I know that we British love to have a good moan, but I do get despondent sometimes when people say that we haven't had a summer at all this year. Yes, the hailstones in July were bizarre, and the unpredictable rain and thunderstorms meant I was caught out without an umbrella on more than one occasion, but we have definitely had many, many hot sunny days in the last few months. There have been barbecues, picnics, outdoor music concerts, garden parties, swims in the open air and numerous meals on the balcony. I have walked to and from work almost every day this summer, and the Wimbledon roof only had to be used once. My shoulders are brown and my sister's nose has its annual smattering of freckles.
This weekend has not been a solid three days of blazing sunshine I had hoped (though today has been beautiful), but I feel it was a fitting fanfare to the final days of summer.
Friday night M and I went to the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park to see 'Hello Dolly'. The performance was delayed due to rain, but we sat in the bar area and sipped our wine, and eventually the skies cleared and we returned to our seats for a fantastic all-singing, all-dancing performance which we watched snuggled up under blankets as the sky got darker and lights came on in the trees.
The Saturday night Hen party / dinner was brilliant; delicious food, free flowing wine and excellent company all made even better by the fact that most of us were staying over and so didn't have to worry about getting home. It was slightly unconventional as there was a mix of boys and girls, but it was so much fun and everyone got on so well that the big mix of people only added to the atmosphere of the evening. The celebrations went on into the early hours of the morning unfortunately ending with one of the party falling off the garden trampoline and breaking his upper arm. Ouch. (Note to self: in future, 3am trampolining after copious amounts of wine is not a good idea, and should not be encouraged.)
Sunday was sleepy, dreamy, with the morning spent drinking many cups of tea and absentmindedly stroking our hosts' cats (too cold for the swimming pool) before getting on a train back to London where we spent the grey afternoon at the flat drinking more tea, eating fruit loaf and napping to try and counteract the effects of the just-three-hours sleep we'd had the night before.
I am afraid to say that we were so exhausted from the previous night's activities that there was far less dancing at Sunday night's party than I had anticipated, but it was still a lovely laid back affair. The garden looked beautiful, lit with burning torches, fairylights and the glowing coals from the barbecue, and it was nice to just sit on the rugs, swaddled in my two cardigans (there was a distinct chill to the air) and chat to friends and nibble on corn cobs. I did do a bit of dancing, because however tired there are some songs you just can't sit down to, but eventually the lure of bed became too overwhelming and we braved the night bus home.
I didn't get my swim this weekend, but I did get an outdoor party and some glorious sunshine this afternoon. Tomorrow is the 1st of September and, my two week holiday in the South of France aside, I do feel ready to embrace autumn*.
*(Although, Met Office, if you're reading, if we could have some nice weather on the 12th that would be just wonderful as it is A & T's wedding and I know they would really appreciate some sunshine. Many thanks.)