Summertime blues

Do you remember when childhood summers were summer-like? When you played outside all day, your skin was sun-kissed brown and picnics happened every day. The definition of summer in the Cambridge dictionary is, ” The season of the year between spring and autumn, when the weather is the warmest.”

I think that something has been lost in translation this year. Words that can be used in conjunction with the word summer are: calm, clement, cloudless, fair, fine, glorious, mild, settled, sun-drenched, sun-kissed, sunny and temperate. All great words, just not words we are using at the moment.

Dutch summers, as are all northern European summers, unsettled and when they actually happen, a joy! The cows lazily chew the cud flicking off the flies with a well-aimed tail, swallows squeal as they freewheel in the blue sky, beaches fill with ordered lines of sunshades and festivals fill with wellington bootless music lovers. The long daylight hours are a constant amazement, as we sit in the garden at ten in the evening, and sometimes go to bed when it’s still light outside, feeling like young children once again.

Sadly this year we are feeling cheated. Yes, we had a couple of weeks of glorious weather in May but that surely can’t be the sum of our summer! TUI, the travel company, says bookings to sunnier climes are up 80% from this time last year as people search for the illusive golden orb. June was the wettest summer month on record in the UK, as anyone could see if they watched Wimbledon or Glastonbury Music Festival, and the Dutch provinces of Limburg and Noord Brabant are also sharing the record of wettest June ever, according to NOS. (Dutch broadcasting service). Climate change is affecting our lives and long term forecasts are not looking pretty, but the slugs and snails are happy in my garden.

So, what to do with this potentially gloomy summer? Forget the summer cocktails and start drinking glühwein early, buy a pair of "Wellies" and customize them with cheery stickers, barbeque over the log burner and bring a sack of sand into the living room, and sit on your sofa with a Seasonal Adjusted Disorder (SAD) blue lamp on and pretend you are sitting on a beach in Zeeland! The upside of this year’s summer? Your spending on sunscreen will be low this year!


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