Aaaah, the sun’s warmth on my skin, the smell of barbecues and optimism in the air, oodles of pale flesh on show in town, a smile:frown gradient that’s through the roof, beer gardens bursting at the seams. THIS is what I’m talking about! It’s amazing how that first balmy day can literally change the entire country’s collective mood. We are sun and warmth-loving creatures, clearly. Perhaps this harks back to the origins of our evolutionary path from reptilian to mammalian. We NEED warmth and sun. Without it we become cold in more ways than one.
I certainly feel this strongly. I am an incurable outdoor girl, and so I love being in warm countries where it is always inviting to be outside, especially in the evening when I can watch the sunset, unfettered by a window. I love eating outside, sleeping outside, doing yoga outside, making out outside – is there anything that isn’t better done outside? So I often question myself why I am still living in dreary, grey England. I have no ties. I could go anywhere. But there’s a strong draw to the motherland, not least family and friends. We are blessed by so many things in this country – the diversity of food and cultures, the hugely creative and inspiring music and culture scene, the history and beautiful old architecture, the homely English countryside, honed by centuries of a close relationship with humans. I just wish it was warmer!
But, if it was, we wouldn’t be the country we are today. It’s a no-brainer that every country is hugely influenced by its climate. Warmth definitely invites more langour. This is fantastic for cultivating a relaxed nation, who can avoid stress with a flick of the wrist as though it were an irritating mosquito. Cold countries are more likely to be serious and navel-gazing. The painfully beautiful music of Sigur Ross floating out of Iceland sums this up for me. In Britain, we never know what we’re going to get each day, which has bred a nation of optimists, although it’s true we have more wet, dismal days than sunny ones. This, I think, has given us a tendency towards dourness, but doused with huge opportunism. As soon as that sun makes the first hint of an appearance, sunglasses and flip flops are whisked out of the wardrobe quicker than the sell-out of barbecues at the local supermarket. No wonder we conquered the world…
Teens emerge from their indoor lairs after months of hibernation, blinking at the sunshine with weak eyes, in one of Leamington’s central parks.