I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I haven’t been aware of the end of summer. Maybe when I was a child and I didn’t understand what summer holidays were, but for as long as I can remember my life has been defined by educational holidays. Summer started at the beginning of the summer holidays, and ended when I went back to school, in whatever role that was.
The start of the summer holidays was a goal, something that you strived to reach each year. It was a prize for all the late nights and weekend planning. It didn’t matter if you were feeling poorly, you just had to ‘get through’ until the holidays.
I realise now that these summer holidays were both a blessing and a curse. Having a long break from work was a dream. Being able to travel for longer than a few weeks was an incredible opportunity, and one that I made the most of. But if ‘summer’ hadn’t been confined to this short time period, maybe it would have felt longer to me.
Maybe I would have gone out after work more and enjoyed the longer evenings, instead of working late and cramming in what needed to be done so I could get through till summer. Perhaps I would have taken days off when the weather was good and enjoyed the three days of sunshine we get in Britain over the summertime.
I wonder now what people in other jobs class as the summer, I’ve never really thought about it before. The two week summer holiday they choose to take? When the days get lighter for longer? What is summer in England? Because it certainly isn’t guaranteed sunshine or heat!
For the first time ever my summer hasn’t been dictated by the month and a half of holiday I get given. And it feels like it has lasted forever. No longer controlled by dates other people set for me, I have realised that summer this year started when the sunshine started.
It started the first time I was too hot in leggings and a jumper, when Adam and I struggled to sleep inside and when every day became filled with cloudless blue skies. It started at the end of May, when we were sunbathing on our passage over the Greece in the middle of the sea.
June, July, August and September. Summer has been four months of sunshine.
I am amazed at how quickly I took those glorious sunny days for granted. Well, maybe not for granted. I spent my days swimming in the sea to cool down, reading in the shade of the sails and craving the cool wind on my face. For the first time ever I honestly felt like summer had no time limit. I thought the sun would last forever, I just couldn’t see how there could ever be a cloud in the sky again.
With our lives so dependent on the weather now, we find ourselves noticing every little change, and remembering details we wouldn’t have given a second thought to in our lives back in England. From the 1st of June to the 20th September we had one day where it rained. One day. This was also the only day that the sun didn’t shine through the cloud coverage. Most days have been cloud free, and the tiny wafts of clouds that we have seen have been a talking point.
I can see now why people think we talk a lot about the weather in England. We really do, because we actually have weather. Summer in Greece is weather free. It would be a pretty strange thing to talk about here. ‘Sunny today isn’t it?’ ‘Yes, just as sunny as yesterday.’ ‘The day before that was sunny too.’ ‘Luckily tomorrow is forecast to be sunny.’
I thought I would miss the changing weather, but I really haven’t. It’s so wonderful to know that you can spend tomorrow outside, because it will be sunny. You can walk into town, go for a swim, eat outside. You can wash your clothes and hang them out to dry. You can wash your hair and it will be dry in an hour. You don’t need to take a jacket, or an umbrella. You don’t even need a range of clothes in the wardrobe.
We arrived in Porto Cheli to meet my parents after another cloud free night sail, where the sun set behind the land with nothing else to hide behind and the stars popped out of the sky.
And with sunrise Autumn started.
As sudden as that. One minute we were desperate for ice cold drinks and too hot in our swim wear, the next it was actually a little chilly. Sunrise bought some rain, then a thunderstorm which cleared quickly, but left behind clouds. We had several grey days. The breeze was nippy rather than welcoming. The water didn’t look so inviting. We still had sunshine, but it was unexpectedly colder. It was Autumn.
We’ve still had some beautifully sunny days, but they have been less predictable. We’ve also had grey, rainy days, or downpours of rain and wind. Sometimes we don’t even see the sunset behind the wall of clouds. And there have been a few occasions when the sun hasn’t been out for long enough to charge our batteries from the solar.
Our endless summer had ended as quickly as it had arrived, and all too quickly we were forced to think about the next step of our adventure and make decisions about what to do with the next few months of our lives. The change in the weather bought an unsettled feeling, but has also made us reflect and make important decisions.
We chose this life of uncertainty, of jumping from one place to the next, of not knowing what the next week will bring. We had better make sure we enjoy the freedom it brings. And, for as long as possible, that’s what we intend on doing!