LESLEY KEATING: The nights are about to start drawing in '“ hello summer!
It's the summer solstice on Thursday, the mid-heaven, the longest day, the magical one with the most sunlight hours, when the sun is at its strongest and brightest.
It’s when many people get up at some ungodly hour to greet the sun, druids at Stonehenge and all that. Allegedly, it’s all downhill after this point with winter drawing closer from this magical zenith.
Hang on... longest day? Days drawing in? What!
Can I be the only one who is labouring under the illusion that we’re actually still just on the brink of our summer and that, although we’ve had some lovely weather on and off, we’ve also had cold days and rain, therefore ‘proper’ summer is waiting just around the corner?
I am well and truly shocked that, as far as nature and the calendar are concerned, we’ve had it. I hadn’t even really considered that it had actually started yet.
Yet, allegedly, summer is already well and truly slipping into autumn like a small child on a water slide.
When I was young and living at home in a leafy London borough, I’m pretty sure it was different. We had endless summer days back-to-back then.
Every morning sunlight would stream through my windows, I’d spend a six-week school summer holiday playing on the river bank, running in the fields, on the swings, having picnics, eating ice-creams from the van that did the rounds – a 99 with chocolate sauce or a witch’s hat, remember those? Shorts and T-shirt were my uniform every single day.
Even at school, I remember the freedom each year when you were finally allowed to wear your gingham summer dress not your itchy grey school pinafore and, most exciting of all, could wear your new Clarks sandals with bare feet!
I remember the grass in the playground tickling my toes and the sun on my brown legs. And there was always sun, loads of it.
So, what’s happened to our ‘proper’ summer. Is this it then? What’s going on? Were the summers really longer, sunnier, hotter and more ‘summery’ in the 1970s?
Or is it just me?
JAMIE’S MEATBALLS LOOKED LIKE SURGERY FROM HOLBY CITY
I love cooking. I’m obsessed with cookery books and I love creating something new in the kitchen.
I’m never happier than when whizzing something up in my Magimix or trying out new ingredients and processes. And, as for a decent cookery programme on TV, I’m there.
Well, I was until recently.
Our new TV at home is HD, not small by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve discovered a worrying side-effect. All the cookery programmes I used to enjoy now make me feel a wee bit queasy because everything looks so graphic.
On Sunday Jamie Oliver was serving up some pappardelle with meatballs which honestly looked like one of those ‘intestine’ shots from a surgical emergency scene in Holby City.
Think I’ll stick to my cookery books in future.
LONDON CALLING, ESPECIALLY THE TUBE
We went to trendy Hoxton in east London last week to see our daughter Eloise on stage with her band.
Unfortunately, Hoxton’s one of those places that is a pain in the posterior to get to. Driving takes about two-and-a-half hours and if you’re lucky enough to find parking, you’ll also need a re-mortgage to pay for it.
So, train it was, and tube, as taxis take way too long from Waterloo.
Strangely, I always relish the prospect of zipping around on the underground as I actually enjoy the hustle and bustle of it all.
But believe it or not, I also love that musty, metallic, and to me, nostalgic smell of underground stations whereas Mike thinks this is just plain weird.
You can take the girl out of London...