The Boom of Summertime


We had a spate of good weather in Edinburgh, late May into early June. It’s gone now, for the time being, but its return is keenly anticipated – like waiting for a bus to round the corner whilst standing freezing at the bus stop.

This will be my eighth Summer in Edinburgh. To say the weather is temperamental implies that there are good days and bad days which is incorrect. There are bad days and worse days. I will say, though, that when the sun shines – nevermind when it shines three days in a row which is utterly unheard of – there is no lovelier place. And, like prisoners on day release, you can be sure the people here make the most of it.

After one of the coldest Springs on record (less of a cold Spring, more of a never ending Winter) Summer arrived in an instant. Blink and you’ll miss it, they say.

And all around us, the boom of summertime

This Ben Howard lyric is so befitting of Summer’s sudden arrival.

The trees went from barren to luscious… Boom.

The sky went from gloomy grey to brilliant blue… Boom

The gardens went from being empty and quiet to lively and vibrant, full of colours and people, music and laughter…Boom.

But just like a great big firework which fills the sky first with dazzling drops, with a crack and fizzle it departs, leaving a trail of smoke behind before the sound has even registered… Boom.

People here aren’t used to summer, as evidenced by the peculiar wardrobe choices. I saw many summer dresses paired with black tights and boots (no), ensembles thrown together as if to say “these are the only three items of clothing I own that aren’t made of wool”, and of course flesh – too much of it. Ranging in colour from milk bottle blue – to streaky terracotta fake tan that far more resembles filth than a sun kissed glow – to red raw from overexposure. It’s a bizarre contraditction that the shelves of every shop are devoid of sunscreen and yet no one seems to be wearing it.

I did more than my fair share of baking and basking, breathing it in at a cellular level. The term ‘soaking up the sun’ is no joke. Senses become heightened as if awakened from a wintry slumber: the scent of cut grass and burning charcoal smells pungent and provocative, the hiss and pop of a beer can opening sounds crisp and acute, the heat transferred from his arm touching yours as you lie side by side in the grass feels palpable and absolute.

Isolated days of sun have a tendency to turn me selfish – unable to give in to the enjoyment and choosing instead to bitterly point out how rare these occurrences are, how cheated we are I am living here. But after a few days you start to forget that it’s ever not like this. You start to forget what cold feels like.

I guess that’s the beautiful thing about seasons – they don’t last.


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