Summer daze

hay bales

A couple of months ago, I wrote about my anticipation at the start of summer, fingers firmly crossed that it didn’t turn out to be a fizzer.

I needn’t have worried, because despite the best efforts of Ex-Hurricane Bertha to spoil things over the last few days, this summer really has been a glorious one.

Week after week of warmth, with July 2014 even being hailed as one of the top 10 sunniest and warmest Julys since records began (1910, if you’re interested).

My kids are looking tanned and healthy, while my lawn is looking parched and unhealthy – I dare say a hosepipe ban may be just around the corner.

And as we bask in this weather, nonchalantly implying to strangers that our summers are always like this, I have witnessed a whole stream of social media posts from old Australian friends making a pilgrimage to the Old Dart and sharing pictures of their trips.

These pictures, capturing everything from city to country and from coast to coast, do a pretty good job on behalf of the English Tourist Board, showcasing the beauty of England in the summertime.

During my time down under, I remember being beguiled by those sights, especially when huddled under a blanket on a cold Sydney winter’s evening, watching the Ashes being beamed in from a sun-drenched Trent Bridge or Lords. I wanted to be there.

I’ve heard several people remark recently that this summer reminds them of the summers they remember from their childhood.

Now, I’m not sure if that is a reflection of an over-heated sense of nostalgia or more a case of recent summers having been a bit, let’s say underwhelming, but I kind of know what they mean.

This year, more than ever before, I have had my senses assaulted by a number of experiences with a direct lineage back to my own childhood summer memories:

Golden coloured hay bales lying in the fields, awaiting collection by the farmer (or to be climbed on by the local kids).

The unmistakeable sound of ‘Greensleeves’ coming down our street as an ice cream van serenades its defenceless audience.

The hissing sound of the sprinkler, moving from side to side in the back garden, drowned out by the excited shrieks of children running through its spray to cool down.

The long balmy summer evenings of daylight when going to bed early seems a complete waste.

The local summer fetes and fairs when the whole community comes out to eat, drink, watch and take part in the activities on offer.

The sizzle of the backyard barbecue, dusted off after a winter spent quietly rusting under its plastic cover.

The long summer walks in the countryside, the pub lunches, the sight of cricket being played on a village green, the lush green vegetation everywhere…the list continues.

I’ve written before about the changing of the seasons and how each one has its own unique character and that to me is one of the big pluses of being back home.

Soon Autumn will be on the way, bringing its glorious tapestry of colours, but for now, I’m hoping Bertha bids us a rapid farewell and we can get back to enjoying a few more weeks of this beautiful summer.

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