I could do with a cave right about now. Some where cool and dark, not too humid, not too dry. Somewhere I can hide from the oppressive and malign rays of the Day Star. A place where I can pass the worst of high summer in something approaching comfort. By now you will all be well aware that I talk a lot about the weather and that I cannot abide the heat. But it reached a new level the other week as I sweated through my shirt and my trousers until I was unpleasantly damp in all the wrong places. I yearn for winds both sharp and cold; for air crisp and clear; for the ability to wear one of my many nice coats or many good jumpers. On the upside we’ve had some cracking thunderstorms. Which is nice. Now on to the fiction.
Tag Archives: Summer
There was a time when I hated summer. Summer meant be forced outside to participate in “sports.” Things which I neither understood or enjoyed. In my mind the two things began inseparable from one another. So I came to loathe summer. The heavy, stifling heat became and the bright, lustre of the day-star became harbingers for prolonged periods of not-fun. But things change. When the last spell of good weather visited us I found myself looking out of an open window and a clear, bright world that seemed so very inviting. Thoughts came into my mind. Thoughts like: “I really feel like going for a bit of a cycle today” and “walking six miles seems like an entirely sane and rational thing to do right now.” Perhaps it is because living alone and a general absence of commitments mean that for the first time in my life, I am truly my own master. Free to do what I want to do and be what I want to be. Perhaps my blind stumblings through life are finally beginning to bear fruit. If so it is a fruit I intend to savour. A fruit with crisp skin that yields easily to teeth; a fruit with sharp, yet sweet flesh and juice that runs freely. Perhaps this fruit is an apple. And we all love Them Apples.
British summer. In most situations those two words paired together form one of the most ridiculous oxymorons of the western world. The isles of Britannia don’t do summer. They do prolonged periods of seasonal disappointment interspersed at rare and fleeting intervals with what can only be described as a acts of meteorological cock-teasing. A summer in Britain is about rain, moaning about the rain and clomping through fields in big green wellies. By traditional standards it is not about temperatures that make the deserts of North Africa look positively chill by comparison. Last Monday, as the heat wave crested into its second week temperatures hit 33.5°C. Sun has come to Britain. The first heat wave since 2006. The hottest I remember it being in perhaps a decade. A summer that could even give the Summer of ’76 a run for its money.
I am melting…
This is a pre-recorded transmission. Held in trust by the central data authorities of the great internet super-highway. If you are reading this, then I am not here. I am elsewhere. I am other. Beyond. On holiday. Possibly even outside, beneath the unremitting solar assault of the dreaded day-star. Or the unremitting aqueous assault of the British skies. The weather has resolutely refused to make up its mind and pick a side in this eternal war of the heavens.
I can scare believe that another month has drawn to a close. But it has, with all of the grim inevitability I have come to expect from time. It does herald the coming of short stories though. Which is nice I suppose.
May has finished its set. Greeted by half felt applause and empty cheers it shuffles off the stage. The audience is restless, hungry and ever so slightly damp. No one was here to see the support act. May was just a sad prelude to what is yet to come. Everyone is here for the headline acts. The gathered multitudes begin to ripple and sway. Feet are stamped in a harsh and demanding staccato beat. It’s primal, they want something and they want it bad. They’ve been waiting for a long time, through disappointment, through the rain and the frost that just wouldn’t go away. They bay in a language with no words but which is understandable to all. The sad acoustic set of May is forgotten as June takes centre stage. The amps have been dialled up to 11 and the bass is strong enough to shatter bone. Things are about to get hot. Electrically hot.
Tortured metaphors aside, summer is here even if its entourage of appropriate weather hasn’t quite made it yet. It’s June and we have another Pictonaut Challenge to occupy ourselves with. This month we have The Tower on the Hill.
I have spent the last few weeks stewing in a soup of my own stress. A relentless assault of bills, complications, inconveniences, irritations and down right vexation. It has not been a good month in that respect. But there is always tomorrow and there is always music. My days have been balmed by the electro tones of the Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. This was partnered with the mind-bending New Age soundscapes of Mike Oldfield’s Songs of Distant Earth. They have kept me within the tenuous boundaries of sanity. It is quite fitting considering the theme of this month. For how else do you listen to music if not through a Music Box.
May. A month of dancing round poles and the subsequent phallic symbolism such an act invokes. A month of two sweet and solid bank holidays; the last before a drought that save for a brief respite in late August will last until the end of the year. Summer’s not quite here yet. I can sense it though, just around the corner, just waiting for a chance to start flaunting its heat. But with that heat there is the promise of cider, beer gardens and nights as clear and crisp as cut glass. And with the burgeoning swell of summer comes the desire to throw open all your windows and crank the stereo all the way to eleven and let music fill the air. And that leads us, by an unwieldy and overly circuitous route to May’s Pictonaut Challenge: Music Box.
So June has finally arrived. Despite the fact that I’ve been operating on British Summer Time since late March, June is, in my distorted world view at least, the first proper month of summer. I was all ready to launch it a vicious and scathing attack on summer. On how it’s hot, sticky and generally uncomfortable. A tirade about how as nice as a bit of sunshine is, excessive amounts cause me to wilt into and exhausted and non-functional jelly. The sort of hellish weather I had to live through over the last few days. But then, at the dawning of June, the hot weather disappeared. It was replaced with a chill and pervading overcast drizzle. This was much more to my liking, but somewhat put-paid to any plans for my original rant. It longer seemed quite so topical. Although I’ve never particularly enjoyed experiencing the heat of the oppressive British summers of recent years I have always enjoyed the aesthetics of the summer. Perhaps it’s one of those lingering relics of a childhood growing up in the rural north. Summer was a time when the grass always looked greener than it ever did at other times of the year, the sky was always bluer, every colour just seemed so much more vibrant, every hue a riot of almost neon proportions. The world always seemed so vivid. It was a world that through its existence prohibited melancholy and sadness. With these memories in mind I picked this picture for June’s Pictonaut Challenge: A Place in the Country.