Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

Since my move to London, my wardrobe has had to go through a harsh adjustment. The winter months were tough as I was  always cold and absolutely clueless on winter fashion. The summer months are difficult for another reason. The ladies are out in their spring dresses and flowery clips while I am still in full trousers and a jacket. Yet again, I am always cold.

In Texas, I developed a summer uniform. 60 consecutive days of 40° C will drain the effort out of you about the same way that too many days of dreary 5°C weather will. All you want is a short hike and a lovely cold spring to jump into. Hence, you travel light. Black tank, bikini, Reef flip flops. Before you leave the house, you check your pocket for your wallet, phone and keys. Sunglasses rest on your head. You are out the door headed to Barton Springs.

Let’s compare that to London spring/summer fashion. All of a sudden I’m not travelling very light anymore.

Rachel, a fellow former Austinite, was visiting a few months ago and commented on London street fashion. “It looks great, but there’s no way I could even think of putting together some of those outfits. It’s like they just keep adding things and somehow it works.”

And indeed, I believe that’s how it’s done. That dress is beautiful, but it’s way too cold to be wearing it. Let’s add some tights and a jacket. Also- those shoes? Impractical for commuting. Let’s put a spare pair of flats in your humongous bag. What else is in the bag? Well, first of all the sunglasses you aren’t wearing. An umbrella, because you never know when it is going to rain. Then your oyster card, a book for your commute, plasters (bandaids) for when your shoes give you blisters, your gym clothes because there’s no way you are making it home and then back out again after your day, a snack, and of course, phone wallet and keys. This is a minimum.

It’s taken a while for me to get this down and to accept the fact that the window for summer wear is so short. I think I’m finally getting there. Now if I could only figure out how to lug this bag around without having to see an osteopath later.

Read Full Post »

This is the time of the year when the Texas Highway Department forgoes all mowing and the roadsides become covered with fields of bluebonnets. The long car rides between Texas cities don’t seem so dreary anymore. You have more to look forward to than a kolache at the Czech Stop in the small town of West.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons you see cars of couples, families and friends with their children and dogs pull over to the highway shoulder and begin snapping away with their camera. Everyone who grew up in Texas has pictures of themselves in a field of bluebonnets somewhere. If they say they don’t, they are lying. Or maybe an orphan.

I remember the year it rained continuously and the next spring was a shocking blast of early blue blooms. Standing in front of the sea of blue, sunshine warm, weather still cool enough, it’s hard to think of things that could make you happier. Probably because it’s hard to think of anything else at all.

It’s a symbol that the days are fleeting. The short but gruff winter is over and there is a promise of halcyon outdoor days  before the brutal summer turns water side activity into a necessity. Winter and the corresponding Seasonal Affective Disorder is now so far away. All things are right again in Texas.

 

Texas summer survival.

“My fervent hope is that our homes, roadsides, parks – both community and industrial – and public spaces will provide a home for our wildflowers and other native plants where they can provide economic benefits and add to the eye and spirit of their beholders.” – Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson, picture not mine.

That’s former first lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson. She’s a Texas hero of mine. I image if there was an afterlife that her and former Texas governor Ann Richards would be hanging out swapping stories of Texas politics and having a damn good time.

 

The incredible Ann Richards. Picture also not mine.

Lady Bird was responsible for the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. It’s intent was to control outdoor advertising and junk on the side of the road. It was met with a lot of opposition. Today Texas roadsides are obviously a compromise but it is a sight when the bluebonnets come out.

I was bummed when I realized I was going to miss out on the wildflowers this year. This was before I knew about the daffodils. I was walking through Green Park one day and all of a sudden they were there. Little yellow buds telling me  winter was nearly over. Now the daffodils are everywhere. People stop in the park to have their photos taken with their friends, families, children and dogs.

 

Daffodil Portraiture, Exhibit A

Daffodil Portraiture, Exhibit B

It’s even more stunning when nobody warns you that they are coming, they just appear. It’s a symbol that the days are fleeting. The long and gray winter with it’s cabin fever, roast dinners and endless cup of teas is coming to an end. There is a promise of a short but halcyon summer surrounded by a cool fall and spring. All things are right again in London.

Read Full Post »

Back in May as the summer began, Boyfriend and I decided to take a day trip down to Brighton to check out the scene. We hopped on a train from London full of other beachgoers. The weather had just begun to get warm and nice and everyone around was buzzing with the promise of summer. Coming from a climate where summer constitutes two-thirds of the year, I tend to take such things as a day at the beach for granted. The whole of Southern England was fully taking it in.

Brighton Pebble Beach

We dipped our toes in the freezing water and I immediately felt awe for those brave enough to swim. After an hour or so of laying around and having someone’s child throw pebbles at us, we decided to have a walk around and check out the rest of what Brighton had to offer.

But where do I fit my beach towel?

The beachfront was simply overwhelmed. The ice cream stores were packed and the restaurants were drained of menu items.

Hope you wanted tiger prawns for lunch.

Thankfully, there’s quite a lot more to Brighton than the water. We stumbled upon a park, cute homes, groovy looking shops and restaurants. Once away from the droves of people on the icy beach, I was really digging it. I’ve been told the nightlife is quite the scene. As we embark upon Fall, I’m thinking this is a good thing.

Brighton, not all beach.

Groovy looking shops abound.

The excitement and crowds over what I considered to be a mildly warm day scared me. It’s occurred to me that although I have traveled quite a bit and have spent months at a time away in Europe or mountain climates, I have never fully experienced the seasons.  I have only been a visitor, popping in for a while and then returning to my natural habitat. I imagine how odd it was for explorers or immigrants before today’s globalization. It must have been difficult for them to wrap their heads around their new home and the weather. Humans adapt, but it’s not without effect.

As for me, I am learning to recalibrate what warm is and trying to soak up the sun while it is around. I’ve developed a plan for my impending Seasonal Affective Disorder that involves lots of trips to the Mediterranean and vitamin D supplements but I think the best plan is to learn to embrace it.

Read Full Post »