There are more than 4 seasons in reality, but let’s just stick with four, to keep things simple! Summer officially begins in England on 1 June and finishes on 31 August, with the longest day being 21 June. Scientifically, this is not accurate, as summer begins when the Earth’s tilt on its axis in the northern hemisphere is most inclined to the sun. You likely know this as the summer solstice, when noisy hippies (many of whom have left so much litter they have been banned) congregate around Stonehenge in Wiltshire. In simple terms, it’s the day when we get the longest day and the shortest night, due to the earth’s position with the sun. The word ‘solistice’ is Latin for ‘sun standing still’.
Summer is often celebrated in England with media headlines like ‘what a scorcher!’ when in reality, the baking hot days are often a worrying time, due to climate change. Affected weather can not just cause dehydration and illness, but boiling hot pavements (the ‘heat island effect’) and droughts, as well as mixed-up migration times for animals and birds, who may build nests or hatch babies at the wrong times, due to warming temperatures. If you’re feeling the heat, see the post on zero waste alternatives to air coolers. Also see this book to keep your dog safe (to avoid heatstroke etc – never use human sunscreen on dogs, nor let them lick your face after using natural sunscreens with zinc oxide, as it’s toxic to them).
Summer Fruit Salad (Crowded Kitchen)
Natural Navigator Tristan Gooley can find his way using the sun (he’s like our version of Crocodile Dundee!) Take his course to find out how! He says the best time to start is in the morning. He also tells us that the sun does not always rise in the east as believed (when it does, if you park your car facing east, you won’t need de-icer as the sun will naturally melt any frost away). But the sun only rises east twice a day, all to do with axis and tilting apparently!
Books to Read on Summer Days
The Nature of Summer is by lovely nature writer Jim Crumley, a time of growth, flowering and the promise of fruit and the harvest to come. There is a wild elemental beauty to the land, mountains, lochs, coast and skies. The most beautiful and lush of seasons, but at stake, as our seasons are pushed beyond nature’s limits. BBC Wildlife Magazine writes that his writing effortlessly captures the majesty of a golden eagle eyrie, the magic of beavers returning to their old habitats and the joy that arrives with a flock of whooper swans overwhead.
These are a delight. By one of our finest writers, you now have good reading material, all year round. Author Ali Smith has been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and Orange Prize.
- Summer is the unmissable finale of a quartet of seasonal books. Sacha knows the world is in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown. This is a story of people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they are strangers. What do people who think they’ve got nothing in common, have in common? Summer.
- Winter. It’s bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The summer’s leaves? Gone. The world shrinks. The sap sinks. But winter makes things visible. Life matches up to the toughest of seasons. In this second novel, Ali casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory & warmth. Its taproots deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter. It’s the season that teaches us survival.
- Spring tells the impossible tale of an impossible time: What unites Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Beethoven, the past, the present, the cardinal directions, a man mourning lost times and a woman trapped in modern times? Spring. The great connective. The time we’re living in is changing nature. Hope springs eternal.
Music Break: Summertime