E+E column: A very British summer

I’ve been feeling rather sentimental this week about our British sensibilities in regards to our incredibly changeable weather. Other countries might mock us for our ‘stiff upper lip’ but I think our resilience and ability to always look on the bright side of a gloomy cloud are not to be scoffed at. Take last weekend for example. Our Church was throwing a 60th anniversary celebration complete with face painting, BBQ and bouncy castle. Of course, this meant that shortly after the formal service finished, the heavens opened and torrential rain descended. Not deterred though, we still had a BBQ under the canopy of leaky gazebo’s and when all tables indoors were full, a hardy bunch of us carried our overflowing plates of delicious fare to the slightly damp tables outside and ate to the accompaniment of the rain hammering on the canvas roof above our heads. The kids were similarly not dissuaded from the allure of a bouncy castle and took to it with great gusto, despite the water pooling in corners.

The sun started to peek through towards the end (typically!) and Dan and I decided to swing by the river in Thorverton for a quick spot of wild swimming at a popular local spot. We trudged through the fields to the ‘beach’ and as everyone else got changed under the trees (I had the baby asleep in sling so sadly had to sit out), dark clouds once more filled the sky and another downpour commenced. I watched through the weeping willow branches as Dan and the kids, undeterred, tiptoed gingerly into the river and then embracing the situation went in for a quick but invigorating dip before drying off and squelching back through the wet fields to the car to head home and warm up with promised hot chocolates.

I concluded that both of these events were probably, if anything, enhanced by the weather. No one is going to forget the comedic timing of torrential downpour on the day of a planned BBQ after a week of gorgeous sunshine and I’m certain the children will forever remember Dan letting them take turns to cling to his back like limpets as he swam them round one of nature’s swimming pools in the rain. Boxing Day 2014 will certainly never be forgotten by ourselves as the day when we decided to brave a bracing walk on Dartmoor to shake off the Christmas gluttony despite sub-zero temperatures and driving rain. Thank goodness for Fox Tor Café for a warming lunch and cup of tea afterwards!

So rather than be miserable by the fact that the heat wave has quickly been replaced by gloomy grey skies and outbursts of rain, I’m going to live up to our national stereotype and say, come wind or rain, we’re going to stick to our plans and enjoy this summer. Although having said that, another heat wave wouldn’t go amiss of course…


A most memorable Boxing Day!

A most memorable Boxing Day!

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