Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Amazing Summer

When I left off it was winter, now it is summer, and much has happened in between. And all good things.  Two weddings. One wedding in California where Bob was Best Man. The trip to California, my spiritual home where I met my husband, where my daughters were born, let us connect with so many old friends, many of whom we haven't seen in much too long. (Note to computer start-up son-in-law: Get a job in Silicon Valley, so we can combine trips to see the grandchildren we miss with visits to friends we miss.)

The second wedding was here in London, and Bob and I were Father and Mother of the Bride. So the daughters are sorted then, and well sorted too.

The Queen's Jubilee soon followed, and that was possibly not quite up to the delights of our weddings. There was the soaking rain at the River Pageant. Then our attendance at the local Jubilee Beacon celebration that turned out to be the one Beacon which did not light in the 4000 Beacons that were to unite the country. Shame on you Corporation of London for utilising a complicated electronic switch and not having a back-up plan in place. Poor Isabella chosen to light the Beacon will be in therapy for life. Lighting shouldn't have been more complicated than setting a match to a gas stove burner.

There is of course the very unhappy story of our weather. The wettest, coldest Spring ever recorded according to the weather mavens. The irony being that a mostly dry winter left reservoirs low and water tables uncharged, so the water companies declared a water emergency at the end of March, including a hose pipe ban for garden watering and car washing. On April 1, the skies opened up, and pretty much haven't stopped dripping and dropping water on us since. The water companies have recently reversed the drought emergency allowing people to use their hoses, but really who needs to water a garden totally saturated? Here in London, I am among the many bitching about grey skies, lack of sun, and whether we really do need to put the central heating up a notch even though the calendar says it is June. But the people really suffering are those in areas of the country, north, west, east and south, where floods and gales have caused serious damage.

Now as July approaches, we move into what could, should be One Amazing Summer. The summer is always fun in Hampstead. The locals leave for their second homes in France or Tuscany; the ex-pats head off to their home countries for a season of family and the familiar. Meanwhile the festival season in London bursts with activity for those who stay behind. A vestige of what was once The Season, beginning with the Chelsea Flower Show in May and ending with the races at Goodwood at the end of July. By then the midges in Scotland had completed their short life cycles, allowing everyone who mattered to pile into Scotland to prepare for The Glorious Twelfth when the shooting can begin.

This year we have the Olympics beginning in exactly a month from today. Going along with that the usual London summer festivals of Spitalfields, and the City of London, and the Greenwich and Docklands, and the Proms at the Albert Hall, there is the Cultural Olympiad.
No one is quite sure what that is exactly, but they have issued a 138 page official guide to the London 2012 Festival chock full of events sponsored and scheduled to be held all around the nation not just in London from 21 June to the 9 September. This may make our exhausting 2010 Staycation look like a mere walk in the park.

Let me just add that a country like the UK which has some of the best graphic design in the world has chosen some of the worst graphic design I have ever seen for this Olympics. The logo is repellent. Do I need mention Lisa Simpson? The cover of the Festival brochure is one of the official posters, each one worse than the next. And the mascots have blessedly disappeared since they were unveiled to universal dislike.  I see they have added a lion with an actual face to the mascot line up. Didn't anyone read up on cognitive research that explains people respond to babies and soft toys because they have cute faces with big eyes that trip a biologic response that says nurture me, or in the case of stuffed toys, buy me.