What on earth has happened to the great British Summer? I’ve just got back from a day trip to France and we decided to go on the ferry. It’s June I thought. The weather should be lovely and it will be a nice relaxing start to a busy day of shopping. How wrong could I be? Wind at 45mph, lashing rain, huge waves and feeling ever so slightly green.
It’s not just this week. When I look back over the last the last few summers, the pattern is definitely changing; so much more rain and chilly days. I have the heating on as I am writing this. I’m sure it wasn’t like this back in the day. Now I know that everything was bigger and better when we were children. The summer holidays seemed to last forever and it never rained! Wagon Wheels were as big as your face and a Gob Stopper would last you all afternoon. As soon as we could swim a width of our local open air swimming pool, we were allowed to go on our own and would spend whole days in the sun for sixpence. Whatever happened to all of these pools? There were three or four to choose from just in our local area.
I remember the summer of 1976 particularly well. The whole country suffered a drought. For some reason it was particularly bad in Wales. Even as I write this I’m wondering how it could have been that bad in Wales –one of the wettest place in the UK - but I can assure you it was.
I was about seventeen and in August we went to a holiday camp near Carmarthen with another family, all sharing one chalet to save money. Four adults, four teenagers and two children!!! The whole country had a hosepipe ban and the press urged us to save water, but there were even more restrictions in Wales. There was no water in the taps! Once a day our bath would be filled and that was it. Water for washing, cooking, even flushing the loo had to be taken from that ration and when it was gone, it was gone. Needless to say, washing wasn’t the top priority. Thank heavens there was a swimming pool on site but I can picture it being very slimy with unwashed bodies. Yuk.
Despite this inconvenience it remains one of my most memorable holidays. There was a feeling of freedom which I hadn’t really experienced before. We even hitchhiked from the camp to Carmarthen; something I would never have dreamed of doing at home (sshh, don’t tell my mum!)
Were all the summers like this? In my memory there were lots more sunny days. Last year I barely got my summer clothes out of mothballs and this year is shaping up the same. When you are still wearing your boots in June something is most definitely wrong.