I hated this summer -- OK?
Those days of sodas, and pretzels and beer …
- Nat ‘King’ Cole
This has been the summer or our discontent. I take a few moments on this last day of August to say that I feel burned, resentful, shafted and gored. Unlike John Denver, I haven’t felt much sunshine on my shoulders this summer. Of course, neither does he any more, but that’s a whole other matter. Summer to me is supposed to be July and August. Our July and August stank royally. It matters not if the next two months are balmy and bright, we lost July and August. I imagine my Antipodean contacts feel the same about January and February, so substitute as you see fit.
I should have known when we got off that plane in Vancouver on November 29th last year after a blissful and warm six weeks in France and England, but arrived in a minus temperature blizzard in what is supposed to be the warm and wet west coast, that it was a portent for what lay in store for the ensuing year. Despite being in Canada, Vancouver is not cold but generally has a climate very similar to San Francisco’s. That night, the climate was more like Murmansk in January.
It was cold then. It was bloody damn cold. And that has largely continued. Not cold-cold, but never warm. We waited for spring to come – and it didn’t. We awaited the arrival of summer, but it never really happened. “When is it going to be summer?” Wendy would ask, in that plaintive voice normally reserved for impatient children awaiting the arrival of Christmas. “Never you mind,” I would say reassuringly, “After the second week of July it will be hot and sunny and carry on right through to Labor Day." She was sceptical. But, she spent 18 years in the frigid hinterland of Alberta and (even though she has been on the coast for 15 years) is still a bit unclear on our weather patterns. I'm also unclear, but I tend to lie about it. The point being, I've lived on the West Coast all my life, and I still hate the damp weather. Live here, but heart is in Hawaii.
Well, July came and went, and it didn’t warm up. August came, and has now gone, and today is overcast and dreary. Just like yesterday, and likely tomorrow. Not only has it been dull, it has been persistently chilly. My normally bountiful grapevine boasts a sparse little crop of pellets the size of a rabbit dropping. My tomatoes – well, the less said about my tomatoes the better. While I normally have to almost go through the plants with a machete to gain access to the fruit, I have some weedy little plants that don’t look much bigger than they did when I planted the sets.
I do realize that I am partially responsible for this. My car has a T-roof, and the second there is a hint of sunshine, I take it off. In years past I have had it off for weeks at a time. This year, guaranteed, if I take it off, by afternoon it will be back on again.
I suppose I should feel philosophical about it; I suppose I should remember we’ve had other crappy summers and I’ve survived. But, I’m a sunshine kind of guy. Winters here are long and dreary and look like the photos that my friend Voyager ran on her blog the other day. I was impressed, by the way, that they decided to take their camping trip regardless of the weather. I’m not so courageous.
And, considering the floods in the UK this summer, and the fires in Greece, I know I should be ashamed for bitching. OK. I'm ashamed. But not 'that' ashamed. We all only get so many summers in this life, therefore it seems fair that all summers should be good ones.