Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Totally Tropical Taste

My Great Aunt Marjorie, a wise, and very Welsh woman, once observed that she really liked the seasons. Just as you get bored of one, the next one comes along, and it makes life interesting. She also believes in the Billy Connolly principle that there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong sort of clothes.

Did I say wise? Sorry. I meant to say that she's a wraig yn wyllt (a batty lady). No such thing as bad weather?! She lives in Wales for crying out loud! It starts raining as you roll off the Severn Bridge, and doesn't let up. How green is my valley? Pretty fricking green, given the rate of annual rainfall! No, no, no. G.A.M. and I do NOT have the same views on seasons!

Winter, to me, is like purgatory. One depressingly short, dark, gloomy, cold, wet, icy, day after another. From November to February each year my life revolves around glamorous combinations of chunky knit cardigans, fleecy lined slippers, thermal socks, scarves and chilblains. I hate it. It makes me extremely grumpy. I believe most seriously that hibernation would be a good option. Just imagine leaving work on 31st October, saying, "see you in March then folks!" then going home to dig up your nuts (!) and snuggle under the 13 tog for four months. Bliss. I really don't see many flaws with this plan.

The summer though? The summer, I love. Just knowing that it's summer makes me happier and feel more optimistic about life, the universe and everything.

I love having the windows thrown open around the house, and being able to hear the day outside. Being woken by the sound of weekend DIY and gardening, and children playing on the street is a great thing. And the other sounds of summer - the sound of the radio playing in the kitchen three doors along, and the occasional strain floating over the fence (currently, "a Whiter Shade of Pale,"), the chatter of birds singing, the gentle ssshhhhhhh of the wind in the willow tree in the school yard behind my house all make up for a beautifully warm sound. Not to mention the unmistakable, and extremely English sound of the ice-cream van tinkling it's way around neighbouring streets.

And doesn't the summer taste nice? Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, nom, nom, nom. Rose wine and Pimms. Ice lollies and the mysteriously named 99's. Asparagus and corn on the cob. I'm going for dinner this evening with friends. They are supplying the barbecue, and am supplying the pudding - an obscene bowl of Eton Mess which I keep dunking my finger (ok ... a spoon) in to make sure the mix is right.

Everything, in fact, is a sensory adventure. The dibble-inducing smell of next-door-but-one's lunchtime barbecue was almost too much. The sticky smell of sun lotion on warm skin, and the boiled sweets left in the car too long. Delicious! The feeling of lying between sheets that have been line dried is divine. The way the sun shines through leaves on a tree is a finer spectacle than any stained glass window.

So I'm writing this now sitting at the table at the end of my garden, listening to my neighbours music and chat, and the thud, thud of the kid next door kicking his ball against the wall. I'm gazing at the sky and wondering if I could get a dress made in that particular, almost pearlescent shade of blue, and I'm distracted by the arcing swoops of a lone swallow, loop-the-looping over the houses. In a second, before I get ready to go out, I'll water the garden, and the air will be filled for a while with the sweet smell of dry-damp earth.

And the best thing? Tomorrow I get to do it all again. I'm in heaven!


  1. Me too. We have had a lovely weekend so far and I've been thinking how glad I am we stayed at home, rather than rushing up north. Shine on!

  2. I'll second that, I feel so happy! :-)


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