There is a horrible stress that comes with the brief british summer and it works like this. The hot weather arrives and you instantly start wondering how long it will last? An hour? Ten minutes? Ten days. From the moment the sun starts shining I start dithering. Should I still go to work? (Obviously not), should I mow the lawn? (I'd rather not), should I lie hidden in the thick grass that is my lawn and read a book? Can I plan a barbecue (in Wales, we toss a sheep on the barbie - none of that shrimp nonsense. They struggle a bit at first but it's all worth it in the end, once you've got over the burnt wool smell that is).
Of course if you plan a barbecue you fall into the British Summer Sun Trap. The one where it lulls you into a false sense of security with the promise of a dry day only to drench you the second you get outside in your floaty summer dress and gossamer like sandals. Ok, so I look less like a flower fairy at these moments and more like Aunt Sally, but you get the general idea.
Like a novice, I have made just this very error. Planned a barbecue for Saturday in the optimistic hope that we might manage an entire week without rain only to be told by the radio that Saturday is to be renamed 'Noah day' as floods, thunder, lightning bolts and any other atmospheric disturbance they can think of will all arrive as I go outside to light the few puny charcoal briquettes that I had stored for this very event.
Now being Welsh I won't let this deter me. Last time I arranged for a barbecue for 20 odd (and I mean odd) friends it not only rained but there was a howling gale. Having struggled to put up an improbably named Garden Marquee I weighed it down with a few handy bits of welsh hillside and insisted everyone stand inside under a drip or two and look as if they were enjoying themselves. I set the umbrella on fire whilst trying to protect myself from the rain at the same time as cooking over the barbecue and was mobbed by desperate guests trying to dry themselves in the flames of my smouldering shelter. All good fun even if I did nearly lose an eye in the scrummage.
However, despite Darwin's threats of imminent extinction if I fail to evolve I have learnt nothing from this and shall embark on another sodden outdoor meal this Saturday. I refuse to have the last remaining hours of our British summer ruined by the stress of wondering when it will all end. Instead I shall just accept that it will end, most likely at the moment that we sit down to eat....................
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