It’s a headline my fellow countrymen back in the UK could only dream of a few weeks ago.
After what seemed like 22 months of unending cold winter weather, Britain is finally emerging from its annual deep freeze. With a brutally determined cold snap lasting until late April and records tumbling as the country shivered its way through one frigid month after the other, the Brits can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
For winter is over.
And the weather isn’t the only tell-tale sign. There is one other sign those dark days are behind the British.
People are coming out of hibernation.
Facebook is buzzing with activity, status updates glowing with stories of sunburn, unbearably hot weather, and impending heatwaves.
The talk is of an end to those desperate days of January, February, March and April, and the arrival of better times – long weekends away, Spanish holidays, hosepipe bans, summer festivals, fruit picking in farmer’s fields, and the triumphant return of the British BBQ, charcoal briquettes n’ all.
A visit back to the motherland suddenly looks much more appealing. There’ll be alcohol-fuelled beer garden stop offs, lazy afternoons spent paddling in local rivers, and an Australian summer tan topped up and finished off by the persistently hot summer sun.
If we head back to the UK while this stretch of high temps continue, we’ll take advantage of off-peak airfares, a strong Aussie currency, cheap car hire, rent ourselves a quaint cottage by the beach, drive down to the coast, and seek out some Vitamin D in these unusually warm days.
The long awaited British summer is here and the people are waking from their slumber. Life is good.
|Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons (Peter J Dean)|
I hear hearing nothing for months from loved ones and close friends, wondering where they’ve gone to and why they’ve hidden. It’s as if a deep freeze sets upon the British Isles like the coming of the second Ice Age and only now, with the onset of a late thaw, are people surfacing from their burrows to breathe in the fresh spring air.
I’m suddenly contacted by folks I’d long ago assumed were missing or worse.
And the cycle repeats every year.
As winter hits in early November, emails drop off, online contact disappears, and all attempts at positivity seem to be abandoned. Then the sun arrives and the country erupts in a much improved frame of mind.
The weather is such an important part of life in the UK and the mood shifts and turns with the weather’s own movements.
The return from the summer holiday, the autumnal depression, the growing quiet and negative mood as winter approaches, long absences from the electronic airwaves, then a glimmer of hope, a flower, a green tree bud, an early outburst of colour, followed by a sunny day, temperatures in the 20s, unexpected heat, obligatory sunburn and obvious relief.
Then the dismay returns.
Because the weather does what it always does best in Britain. It never stays the same. It changes and it often disappoints.
I take it for granted in Australia because the weather often delivers – consistent, generally according to plan, with not many surprises. And because of this, I forget about it, don’t talk about it – it simply doesn’t crop up in daily conversation the way I remember it did in England.
If things were different here, I’m certain I’d be more vocal.
As I watch my countrymen and women share their joy at the recent run of good weather, I remember back to how important something as simple as the sun is – the warmth, the feeling on your face, the positive impact around you, and the flicker of hope that maybe, just maybe, this year will be different and the summer will persist and endure.
According to the Telegraph this week, after one of the dullest winters for decades “sun-deprived Britons must worry whether they are D-deficient. Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” being crucial to good health”.
When that sunshine fails to last and when the weather changes for the worse, I too worry for my fellow Britons because it won’t be long again before, in the words of Game of Thrones’ Ned Stark, winter is coming. Again.
Have you recently come out of hibernation where you are? How important is good weather to you? Is it the be-all and end-all?