This is one post that I feel I have to get out there rather quickly. The reason of course is that it is highly weather-related and may even be redundant by the time you read this.
If you read one of my earlier posts, you might remember the barely-concealed pity that some of my UK-based friends exhibited when warning me about the perils of returning to the English climate.
But amidst all those gloomy warnings, there was one comment that stuck in my mind.
Andy, a friend from the Midlands, commented how on those rare days of summer, there was nowhere in the world he would rather be than England.
Well, I’ve now had the remarkable good fortune to enjoy eight consecutive ‘rare days’. The weather has been glorious in Lewes over the last week with scarcely a cloud in sight and long, long days to enjoy the sunshine.
The nation’s ‘beaches’ are packed, businessmen are rather alarmingly stripping down to their undies at lunchtime to catch a few rays and ice cream vendors are laughing all the way to their credit-squeezed bank.
Eager to take advantage of this mini-heatwave, especially with it apparently being something of a collector’s item, I have been spending plenty of time outside over the last few days and have noticed several subtle differences in comparison to the many summery days I experienced in Sydney.
Firstly, early summer mornings in Engand have a unique feel that is part haze, part crispness, part fragrance and part anticipation of the day ahead.
The summer’s day modestly emerges, in typical English fashion, to announce its presence in a quiet unassuming manner
By contrast, your average Australian summer’s day announces its arrival in a far more abrupt and showy fashion, almost like the switching on of a light bulb… “I’m here and boy am I hot today”.
These sunny English days have certainly been warm (into the mid to late 20’s), but they have also been accompanied by a gentle summer breeze (cue gratuitous 70’s song link) to offer some natural air conditioning.
I am also more inclined to expose my skin to the sunshine now in the hope of getting ‘a bit of colour’ (and, maybe even a spot of Vitamin D while I’m at it), but without the concerns I faced in Sydney where that colour would most likely be either lobster pink or scarlet.
As the afternoons drift by, there is a reassuring certainty that this sunshine is likely to meander on well into the evening and we are unlikely to witness any of Sydney’s trademark ‘southerly changes’ causing the temperature to drop 15 degrees in the time it takes to close the back door as the day reaches a dark, thundery and wet conclusion.
And while I’m on the topic of the evenings, how nice it is to be outside, squeezing the last rays out of the day well past 9pm in an obliging local pub beer garden.
Of course, I know it’s not all roses and I will pay bitterly for these long evenings come midwinter when I am peering out into the gathering gloom just after lunch.
But for now, I’m just lapping up all that sunshine ahead of the change that is inevitably being forecast ahead of the big Queen’s Jubilee weekend as the headline writers dust off their ‘long to rain over us’ puns.
And I’m also thinking that my mate Andy got it pretty right when he proclaimed that there is nothing quite like an English summer’s day.