August 17, 2013 by talkaboutyork
Summer is, without question, my favourite season. Oh I know that Autumn brings blustery walks, blackberries and beautiful leaves; winter has crisp clear days with hoare frosts decorating bare branches; and spring blossoms offer a vibrancy and freshness that you see no other time of year. But all three of these seasons tend to require closed shoes and the carrying of many layers of clothing.
Summer means flip flops and cardigans (we’re never quite jumper free on these fair isles) and salads and BBQs and fetes and outdoor activities. For three short months, we pack in all those things that you simply can’t do any other time of the year. There’s Wimbledon and Ascot and the Henley Regatta and the Ashes and Cowes Week and proms in the park and festivals aplenty. There is so much to do!
But here is my confession. I’m always quite pleased when summer is over.
Because it is utterly exhausting.
Unlike sunny countries in which you can expect good weather day after day so just go about your life like a normal person, here we have so few properly sunny days that when we do have a freak sunny summer like this one, we feel compelled to get out there and enjoy it. Every. Single. Day. It borders on sacrilege to stay indoors when the sun is shining. One must be out.
So when days like today roll around (torrential rain), we’re suddenly reminded of those colder, grey days that have us huddling indoors, snuggling on the sofa watching a film, eating warming meals like a roast with veg (actual cooked veg – when last did you have those instead of salads you sun worshippers?) and bread and butter pudding with custard, instead of eton mess. You can luxuriate in the laziness of not being able to go out without a shred of guilt.
It’s not only that. The tail end of summer looks scruffy. The trees all look like kids that are overdue an appointment with a barber. They’re too bushy, untidy. The green leaves have lost their fresh vibrancy and just look like a forty year old’s face with wrinkles and lines starting to show. Some have already had enough and are curling, brown, falling. It’s as though all the world has reached the end of its summer wardrobe and just can’t be bothered to smarten up. It has let itself go.
Anyway, despite it being a wet, autumnal kind of day, it is still officially summer and it is almost 20C. Well 18C. Late teens let’s call it. So we have a BBQ to go to.
Which brings me onto a related subject. I don’t quite understand why British people actually plan BBQs. But they are a nation of planners. Dates for BBQs are put into diaries at the start of summer even though the chances of it raining are almost guaranteed. I would have thought that in a country where it will literally rain on your parade, BBQs should be spontaneous things. Like they are in my home country of SA. You open your freezer. You see you have 20kgs of boerewors and think, ‘Hey, let’s have a braai.’ You won’t even bother looking out the window to see what the weather is like. You call some friends. They say, ‘Lekker, we’ll be over.’ They’ll arrive with their 20kg of boerewors and the same weight in beer and everyone will have a fine time. They could easily plan three years hence and could probably still be guaranteed sunshine regardless of the season. But they don’t. It’s done spur of the moment. Yet here, in this most unpredictable of nations, we plan BBQs. Why??? Carpe Diem people.
I started this post saying that summer was my favourite month. It is. But right about now, I’m ready to say; ‘All Hail Autumn! Bringer of rain, leaves and cold.’ If nothing else, the extra layers will hide the summer weight gain from all those burgers ….