Summer’s Here

I don’t want to tempt fate or anything…

But this summer has actually been pretty good. After two washouts in the last couple of years, this summer has actually been pretty cool. Or not cool. It’s been warm. And, in parts, sunny. Very sunny indeed.

Meanwhile, back Up North, where I no longer live for most of the year, it has been cooler, darker and wetter. Generally, in other words, shit. Not a day goes by where I don’t compare the five day forecasts for where I live now, and where I used to live.

Weather is important for us English, but for me it’s even more so. I’m one of life’s weather OCD freaks. It has to be just right, or I get tetchy. Winter is a total write-off for me. It’s too dark. Too cold, obviously. But definitely too dark. Autumn is also a disaster, because of the long, slow decline. It’s too depressing.

For six months of the year, as long as the weather treats me right, I’m happy. The days get lighter. They get warmer too. At least they’re supposed to. It fills me with the joys of Spring. I guess that’s where the phrase comes from. I like knowing that each day that passes is making the conditions better, brighter, sunnier. It’s so… uplifting.

So when the summers turn out to be grey, wet disaster areas, I get pretty pissed off. That seemed to happen more often than not the last few years. It made the winter so much harder to bear if I knew there wasn’t really any nicer conditions to offset the badness.

It seems ridiculous, but the 200 miles from here to Up North just seems to make all the difference. Generally speaking, it’s warmer here. It’s also sunnier here. And it definitely rains less. I also observed this when I lived in London for a year. It is a major bonus of not living Up North, one I’m grateful for every day.

As long as it’s warm and sunny. Or at least warm, with a bit of sun. Definitely no rain allowed.

Whether I’m making full use of it is less certain. I feel like I have to squeeze all the optimism out of the sun while I can still see it. I need it to keep me going. It’s like a store of energy to see me through the winter.

But still, like I said, can’t complain right now. Here’s to a, sort of, summer. And let’s hope I haven’t tempted fate…

Summer Revisited

At this time of year, with the dawning of Autumn, I generally take a look back at what happened over the summer, and whether it was a worthwhile event.

From the perspective of the weather, I feel very confident in saying it was the worst summer I can ever remember. Rain, rain, god-damn rain, day after day. I just knew it. Those late spring days in May, scorching hot sunshine, while I toiled over a mountain of revision – that was the real summer. It turns out I was spot on in my prediction that:

I’m sure by June it will be raining every day again.

That’s exactly what happened. I would say that of the 13 weeks of summer, no more than two of them can be classed as good summer weather, i.e. sunny, warm and reasonably consistent (i.e. one good day follows another). What we actually had was a hell of a lot of rain in June, July and early August, interspersed with a randomly chucked in nice day, but one which always had the looming threat of showers. And then when it didn’t rain, it was muggy and overcast, meaning the second you tried to do anything physical like play sport, the sweat would start pouring off you.

Just isn’t good enough. I thought last summer was bad: a worse than average June, a very poor July and a mediocre August… but this one really did smash those low expectations.

The worst of all was that last night I stepped outside to go on a little trip to the shops, and it felt cold. Now, 8°C isn’t cold, I’ll admit it. But after months of temperatures above 15C, and very rarely below that at night due to the cloud cover, it suddenly dawned on me that it felt like winter was just around the corner.

And all of a sudden thoughts begin to turn to Christmas. Mark my words, it will soon be here.

The thing is, my miserable summer weather-wise was actually surpassed by everything else. This has been my worst summer since I can remember. I have done nothing all summer but look and apply for jobs. I have done nothing but dither, and in the end have ended up back at square one. I extricated myself from the teacher training plan, but have yet to come up with a viable alternative.

I am so stupid, because I should have decided this earlier. I have no regrets right now, even though in an alternative universe right now I am starting my placement in school and starting down the road to teaching. But it’s amazing just how quickly I’ve dropped everything. I used to read the education news almost relentlessly. Now I barely visit the websites. I still find it all interesting, but it seems that I was only interested because I had to be. With hindsight, that is a very bad sign.

But if I had made the decision to quit earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of hassle, and I could have put my summer to better use. Number one would have been to do the US summer camp thing all over again. I would have enjoyed that so much more (I still reminisce about how good it was), and it would have been a great opportunity, since I’ll never be able to do it again (unless I’m still jobless next summer!). But instead it was frittered away.

I. Did. Nothing. All Summer.

How embarrassing is that. Talk about throwing your life away.