Roll on the Summer
THE IRISH Summer of 2018 will go down in lore as one of the great Summers. The sort of Summer that James Joyce might have imagined for Ulysses' Leopold Bloom. But rather than one perfect day, we had weeks upon weeks of perfect days.
I'm talking about the sort of days that stood up to international scrutiny. The kind that delighted our visiting American third cousins and bewildered our annual influx of Spanish students, as they tucked their rain jackets back into the bottom of their suitcases. Day after day of sun, our green fields turning brown and brittle without rain.
We did mad, hedonistic things, like eating outside. Every day! Gardens and balconies, normally reserved for growing a few plants and bracing the cold just so we could boast of the odd barbeque, suddenly came into their own. The umbrella in the middle of my tiny patio table, stayed put for months. I'd sit there, basking in 20 degrees Celsius, and declare on a daily basis that it was like Being in The Mediterranean.
The farmers had a dreadful time of it, of course. The poor animals needed grass and water. And then there was the whole food growing bit. Which was difficult with water shortages. Believe me, I'm not making little of that.
But bear with me here. For the rest of us, it was amazing! A full, long, proper Summer. We'd booked to go away for a week to Spain. I've never resented all the stress around airports and flying as much as I did, when I'd have been happy to enjoy the sun on the Costa del Dublin.
Being Irish, we still managed to discuss the weather ALL SUMMER. In fact, it was all anybody talked about. Opinion in the street was firmly divided between those who thought it was too hot..."Ah, I've had enough of it now, we need a bit of rain to cool us all down," and the rest of us who figured we were well overdue a fabulous time of it, thanks very much.
And we did all sorts of un-Irish-y stuff. After about three weeks of The Good Weather, you couldn't get a garden patio set for love nor money. Hardware shops and DIY stores were sold out. The term 'outdoor living' started to creep into our vocabulary. Garden pride and the inevitable garden envy became a thing on Facebook and Instagram. We completely lost the run of ourselves.
It even trended on Twitter. The idea of decent Summer weather trending on Twitter anywhere, might seem unlikely. But it was a thing. And we were bloody well going to make the most of it while we could. So, in typical Irish fashion, the jokes began.
It started reasonably enough, with a tweet that ran something like 'I've got two washes on the line, lads. #IrishSummer #Summer 2018'. I should explain here, for anyone who doesn't know: Irish people are obsessed with GETTING CLOTHES DRY. Which is entirely understandable in a country where it rains a lot.
But Twitter was having its moment. Another person tweeted that they had all the bedsheets out on the line. Tomorrow, they'd be washing all the big towels. The sheer indulgence of it! And then one wit added that sheets and towels were nothing. They'd taken up their fitted carpets, washed them and hung them all outside to dry.
And suddenly, thanks to the great weather, there was nothing left to wash! The guilt I felt as I looked at an empty washing line ON A BEAUTIFUL SUNNY DAY, was nearly too much for me!
I got over it just as quickly. Just as I got over the mess of the house and the fact that I'd already moved half my furniture outside. Because wasn't I living there anyway?
We've got through this Winter, and lads, it wasn't too shabby. We're nearly in May. For weeks now, we've been trying to predict the Summer ahead. We got a taste of the good life at Easter. Four glorious days, when the temperatures soared and we hastily found a few warm-weather essentials and bared our goose-bumpy skin to the sun.
A neighbour told me we're due another Good Summer. "It comes in threes," he said. "Three good years and then three not-so-good ones." I didn't like to point out that there's never been a pattern. He was on a roll. "Once you have a good Easter, that's a sign of good weather for the Summer."
It's all about as scientific as placing a small, plastic statue of Our Lady of Prague outdoors, the night before you need good weather for a wedding. But hopes are riding high. I've already bought the sunscreen. Here's to our Irish Summer.
April felt like the fastest month on record! I hope, wherever you are, it was a good one.
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