We haven’t had the best summer so far, something I remember saying last year too. As a child I can remember my 6 weeks holidays mainly being warm, we always holidayed in this country and I have photographic evidence of me on the beach in a swimming costume. But in the recent years, the summer weather has been a bit pants, not exactly a meteorological term, but fitting I think.
And even though July and August have become quite rainy months, the price of holidays, weddings, etc during this time have not been reduced to make up for it. But we are learning to adapt to the rain, rain and constant rain. Having said that, it is a sunny day today and as I sit and write this blog, I also have one ear tuned to the radio for a weather update and I am remembering to keep an eye on the cloud coverage, as I have decided to chance the washing on the line.
I can remember how unprepared for rain I was at my first festival. We all travelled down to the V festival in Chelmsford, me and hubby were in the early stages of dating so practical hadn’t been on the agenda when I chose my outfit that morning. I opted for unpractical boots with short skirt and trendy top. I hadn’t bargained for the fact that it had rained the night before so everywhere was a mud pit, the chemical toilets were less than sanitary under foot and unless you had a picnic chair strapped to your back, the only seating available was a well trodden muddy field. I came to the conclusion my boots and outfit wouldn’t be the same again and embraced the mud and rubbish, it was only when it started raining mid afternoon that I realised that I hadn’t brought a raincoat but a denim jacket as it was a lot more fetching. Thankfully future hubby gave me his waterproof in a gentlemanly gesture and fashioned himself another with a plastic bin liner.
After we got too soaked to care anymore, helped along with a lot of warm beer, the first day of the festival drew to a close so we headed back to the car to get some sleep. We figured that the car would be more comfortable and warmer than a tent at that point. Luckily, hubby in Scout mode had brought an inflatable mattress, so we pushed the seats down in his battered up BMW and laid the mattress on top. I removed my boots, wrung my socks out and we crashed out in a beer induced coma. A few hours later we awoke to find ourselves sat forward where the mattress had leaked air through the night and slowly had delivered us into a seating position! With my outfit wrecked from the day before, we nipped back to our homes, showered, ate and changed into more suitable clothing to go back for the second day of even muddier surroundings for bands and beer.
My Dad turned 65 at the weekend and has also retired from work, which meant a double celebration was in order. With an 80% chance of rain we decided to have a BBQ anyway as that is what we do with summer celebrations. We prepared ourselves by erecting a gazebo, for rain coverage not sun. I dressed the children in their party outfits and packed their rain coats and wellies, then we layered up to brave the garden setting on a fairly cold cloudy June day.
We all love a summer BBQ as it is a good way of getting everyone together to eat, drink and be merry. But there are aspects of the event that always make me chuckle. Any other dinner time, if I was to serve hubby up a paper plate with a heavily grilled sausage in a dry bun, he may think I had lost the plot but if we are out in the garden and the said sausage has been heavily grilled on a BBQ that is a different matter. However, BBQ food has evolved and on Saturday we went to a lot of preparation with side dishes of salad and rice and a Jamaican family friend arrived with curried goat so there was lots of variety. With a few vegetarians in the family, we have to run two BBQ’s in order to not transfer ‘meat juices’, so whoever is chef needs to have a good supply of utensils and know where to use them.
We made a vat of Pimms, bizarrely the only drink where it is completely normal to have a cucumber stick and strawberries in, which seemed an acceptable tipple for daytime consumption. The kids loved the fact I wasn’t pushing vegetables and my daughter could get away with consuming processed burger cheese in large supply. The BBQ was a great day, the drink was flowing and even when a ‘fine rain’ arrived we all put on a jumper and huddled under the gazebo until it passed over. Unlike the Iceland adverts where their summer is permanent, I think perhaps the rain at a BBQ is what brings us together after all.