you looking harrassed (dripping wet on a paper round, or sweating carrying the kids in a heatwave, so basically this has annoyed me from age 12 to now) and they say “hot/cold/wet enough for you?” With that stupid look on their face as if this weather is All. Your. Fault, even though you have never met them before in your entire life. Yes, that’s annoying.

        • Oh man, yep, I’ve heard that one plenty of times! The response I’d like to give:

          “No. I want it so hot my face melts off.”

          “No. I wish it was so wet I evolved instantly into a fish to cope with it.”

          Some people never engage brains before opening the hole in their face!

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  3. And here I thought discussing the weather was a Canadian thing. If Canadians stopped commenting on, complaining about, worrying over and remembering weather of years past, for sure 50% of our conversations would disappear. My favourite weather story is a quote by Voltaire, I want to say but that may be incorrect , who commented that it was so cold in Quebec City during the winter months that your words would freeze in the air as you spoke them. Then, when Spring arrived, you could hear the words hitting the dock as they melted.

  4. I’m not playing the weather game anymore. Like you, I think the Summer is awesome. If someone moans to me about the heat, I just open my arms wide and say “I love it”. If they say “ah, but it won’t last” I say, “how terribly English of you to say so”. I suppose they consider me a spoil sport, but it doesn’t half make for a better dog walk, to get rid of the grumblers fast, then I can get back to composing haiku in my head and enjoying the scenery around me. Cloud watching is one of my greatest entertainments, whatever these ever changing features of creation might bring. Who cares? We are so lucky to have variety in this country.

    • Yes indeed! Variety is a key ingredient to making this country awesome! And the weather is a huge part of keeping things ever changing and always interesting. That’s the way to go – open arms and a huge declaration of “I LOVE IT!!” Oh yes. Guaranteed to train wreck anyone’s intentions of moaning about the weather.

  5. Pingback: Does winter make people angry? | Dave Farmer

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