Rethinking British Summertime
At this time of the year my neighbour’s kid might still be expected to be shovelling snow. Yesterday he was asleep on his outdoor pool table, soaking up the rays.
The Christmas poinsettias are still on the windowsill. Until three weeks ago there were still Christmas lights on the lampposts nearby. And for the last week, I’ve been writing on my terrace in shorts, getting a sunburned back. The days are suddenly long and hot. The crystal sky has revealed Venus and the moon in eclipse. At this time of the year we’re nearer the sun than in so-called summer, and this, make no mistake, is summer, baking and dry with drought restrictions in place. There are bees about, but no flowers for them to feast on.
But then, what we’ve traditionally thought of as summer isn’t, not anymore. August is usually cold, wet and miserable, and yet it’s the time when most open-air events take place. So this year I’ve decided I won’t be sitting in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre soaked and freezing while ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ drags on in icy drizzle. Nor attend concerts in parks, sinking into slime as my knees turn blue and the stage is lost under a haze of sleet. March is the new August, which makes June autumn and winter – er, help.