Today it was hot in the UK. Like really hot. The late 20s /early 30s hot. The papers tomorrow will declare it a heat wave and come Monday everyone will be returning to work completely sunburnt. Then by the end of the week, it will be wet and rainy for two weeks because it’s Glastonbury weekend so of course, it’s going to be wet. I would never have known what that meant 10 years ago.
Welcome to a British summer.
As an Aussie living in the UK, I find it hilarious every year how excited/crazy we get when the temperature peaks for several days straight you’d have thought I’d have I come to adapt to it. Nope! Now every year I get just as excited as everyone else. I wrote a similar post last year you can find it here.
The most surprising thing for me today was I got in my car to go to the gym (yes just popping that in there as a big pat on the back to myself) and the steering wheel was too HOT to touch!! Yes, you heard right to hot to touch. This has never happened to me here. Australia yeah sure this is a daily occurrence but never in the UK. I actually almost called my mum to tell her as I was so shocked. Thankfully I didn’t choose to wake her up at 3 am with the news and instead started to think about all the things that are different between my two homes in the summer time …
Summer in the UK more often than not means a summer holiday to the continent. Spain, Portugal, Italy, France are all on your doorstep and only 2-3 hours flight away. Some of the deals available make it a more cost effective option than staying in the UK and you are guaranteed sun. In Australia, you pretty much stay in Australia but maybe just venture to another state. If you did want to go abroad Bali or Fiji are only 3-4 hours away.
Respect the sun vs worship the Sun
I have moles on my body and have always been protective of my skin. In Australia, you are brought up respecting the sun. At school, you can’t play outside unless you have a hat and there are always campaigns about Slip, Slop, Slap- Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat. We don’t spend all day everyday sunbathing in the sun and we have Skincare centres everywhere to check on any changes in our skin. This is so different to my friends in England who worship the sun and will sit out all day in to get some colour. Even if that colour is red. Even going on holiday in Europe you always see ‘brits abroad’ who have sunburn on sunburn but still will sit out catching the rays. In Australia, it is rare to buy sunscreen under factor 15 or 30 whereas in the UK you can get factor 4 or factor 8!!
Summer is longer and hotter in Australia
Summer last forever in Australia especially if you live inland or in Northern parts of the country. Every day of summer is almost guaranteed to be warm and if by chance it is cooler it’s still early 20’s. It can also get super hot so you can’t touch your steering wheel, the road looks like it is melting and God forbid if you try to sit on a leather seat.
But…Summer days are longer in the U.K.
Whilst we don’t have as many hot days in the UK we do have more daylight hours. Summer evenings in the UK go up to 9.30/10pm. I love this and found it so confusing when we were on the Gold Coast last year and it was almost pitch black at 6 pm in the middle of summer. Summer days need long summer nights as well.
According to Australia.gov.au there over 10,500 beaches in Australia. There is nowhere near that many in the UK. Whilst I love a beach wherever it is I do prefer the beaches of home. The white squeaky sand that burns the soles of your feet, crystal blue ocean and bush that always separates the beach from the rest of the world. They will always hand down beat a pebbled, muddy British beach.
Ice lollies/Ice creams
No ice lollies/ice creams in the UK will ever compare to a Paddle Pop, Zoopa Doopa or a Bubble-o-bill. Not ever..
Summer will always feel like Christmas
As soon as it starts heating up I’m waiting for the Christmas carols, the Christmas tv and Santa to be driving round the streets on a fire truck. Summer for me means Christmas no matter how many years I have away from home- this will never change.
Obviously, rain was going to pop up somewhere in this post. However, it might not be in the way you would expect. In the UK we hate it raining when its supposed to be summer and in Australia, they long for it to rain in summer. Summers in Australia are long and hot. Summer heat on top of a long-standing drought affects crops, farms, bush and the general landscape. We have bushfires every year and part of the reason they spread so quickly is that everything is so dry and crisp. My grandpa always asks me to bring the rain with me when I come home at summer.
Green vs Beige
Leading on from the above, I have lost count how many times this last month I have said to my other half ‘It’s soo green! It’s never this green at home in the summer’. This is partly due to the rainfall we have. Everything grows so quickly. We didn’t mow our lawn for a month and it looked like a meadow. The countryside in the UK during the summer is beautiful luscious greens, bluebell forests, yellow rapeseed fields and wildflowers on the side of the road. Just beautiful.
Big on both sides of the equator in the summer. Wimbledon, The Australian Open, Boxing day test the list is endless. Both nations love watching sports and getting out and being active in the sunny days.
I grew up in the country and going for a walk in summer meant you always needed to keep an eye out for snakes and your back is always covered in flies. Going for a walk in the UK just means midgies and that’s only if you are near water. Its pretty much a snake free zone and is 100% a fly free zone. The UK wins purely for just not having flies!
Shirts off at the pub
I don’t think I have ever seen Aussie men at the pub with their shirts off in the summer. In England, one little slither of sun and half the men are there with their tops off showing off their Adonis bodies. Most places in Aus will have a no shirt no service rule and we love a drink so the shirts stay on. We are more a nation of vest/singlets, baordy and thong (flips flop) wearing men than a rip your top off at the first sign of sun nation.
One thing that remains the same in both places is that summer = happy. Everyone has a spring in their step, more social and just happier. The vitamin D does something magical to us all. We smile, we play, we eat alfresco, we relish the days spent outside.
Summertime is great not matter what side of the world you are on. There will always be good and less good points no matter where you are. You just need to get our and enjoy it.