ARE THERE ADVANTAGES TO A SOGGY SUMMER?

SUMMER THAT NEVER ARRIVED!

So here were are – into August and still not a sight, not a smell of summer.  We have been deluged every month and have only had the odd day here and there when we experienced blue sky, sunshine and heat, all at the same time!

Yes it has been depressing.  Yes it has made me realise that we really do reside on a damp, island in the North Atlantic when, in our hearts, many of us Irish are Mediterranean by nature.  Personally I think the Spanish Armada may have a lot to answer for.  We are temperamentally far more suited to the long languid balmy days of our Southern European cousins but instead we seem to be marooned on the wrong latitude complete with our wooden decks (a huge health and safety hazard when wet) and garden furniture.  We are possibly the only country in the world where Indian Sandstone patios are washed of all colour within 12 months of their being laid in our gardens. (If you ever think of laying an Indian Sandstone patio please don’t waste your money.  It will look like concrete within a year).

Oh yes, it has been a washout of a summer and I think finally the realisation is dawning on many of us that it’s over!  There will be no summer.  Kids will be going back to school in three weeks.  A sunny September would be nice BUT NO BLOODY USE (sorry I know I am shouting).

So have there been any advantages of our soggy summer?  I have been wracking my brain on this one for the last few days as I battle a slide into depression as the realisation dawns that summer didn’t.  Here is what I have come up with so far…..

I have saved a fortune on what I normally spend in Garden Centres.  Over the years once neighbours gardens burst forth in glorious splashes of summer colour in wonderfully tended borders I get madly jealous.  Off I go and spenD money on stuff I know nothing about.  I plant things in the wrong place and they either die or go mad so that the following years I do it all over again and never have the garden I imagine in my head.  This year it’s been a case of “garden, what garden?”

On the same theme I have developed a love of natural wildflowers otherwise known as weeds.  As the rain on the windows blurs my vision the yellow splashes of dandelion down the garden can look quite pretty.  Equally I am not so afraid of huge, fat, ugly slugs anymore… they are everywhere.

We have done less entertaining.  We are hardly ‘Party Kind and Queen’ in this house but there is something about long warm summer days and evenings that makes you want to get the neighbours around for chilled proscecco… hang on, this is meant to be advantages… Scrap that!  I love those evenings, even if it means I have to cut the grass and do the edges.

Although that does bring me nicely onto cutting the grass.  There have been lots of Sundays – and this is one of them – that I meant to cut the grass only to be rained off.  So instead I took to the sofa with a book… or wrote a blog post!!

Those cheap rain-jackets we normally trail around with us during the summer months we now know without a doubt are not waterproof.  So we will be well prepared for winter this year.

Skies – there have been some amazing skies.. with sinister gun metal grey clouds banked up against each other.  In turn this leads to weird light.

So what else?

As I ran out of inspiration as to the positives of THIS LOUSY SUMMER I asked the Twitter Machine for some suggestions.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love Twitter?  With thanks to everyone – here are just a few of the suggestions I received.

@mrshmc said “no hanging out washing” which may be a plus for some but me… well I love nothing more than seeing a line full of washing blowing in the breeze, drying in the sun.

@landsleaving offered “no need to get in shape for the beach”.  Indeed… although those that know me know that is not an issue for me!  But I accept it as a valid advantage!

@miriamahern said she looks forward to autumn “as it is a more normal season”.  Yes I can’t wait for autumn now.. since we have been on the brink of it for months now!!  @snastablasta echoes this sentiment by her tweet “good preparation for winter”.  Too right.

@ornagh doesn’t mind working bank holidays this summer and @JSmediabox appreciates her summer holiday more than ever this year.

So there you are.  I did my best.  I have plumbed the depths of Twitter and my own psyche to come up with some good things about our rainy summer.  It’s been difficult.  In all seriousness the lack of sunlight can have a very depressing effect.  But really there is nothing much we can do.. we are at the mercy of the vagaries of Mother Nature who this year definitely seems to be menopausal.  And remember bad weather can only improve – next summer will be better – if only because it really can’t get any worse!

In conclusion the best I can offer is to grab a book, light the fire, read a book, enjoy comfort food and settle in – it’s almost autumn!

It is a beautiful, bright and very breezy day here in Dublin. Washing flying around on the line and daffodils bravely trying to keep their heads on, as they get buffeted by the wind. Kitty thinks a bit too windy for the garden and so has found a cosy place from which she can look out without risking getting chilled!!!
My garden is crying out for some Spring time attention. This year, one of my resolutions was to begin a very modest vegetable patch. Time is ‘marching’ on and I still have not ventured out to really get my hands dirty. If the temperature would rise just a bit I might find it a bit easier!

Gardening is one of those things, that I find really hard to get started but once I do, I relish the experience and get a huge amount of satisfaction from my efforts. Gardening is also good for the soul, as it is very grounding and re-establishes our connection with this beautiful planet. Grounding comes from being totally in the moment. When weeding and planting, our attention is on the task in hand and is generally not wandering into plans for next week or worry about events that happened yesterday or last week. Connected to Mother Earth and being totally in the moment is what gardening is all about!

Baking can have the same effect.. so maybe until the cold wind blows away with itself, I will grab the mixing bowl and make an apple sponge, which I can enjoy with a cuppa later!

I will work off the effects of such indulgence in the garden next week!