I moved to England in the summer of 2013 and it was a great summer, everyone will tell you that: plenty of sunshine, warm weather, jugs of PIMM’S (the quintessential English summer drink: a dark reddish liqueur that tastes of spice and citrus fruit, usually mixed with lemonade and served with chopped cucumber, strawberry and mint) and days out on the boat. People still talk about it now, over 2 years later. English people do have an exceptional memory as far as remembering their sunny (sporadic) days.
Unfortunately, nobody was bold enough to tell me that England hadn’t experienced such a hot summer in over 7 years….you need to have balls to tell that to an Italian!!
The last 2 summers here (2014 and 2015) have proved that England doesn’t got proper seasons as such: we are now in December and we have 13 C. Last summer, I had the pleasure to experience 11 C in August. Usually in Italy in mid August my high heel shoes get stuck on the melting tarmac. Here my feet were vacuumed in a pair of wellies 😦
So when I am particularly down because I haven’t seen a ray of sun nor a glimpse of blue sky in weeks….then I go back with my mind to the 2013 summer. I was living in Kingston upon Thames, a great town right on the river (the name gives a good clue…), less than 30 min train from Central London.
I have never lived on a river before and since then I’ve missed it. There is always something going on on the river: noise, people, birds nesting, fighting (both birds and humans, actually)…there is life!
Even in autumn/winter the river is fascinating. And in summer British people do all they can to enjoy it. Every riverside is packed with people enjoying the glorious weather and having a few pints or jugs of refreshing PIMM’S. And there you spot the brave Brits. The pale-white blondish inhabitants of this island that haven’t caught a ray of real sun in ages (Magaluf doesn’t count). They do not wear sun cream. They just lay there on the grass or on the steps near the water edge (or worse, on a boat), no T-shirt on, doing their best to get that lovely lobster red within a few hours. When I see the amount of Brits literally BURNT by the sun I always wander whether skin cancer here is not an issue.
So if you are about to follow my next day out suggestion, please, please, please: bathe yourself in plenty of high factor sun cream, this is England after all 😉
If you live in a big city or if you are visiting England and have a couple of days on your side, in my opinion renting a boat and explore the river is one of the best day out you can possibly have on a great English summer day. Check the beautiful riverside mansions and gardens, stop in one of the riverside pubs for a drink (and a visit to the toilet!) and enjoy the views and the busy river life. Ditton and Hart Cruisers (based in Thames Ditton or Surbiton) offer boat hire with prices that range from around 100£ up to 300£ per day (some of them hold up to 12 persons) so there is a bit for everyone and if you share the boat with a group of friends it comes out pretty reasonable.
Get yourself enough food and drinks for the journey and start exploring!
Here is a selection of some pictures taken during our day-cruises.
It is truly a world apart and it’s a breath of fresh air in your lungs, good for the soul and the spirit!