I remember, when I was a kid, Spring was a time of crisp morning showers when bumblebees fought against the raindrops to do their randomly organised duty to nature, only for it to brighten up as I pattered home from school to play in the cool afternoon sun under a silver-lined cloudy sky. I remember the Summer that followed, with long hot days filled with water fights, uninterrupted Wimbledon, the raucous call of the often-spotted ice cream van, and the terror of trying to sit comfortably on a Hillman Avenger's vinyl seats wearing short shorts. Autumn brought with it the kicking of rustling leaves, a range of hues to make a Technicolour dreamcoat jealous, and stiff breezes that made kite flying a joy as we wrapped up to prepare for winter. And winter came, often unannounced, with Jack Frost drawing his eerie sketches on single panes of glass, alerted us to the impending days of sledging, snowball fights, candlelit evenings and endless Christmas card scenery.
Of course, none of that actually happened. They're just the bits I remember, because we remember the good bits. We talk about the good bits. Life with Britain's seasons is a lot like an Adam Sandler film: you remember the good bits, and sometimes it's full of good bits. But you can't remember how many good bits there were in a year, and you can't remember what year was particularly good. Apart from Happy Gilmore. Which is probably 1984 for me.
Now? Now we have a Spring where it rains a lot, and everything is damp. Summer comes, and we have two days of brilliant sunshine before it rains a lot, and everything is damp. Autumn is when we accept it rains a lot, and everything is damp. Then winter hits, and it rains a lot. Everything is damp, and occasionally frozen.
So stop moaning about how hot it is right now.
I've put off writing this blog because we are now a definite week into temperatures of 25+°C. I'm now officially sick of people complaining about how hot it is. This is the sort of weather my brain has filtered into my memory that weather should be like as August approaches. As I write this at 7 in the evening I can feel the sweat beading on my brow, despite the lovely can of chilled cider beside me, and the breeze from every window in the flat being open. This is how it is supposed to be!
Us British, we are never satisfied. When the summer is a miserable washout, we complain that it is. But when the following summer affords us the luxury of venturing out without waterproofs and an umbrella, it's "too hot".
Oh, and by the way, working Britain: there is nothing wrong with being "too hot". If you're too hot, then buy a desk fan. Drink lots of water. Take breaks to avoid dying if you work outdoors. Wear appropriate clothing if you know your indoor workplace is going to cause you issues. Don't pass out, because I bet 90% of us now don't get paid to be off sick. Or dead.
That said, a hot summer is dangerous. I know from experience that it can directly affect you not only physically but also mentally. Only last week I lost concentration and almost crashed due to the sun. A lass in a low-cut top was walking in my direction with far too much cleavage, and I didn't see some brake-lights until the last minute. Then a couple of days later I completely forgot what I was saying as a couple of women jogging in ridiculously short shorts passed by me.
Seriously, I think summer is probably the time men have more car accidents at low speed than any other time of the year. I'm surprised insurance companies haven't latched on to it. If they can say "Haha! You're under 25 so you are prone to being shit at the wheel!" then they can as easily say "Haha! You have a penis, and the weather's nice! We know you don't even notice road signs in town centres!" and they'd be right.
Women are no different, a lot of the time, I assure you.
So, here are my tips for surviving the hot days in Britain:
- Wear loose fitting clothes wherever possible. Wear no clothes, if it won't get you fired.
- Drink plenty of fluid. I recommend anything made by Westons or Shepherd Neame. Or water. Yeah. Water. (Turn the tap off after use, or I may actually kill you.)
- Worship Cthulhu.
- Don't leave your pets in hot cars. By "hot" I don't mean a Subaru Impreza WRX STi V4G 1nA with mag alloy wheels and 35 profile tyres, a full 12-point rollcage and surgical grade crank and pistons. I mean physically hot.
- If it's too hot outside, and too hot inside, you need a fan. A fan can easily be constructed out of a sheet of paper, corrugated. If this is too much bother, or not effective enough, you need a big fridge to get in. Go do that.
- If it's "ridiculously" hot, move to Arizona, or Kenya, or outback Australia. Get a job digging drainage trenches there, or building new infrastructure. Do it for about £1 an hour, or maybe at gunpoint. Do it because there's literally fuck-all else you can do to support your family. Yeah, do that. Don't just flick over to BBC News on your 900-channel Skybox to see when some other weather is coming along for you to complain about. Just go. Shit, if I had the money to kidnap you and drop you off in Somalia, I would do.
- Dampen your clothing to aid your body's natural ability to regulate its internal temperature.
- Remember that if the environmentalists are right, this may be the last year you experience this weather.
- Eat a raw habanero pepper when the weather "gets on top of you" to take your attention away from the heat of the day. Especially the next morning. When it will probably rain.
- Seek professional climate advice rather than reading misleading blogs.
- Remember that if the environmentalists are wrong, this may be the last year you experience this weather.
- Convert to conservative Islamic ideology to minimise road traffic accidents.
- Discover a way to make it rain only at night, and maintain a constant 19.45°C temperature in the daytime. This is the Office of National Statistics agreed ideal temperature of British citizens who remember The War.
- Take up tennis. Make your kids do the same. Sooner or later Andy Murray will have to retire, and we can't leave it all to Laura Robson. That's sexist. We need something to complain about come June, whatever the weather.
- Wear sunscreen. When the weather gets warm, you girls like the same thing as us boys do. So...
Thank you for reading. Now go and enjoy this brilliant summer. It's 1984, right?