Slideshow - Retro: Soak up the atmosphere

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Rainy days and Bank Holidays always get me down, as the Carpenters song might have gone if the saccharine siblings of 1970s pop had been British.

Because, come the Friday before Bank Holiday weekends, we’re all busily enjoying a spell of gloom and despondency, wondering if the Great British Weather will let us down yet again.

Sheffield Festival Spectacular - 5th September 1987''Rain

Sheffield Festival Spectacular - 5th September 1987''Rain

It’s almost as if we will feel a bit disappointed if the national tabloid papers are actually able to declare Phew! What a scorcher! following a glorious holiday weekend.

And it’s as if having a barbecue with some mates in the back garden without sheltering under the gazebo as it wilts under gallons of rain or actually sitting sunbathing on the beach in Scarborough or Blackpool were cheating, somehow.

The cliché about us Brits is that we are obsessed by the weather. It’s true, of course.

But then, we do have a lot of it.

Imagine living somewhere that sun is actually pretty much guaranteed all year round. How boring.

And the worse it is, the happier some of us are.

How many times have you silently ground your teeth at a bus stop or in a shop queue, listening with growing bewilderment as someone declared: “Ooh, I like it warm but it’s too hot now for me”.

This daftness is invariably accompanied by said moaner wafting their hand in a feeble attempt to create a breeze.


Sorry to get hot under the collar, as it were, but beautiful summers like the one we’ve been enjoying this year are too few and far between not to enjoy them.

I for one don’t have memories of endless long, hot summers in my childhood in the 1960s and 70s, either.

Looking back, it seems like quite a lot of the school holidays were spent indoors reading a book or watching those short films they used to put on TV so that the man from Granada or Rediffusion could make sure that the colour on your telly worked properly.

Colour telly, how amazing was that? Wow, where was Evoluon anyway?

However, I digress.

As the pictures on these pages show, the poor souls who put on summer events, full of optimism at the prospect of a field full of families having a great time, were all too often disappointed.

Never mind, we’re Brits, so most of us just grab an umbrella and get out there anyway.

You could always use it as a parasol, I guess.