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English Summer

Summer is not my favourite season. I realize that this is an unpopular opinion, but I have so many unpopular opinions that it really doesn't bother me. Summer in Edmonton was always quite lovely other than the few hot days when everyone was uncomfortable because no one has air-conditioning. Summer in the maritimes was unbearably humid, but we learned to cope- placing your pajamas in the freezer is not that strange, is it? Summer in Ottawa is the best because everyone has air-conditioning and you can escape the heat. And it is HOT, so you can swim outside all day. I dislike being too hot. I'm pale and more suited to an English summer, truth be told. I looked forward to a cooler summer here in the UK than I have ever experienced, and I was NOT disappointed. 

English summer. Rain when there should be sun. Temperatures consistent with Canadian autumn or spring most days. We were wearing jackets, trousers, and shoes with socks on many of our outings- much different from our Ottawa uniforms of shorts, T-shirts, and sandals. There were a few warm days. The hottest days were when the kiddies were still in school and sweating in their uniforms. We had the backyard paddling pool out for about 3 days this summer (compare that with every day last year). Every morning we would check the forecast and nearly every day was the same, a high temperature below 20 degrees Celsius, a low around 11, and a chance of rain. When writing out our summer bucket list, we did focus heavily on warm weather activities (out of habit I suppose), outdoor swimming, sleeping outside in a tent, going to the beach... we completed all these things, they just weren't always quite as expected. Or we were cold and we did it anyway. Mr. K only had 5 weeks of summer vacation (we are accustomed to 9 weeks in Canada), so that placed a sense of urgency on our summer activities and maybe created some extra disappointment with the weather? I do now understand now why so many Brits like to have a "sun holiday" as a break from the monotony. 

England doesn't really have seasons. Well, it has two delightful times, spring and autumn. They are beautiful and long and honestly, perfect. Summer and winter are confusing and just mushy versions of spring and autumn. It's disconcerting for me mentally to not have the dramatic seasons present. Summer and winter in Canada are quite pronounced! Ottawa has a temperature swing of nearly 80 degrees Celsius. I have experienced about a 30 degree range here in Southern England, and that is being generous. There are advantages to living in a more (cool) temperate climate, my favourite being that we can wear the same wardrobe all year! I still like rain, but I appreciate the sunny days more than I used to. They are a treat and lift the spirit. Give me a few more years and I might be booking a "sun holiday" and grumbling about the cold and wet with the best of them!  

We are back to routine on Tuesday. I do not look forward to busy mornings, but I do look forward to the feeling of renewal and focus that September brings. September through December is my favourite time of year. So many magical and cosy times are upon us! School, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Guy Fawkes Day, CHRISTMAS, pumpkin spice, mulled wine, evenings with the fire on, cosy jumpers, extra blankets, crispy leaves, colourful trees... it really doesn't get any better. However, summer was good to us. Our first English summer will always be one of my favourite memories. England is a beautiful country and we soaked it all up. 

We spent Canada day in Torquay, Devon. We lucked out with absolutely gorgeous weather. The trip was a bit of a gong-show overall, but it's all about the memories.  

 Visiting the animals at the wildlife park, wearing our traditional English summer attire. It rained off and on the entire day. Mr. L was able to confront the turkey that bit his finger on our last visit. 

 We had a fabulous time exploring Birmingham. My mother asked me if we were in Venice after seeing this photo. She overestimates our glamour level, but I love her for it.

 We visited the sheep at my favourite spot. There was a lot of (mostly successful) poop dodging this day.

 A chilly day at the Sandford Lido. Gorgeous pools, wild children, and a visit to the café. It was worth the shivers.

 Most importantly, I finally convinced Husband to have a day out at the beach. We did a lot of hiking as well and had a lovely picnic. It was sunny and a beautiful spot and I am dismayed to report that Husband still hates beaches. 

*Not pictured. The time we all had gastroenteritis for a few days. Family togetherness. Always. 

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