So here we are in June, the time when the sun shines and we all dash in to the garden for sunbathing and barbecues. Except....it’s raining.
I hate rain. It stops me cutting the grass, it brings out the slugs which eat my plants, it spoils my carefully styled new haircut – which, of course, just looks like the old haircut – and it makes my journeys to BBC Berkshire miserable as I try to avoid the nut jobs driving too fast and skidding all over the road.
So, last week some friends called and said that no matter what the weather was bringing to the party, last night was going to be barbecue night. I was really pleased to see the sun shining, put on my Ray Bans and T shirt, and we headed off to a friend’s back garden.
It started well but soon became cold, then cloudy, and then it rained, and it rained, and..... the thunder drowned out the music, the rain kept topping up the wine glasses so that no one ever finished, and the cold meant I mistakenly chewed a frozen finger on my hand instead of a sausage in a roll. But you know what? It was great.
If we lived in Los Angeles, or the Algarve, Rio or Cannes, then this would seem like a disaster but to us Brits it’s just something we call summer. I’m not sure if the word to describe us is “stoic” or “stupid” but it works for me.
Brits seem to expect less, don’t we? We get up in the morning and choose from either full fat milk, semi skimmed or chalky coloured water that they call skimmed, but Americans get around fifty varieties including Whole, Low Fat, No Fat, something called Acidophilis which reminds me of a rash I caught kissing someone when I was thirteen, Lacteeze, Soy, Rice, and my favourite which is something called Half And Half. They also choose from around three hundred and fifity different cereals. No wonder they don’t have time to deport Justin Bieber.
I think we take our pleasures here where we can find them, and we don’t ask for too much. The fun I have had over the past week from the simple things like throwing slugs and snails from my garden in to my neighbour’s, beats any expensive hobby. Telling my wife she had her skirt stuck in her knickers after visiting the toilet at our local pizza place amused me too. And pretending to make a call on a train just so I could drown out the idiot across from me who had been speaking for over an hour to his girlfriend on his mobile ‘phone really had me in stitches. Almost literally. I faked a call home telling my wife I couldn’t hear her as some idiot in the carriage had been talking on his ‘phone for ages and I thought I might be going deaf. He finished his call, came over menacingly, leaned over me and said, very politely, “Sorry”. What a nice chap.
So, as the saying goes, if life gives you lemons, make lemon meringue pie with cream and custard, and maybe some melted chocolate sauce on the side. Have a barbecue, wear your flippers and swimsuit or carry a brolly, get out there in the hailstones and have some fun. Make the most of it.
And if any slugs come flying over the fence and end up in your burger bun, I apologise in advance.