How do I know that summer is here? I’m wearing a big cardigan, looking out the window at the pouring rain and just about to switch on my electric blanket. How do I know I’m in England and experiencing an English summer? Because last weekend my neighbours and I did what we as good British citizens do best, we didn’t postpone our annual street party because of the weather, oh no, we carried on regardless.
We knew torrential winds and rain were forecast it was, after all, coming towards the end of July, so only to be expected. But we still hung up the bunting, moved all the cars and closed the road. We erected trestle tables that buckled under the weight of cakes and other items that could be loosely put into the category of home-baked goods. We bravely donned on our waterproofs and ceremoniously lit the communal BBQs.
My lovely neighbour refused to let the forecast stop her organising the annual tombola. She stoically stood guard over the table of prizes sipping on an endless supply of ready-mixed M&S piña coladas. If you were lucky enough to have a winning ticket you could take your pick of a wide selection of donated prizes, including a beef and tomato Pot Noodle, a box of mint Matchmakers or a Star Wars album.
It started to drizzle. Oh well, what's a bit of drizzle? Then came the wind. The first gust tore down the bunting but we stood defiant. When the second gust blew away a small child, we decided that it was probably time to call it a day. The baked goods were hurriedly taken inside, the tombola dismantled and the unclaimed prizes gifted over to the rival raffle. There was no need to put out the BBQs, the torrential rain kindly did that for us.
Within minutes the road went from 'quaint street party’ to ‘post apocalyptic party.’ Discarded toys and remnants of soggy bunting brought an eerie feel to the community celebrations. As we decamped to the comfort of a neighbours sofa, we sat looking out of the window at what could have been. We ploughed through enough cake to warrant each of us having an un-prescribed shot of insulin and then unanimously decided to do what the majority of self-respecting Brits do when they are bored and it's raining, we went to the pub.
Another reason that I know it's summer is because the wondrous reality TV genius that is Love Island has just finished. This programme has proven to be more a contentious subject amongst my friends than Brexit or the general election. Such vitriol has been thrown my way publicly on social media by the haters that I do believe, I have been trolled. I am not ashamed to admit that I have vicariously lived the first half of my summer through the lives of others. As much as I love hanging out on my local beach with friends having a BBQ, drinking warm beer and double dipping into a tub of humous, I would quite happily hotfoot it to a luxury villa in Majorca. I wouldn't give it a second thought if I was asked to flitter away seven weeks of my life lying around an infinity pool snogging hot boys and working on my tan. Application for the 2018 series submitted, but until I get the call, would you mind passing the humous....?