Sitting here looking out at the rain I still hold autumn as the season I enjoy most and anticipate its misty, scented days with enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean I wish the warmer weather away but it was only a short time ago, when someone asked me if I’d had a ‘good summer’, that it occurred to me the salad days were over. We were still basking in above-average temperatures then but further south in Europe last week I watched the year’s first snow appear on mountain tops and here, in southern Sweden, we had our first frost.
The summer of 2013 was, indeed, a good one but the manner in which we’ll remember it intrigues me; do we remember the sunny days and balmy evenings that the ‘best summer for seven years’ brought us or do we recall the events and occasions that collectively make a summer memorable? I can remember only one day this year when rain stopped play, but not that it was the best summer for ages; I recall the absence of yearning to get away and feel the sun on my face and also that the months between April and September were filled with being outside, enjoying long lunches in the garden and spending time in the countryside. So, yes, it was a good summer.
Because it was so pleasant and because we weren’t victims of sudden climatic depressions my travel was limited to what has become a pretty routine commute between Sweden and England. As sunny day followed sunny day from about May onward there was no desire to search abroad for a cool drink in dappled shade when it could be found at home. It seems, however, that many people felt the same way. Despite having made early plans to escape England’s normally disappointing weather holidaymakers began cancelling paid-for trips to warmer climes as an unusually high number of ‘medical’ emergencies occurred. The temperature soared; with it the annual pilgrimage to the beaches and Irish pubs of the Mediterranean diminished and insurance firms found they were dealing with an increasing level of ‘hot weather’ fraud.
Well, I guess you could blame the heat. People do funny things when they get hot but did the grave words from the superfluity of experts on You and Yours and The World at One contribute to all those claims? In order to avoid the dire consequences of the hot spell we were advised to listen to level three heat wave alerts on the radio, stay inside and – here’s the key – avoid unnecessary travel. We were also advised to draw the curtains and shade the room but I’m thinking that part went unheeded as most of the Nation was either lying on their backs in the garden or standing outside the pub with a pint.
I admit to having had one or two at the Axe and Compasses in Arkesden myself [both outside and inside] but as far as remembering the summer is concerned, it was certainly more about memorable occasions and less about a statistically high level of sunshine. And for the record, some aspects of these together with a few random thoughts, are set out in the following posts.