Don’t get me started on British Summer Time

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Don’t get me started on British Summer Time
To rip off one of the most revered Englishwomen from history: it is a truth universally acknowledged that in the months leading up to that elusive concept, the British summer time, men and women across this green and pleasant land will be planning, plotting and predicting their outdoor activities, under the expected smiling sun. Whether that be family picnics in Hyde Park, adventurous rambles in emerald green woodlands or barbecues and laughter in back gardens, the air is thick with a sense of expectancy and promise and hope and desire and anticipation and yearning...because we’re all idiots.

Idiots who never, ever, ever learn. How many times have we had to rain check that barbecue (alright, alright, I can hear your groan and see the rolling of your eyes at my somewhat predictable pun. But given that this is a rant about British summer time, did you really think I’d miss the opportunity to include some meteorological linguistic references?)?

And another thing: why do we always hang on to what “they” say about the weather, as desperately as people clinging onto the poles of the back of an open bus whilst it’s hurtling through pot-holed streets and zigzagging in an attempt to avoid the blindly crossing pedestrians. I appreciate this particular image might feel like a load of hyperbole, designed only to poke fun at the English and our unshakeable belief in our fairytale summer. But believe me, I’ve been to India and the comparison stands. However, I digress. Back to “they”. First question, who are “they”? Second question, why do “they” always seem to churn out the same smiling lies every year: “It’s going to be the hottest summer on record!”; “We’re definitely having an Indian summer this time!” And the most ludicrous of them all: “They say we might even have a hosepipe ban!” And we believe them, like gormless lemmings. Despite looking out the window, whilst being trapped inside our houses, as the rain torrents down, the clouds clap in mockery and the grey skies grimace, we will invariably turn to our nearest and dearest and assert with 100% certainty that “they” might still be right and it will indeed be the hottest summer on record.

Ok, cynicism aside, let’s suspend all disbelief and imagine for one moment that this ridiculous prophecy had the power to really come true. Let’s say that on one odd, random Sunday, the sun actually decides to grace us with its presence. Would we embrace the summer? Would we put all our ideals into practice? Would we indulge ourselves in chocolate chip ice cream, strawberry-flavoured lollipops, mango ice lollies and frozen pineapple drinks? Of course not! Perhaps for a fleeting moment we might, but then comes the inevitable myriad of complaints: My ice cream’s melted! It’s too hot! It’s too sticky! I can’t breathe! I’m going to faint!

No wonder the clouds decide to unleash their fury on us the very next day; they tried being generous and giving us the hot day that we’d been longing for all year, and what did we do in return? We just grumbled, nitpicked and whined, so they decided we’re not worth it and started playing clapping games with each other again. Can you blame them?

And their anger (caused by this quintessentially British trait) spills over and ruins another quintessentially British activity: Wimbledon. Tournament of the stars, the most prestigious, priceless prize for any tennis player. And the prize that the adoring fans take home is the ‘I queued in the rain at Wimbledon in 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880……..2011’ sticker. Great. You’d have thought that somewhere along this extensive timeline, someone would have had the insight to suggest that soggy England might not have been the best bet?

So, to summarise, we spend nine months out of the twelve months in a year complaining about the frostiness of Britain and waiting for summer ,and with it the sun, to come out. Then we proceed to spend twelve out of sixteen of those weeks peeking through the curtains, watching the slow, silent, stifling rain and begging the sun to show its face. Hey presto! The sun comes out and it really is sunny, so we spend about an hour enjoying said sun but then move onto moaning and groaning about how sticky and hot it is. And by the time we figure out what weather we really want in Britain, the whole world will have been destroyed by freakish weather, beginning with 90° sunshine, followed by giant balls of hail, succeeded with a desert storm (don’t ponder too deeply on that one. Perhaps it was a very windy day in Africa…) and culminating in a tornado. And then will we be happy? No, because we’ll all be dead! Although they’ll be much to talk of weather to keep us happy in the afterlife/heaven (delete as applicable).

I know it may appear as though I have spent the whole time mocking us all for our moaning. But there is something undeniably charming about our pluckiness; we never let a bit of water ruin our hope for summer. A tiny part of our psyche wants to cease grumbling but the more vociferous loves a good groan. So what are you gonna do? I suggest, grab a brolly and hit the beach, England!





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