Let the sunshine of summer go on

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FOR THE first time in weeks the sun is finally shining. The rain has been relentless in its never ending flurry of downpours. Even on the days when the sun dares to have a go at shining you can predict there will be a serious shower by lunchtime.

It would be great if summer meant lots of lovely long hot balmy days spent lazily sipping a cool glass of Pimms while mellowing out with a favourite easy read.

Sadly this is the English summer which only appears in dreams – or romantic films. But the worst thing about the unpredictability of the weather is the not knowing what to wear and it is driving me crazy! The other morning I looked out of the window and discovered it was wall to wall sunshine so I pulled my best summer frock from the back of the wardrobe and walked coatless to work.

Within hours I quickly regretted this decision as the weather suddenly turned into a torrential rainstorm strong enough to give any monsoon a run for its money. I then had to gingerly pick my way back home avoiding all the puddles destined to ruin my satin summer shoes should I have made a wrong move. And I have completely given up battling with my hair as every day the rain makes it into a frizzy mess.

But despite this not so glorious summer it has not stopped the children from enjoying themselves. It can be literally bucketing down and my eldest daughter will still be sauntering around outside in the world’s shortest shorts and tiny vest top which would not have looked out of place in the Caribbean. She seems completely oblivious to the weather and somehow through it all is still managing to cultivate a light tan.

She is without doubt on her summer holidays. Tights, long trousers and woollen dresses are firmly banished to the back of the wardrobe and instead replaced with a myriad of brightly coloured garments which barely pass for clothing.

I remember when I was her age I would spend weeks and weeks in shorts and T-shirts, whatever the weather. It was summer and I was in summer outfits chosen for me by my mother.

There was a clear distinction between summer and winter wear and you would not start wearing thick tights until the first flakes of snow were falling from the sky. Gloves were only wheeled out just before Christmas. And stout boots were worn right up until the end of the Easter holidays to be replaced with leather sandals the moment you returned to school in the summer term. You only ever owned the two pairs of shoes, and maybe a pair of trainers – but they were only used for PE.

But now when I look round the office I see people wearing thick knitted cardigans which would be warm enough to give protection at the North Pole. Boots and tights are still being worn on a daily basis and I have even seen one colleague still wearing gloves, such is the unpredictability of our country’s weather.

None of this deters my children though. They seem to live for the moment and when there is a rare day of sunshine they stream out of the back door, dust down the “summer” toys and spend many a happy hour just playing in the garden. This is despite the place being littered with builders’ machinery as we are having the house remodelled. They just set up their little camp in between the cement mixer and wheelbarrow and carry on as if this is nothing out of the ordinary.

I am really hoping the weather will be good this weekend as I have promised to take them to the Sheffield Jubilee Fayre in Norfolk Heritage Park. The annual fayre is always a highlight of our summer holiday. From the old-fashioned fairground rides – like the horse carousel to the different trade stands and the historical re-enactments it is always a charming affair. The Sheffield City Council-backed fayre runs on August 26 and 27 with the highlight this year being the visit of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay. Visit: www.welcometosheffield.co.uk