I’m writing this blog in my head as I walk through Regents park, on a cold and wet summer’s evening. My feet are cold – I’m wearing my sandals, the only pair of shoes I’ve been wearing for the last three months in Europe. I went out without a rain coat…not even thinking….my glasses are covered in rain drops and I’m having my second shower for the day…a cold one this time. Maybe I should’ve waited…but I saw a break in the clouds, my youngest son had gone to bed early, the park gates were still open and I was taking my “me” time no matter what the weather. I just wasn’t prepared for it..after all, it is summer isn’t it?
Well, it should be, but I happened to check Londons weather and compared it with Melbournes weather and yes both were the same. 17degree, partly cloudy with showers. One city going into summer, the other coming into winter.
On my long, now short walk, I curled my fingers into my jumper, pushed my glasses over my head (I couldn’t see out of them anyway), and figured that while my Melbourne counterparts were experiencing the same weather, I was still enjoying long hours of sunlight (5am – 10pm), admiring the greenest, lushest velvet grass…and best of all, I could still go and defrost afterwards in a big bath of hot water…I knew that my husband would love the opportunity to be out here running in the rain…yet, me….well I’m just pretty Melbournian. There’s no reason to go out in bad weather when you can be curled up inside, instead and because in an hour/ this evening/tomorrow, the sun will shine again.
Londoners take the opposite attitude, if they waited for better weather, well they may never be out again.. Locals go out whether its rain, hail, or snow ( who else invented a show about muddy puddles!). I like this…all it takes is some good warm weather gear, and some blankets provided by the local cafe for some alfresco dining. If your going out with kids, dress in t-shirts but bring jumpers, raincoats, umbrella…basically prepare for all weather…! Of course, it’s all about perspective, ask a Russian from Siberia or Moscow what they think of the London summer and they would probably tell you how warm and mild it is.
So this year, the London summer is taking it’s sweet time to arrive. Last year, we arrived in April to 2 degrees as London was experiencing a long cold winter snap and a delayed spring. However, almost overnight summer snapped into place by June and suddenly it was reaching high 20s, even 30 degrees. A heatwave was upon us. Hard to to describe it as a heatwave when compared to the 40 degree+ + summer experienced in Melbourne only a few months before. But a heatwave in London is different. I laughed too, when I heard the term used but soon I too was feeling it….a humid oppressive city heat, trapped amongst the buildings, and with little relief in a small apartments not designed for airflow or with any type of cooling device….where exactly is the fan/evaporative cooler switch because I could not find one…
However, London city planners are bright, cool and fun people. They must be because even if it only reaches 30 deg for some of the two months of the year that is summer, they have loaded the city with lots of fun water play areas for kids and families. Places such as the Princess Diana memorial water fountain (a round fountain with water spurts, fast water gushes, steep bits, flowing bits etc..), free water play area lidos (Hampstead Heath), south bank spurting jets and so on and so on. Now why didn’t Melbourne think of that….a cool idea for a real summer heatwave….!!
So, my evening walk through Regents park could’ve been very different if the summer sun had arrived and wasn’t too busy hiding behind the thick heavy clouds….I would’ve been walking through the leafy park, watching squirrels and passing many a local relaxing on the grass stripped off to their boxers and bikinis lying in a strategically placed position, avoiding the shady areas, enjoying a picnic, a glass of Pimms, ….as anyone would do…an ode to summer in London!
So maybe by the time we leave London in a month we may get to glimpse a little bit of summer sun amongst the rainy, grey overcast days. If not, as I fly over London with a birds eye view I will wistfully admire the greenest of green patches stretching for miles and be secretly thankful I’m not living it!!