Sunday, 9 September 2012

Howe do you do... wet summers!

Dig out your mittens!

Of course it’s sunny! Of course it is, no sooner have our children’s noses crossed the threshold to the school playground and the sun pulls his straw boater down over one eye and folds his hands behind his head. I feel like screaming at him: ‘Do you know what you’ve done!’

On the very first day of the summer holidays I bought both of my charges a new pair of wellies. Firstly because the rain had form and no crappy weather was going to stop us having a good time. But secretly in the back of my mind, I hoped that this one personal exchange might have the Gods see fit to turn our fates into a long, hot, al fresco summer.

It didn’t work.

Something else that doesn’t work is looking at the weather forecast. For some time now, I’ve had the sinking feeling that Mystic Meg might be running The Met Office. And yet they do it so seriously - as if it’s true! They might as well be sticking farm animals onto their clever little maps because Pigs Might Fly!

This summer, there has been one fool-proof method of weather forecasting. In the morning, whatever the weather is doing, it is guaranteed to have done a one-eighty by lunch time. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT leave the house with just what you are wearing.

With this in mind, the longest days of the year were spent with an entangled embrace of extra clothing in every footwell of the car. You literally couldn’t go out without performing a risk assessment for spaghetti-strap shiver-chills, city-short flash-showers, or bejumpered arid droughts. Ultimately we had nothing in our wardrobes but spiders and swinging coat hangers.  We spent many a morning skulking round the hatchback in our underwear.

Furthermore health and safety warnings should have been newsworthy because driving in wet flip flops is just an accident waiting to happen.

Like no other time in my memory have the atmospheric conditions been so erratic, changeable, with no clear direction or goal. I feel quite sensitive to the weather; loving the vibrancy and guppy smiles of a balmy day or hunched while trying to shrug off a grey outlook. So it was a touch unnerving, I’ll admit; a bit like the world’s economy and so many other things that have endured its effects, it felt uncertain.  As with all impressive breakdowns, it made me ponder on whether it’d culminate into a hot and angry outburst or a melancholy cold front. I didn’t reckon on an angry deluge and what came to pass was a friend’s white wedding of blasted buttonholes, ravaged up do’s and The Boy’s chinos muddied up to his knees.

But you know, it hasn’t been all bad. What we’ve spent on cinema trips and countless visits to soft play areas, must have been off-set by not having to buy a bottle of sun tan lotion every week. And the hours of not applying it to wriggling limbs have been used wisely with more creative, indoor role-play in which I’ve been the starring role as: troll, baby, alien and finally witch... or was that just me?

And at least we’ve got our wellies! Bring on autumn, I say. There are so many great things to look forward to in autumn: hollowing out pumpkins; cooing over fireworks; Christmas tantalisingly close. It’s candlelight, crackling fires, decor of every convention, comforting colours; rich berry, burnt ochre, tarnished gold...

You’re never disappointed by the weather in autumn, there are no expectations, it’s always been drab, that’s why there are so many lovely festivals to distract us. We dress accordingly, doing our utmost to stay warm. Yes we can rely on autumn, a straightforward season, a true port in the storm (or just a storm). 

It may be 24 degrees outside but I for one am going right now, to hunt down a recipe for Gourd Stew and dig out the gloves and yards of elastic, this time climate, I’ll be ready!