This time last year, I was sweltering through a summer in central London. And that, let me tell you, was no fun at all.
Air conditioning is not a thing in houses in the UK. We always say blithely that with our rotten weather, we don’t need it, and for 90% of the time we’d be right—except for those rare one or two days in the British summer when it isn’t actively raining. Days when it’s hot, muggy, and uncomfortable, instead. In London, all that heat hammers down on closely-built streets, sinks into the bricks and mortar, and reflects right back out at the poor souls who live there. A time when even the sparrows look dejected and weighed down by heat and grime.
Pro Tip: If ever you visit London in the summer and it’s very hot, do try and avoid the Underground (the “Tube”). There’s no air-conditioning down there, either.
All in all, high summer in London can be unendurable.
High summer in the British countryside however… now that’s a different story altogether.
Late in 2015, we upped stakes from London and made our escape to the country. These days we live not in a row of houses in London’s east end surrounded by thousands of others, but in an early Victorian former rectory on a barely-paved lane on the edge of a village, deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside.
Nowadays on a summer morning, I don’t wake up to look out of the window to stare at the row of houses across the street, but instead dawn over the hills and fields looks like this:
When my husband and I walk Molly, our cockerpoo, it isn’t through hot, dusty streets to the local park, where all you can do is walk the perimeter and wish you were somewhere else. Instead, turn left out of the drive and twenty yards later the lane I live on becomes a magical place, bounded by thick hedgerows and fields of winter wheat, with pheasants, hawks and herons in the fields. The entire lane just swoops with swallows at this time of year, wheeling through the air to show off their white undersides and dark-blue forked tails, while their cousins the house martins are nesting in the eaves of our house. The lane – and our garden, in fact – is the haunt of pipstrelle bats every evening. Thankfully, between swallows and bats, the local midge population is kept reasonably in check.
Here’s the lane in early summer.
And evenings here… well, let’s just say that even if you’re in a park in London, the sky above is confined, bounded on every side by tall old terraces or modern tower blocks. You can’t see very far and sunsets are usually rather disappointing. No vistas, you see. But sunsets in the country… well.
So no regrets. Living here makes the summer far more bearable. There’s far more to see, far more to do, and the Lord be thanked, I may never have to get onto a Tube train again in my life. And to celebrate, what better than a jug of Pimms? It’s the most summery drink of all time.
Mix 1 part PIMM’S* No.1
with 3 parts chilled lemonade;
add some mint, cucumber, orange segments
and chopped strawberries
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Enjoy summer, everyone!
I love sitting out o the patio in summer reading from my absolutely HUGE TBR pile. Also we usually take a few European coach holidays as well, Belgium is up next n a few weks1
I used to travel often to Brussels for work, to go to various EU meetings. Brussels is a tad boring, but Bruges is *lovely*.
Hope you have a good time!
I am *definitely* not a city girl–country mouse all the way for me! I love your pictures here, especially the country lanes. So enjoy hearing about your transition–I’m sure the BF will enjoy the recipe too!
Thank you for sharing those pictures with us and for the post. I’m a city person and have never been out in the country side.