July is the turning point, the downslide to Christmas when suddenly we realise that it's HALF WAY through the year and before we know it, that will be 2013 over. Last year July featured sporadic weather tantrums which had started with optimistic sunshine in March and spent the months following teasing us with pieces of summer, spaced out between plunging temperatures and thunder storms. This year it is GLORIOUS. I've fallen in love with London all over again. All the cliche things happen; Londoners are happy and walk with a spring in their step instead of the usual hustle. The tourists feel less intrusive. The concrete jungle sparkles and the parks are full until 10pm, finding a space is like navigating the beach in Spain.The pavements are packed with punters swigging cider and cheerily declaring good things about the weather. Because, no matter what month it is or who you're with, you should always engage in some weather small talk. And I love it all. I love the pop-up street feasts even though they're the new fad, serving up greasy cultural grub and charging you about the same price to perch on the curb to gobble it down. I love the portable cinema screens wheeled into the parks, showing vintage movies from the 90s and obligingly allow you to bring your own bucks fizz and picnic. I love taking my little cousins to the park and showing them how good I am at rollypolly games, until I realise my hair has spun itself into something that resembles gigantic candy floss and the the other parents are sideways glancing at me. Most of all I love how everyone in the city really, really appreciates Summer turning up and giving us some of its best work. There becomes a point when it's almost unbearable and some of us start to whisper that maybe Summer could try not to be quite so server with its strength. The tube is a sweat-fest and more often than not, you complete your journey wearing the perspiration of the 7 other people who were jammed in various angles up against your body. But it's rather hard to tell who are the smelliest ones, when it's mixing in with your own.
July also seems to be the month when I remember I have set New Years Resolutions (NYR), which have been neglected and procrastinated, with little eventuating towards any status of achievement. It was July last year (or was it the year before?) when I started my NYR blog and although I had good intentions (and many scraps of notes written on magazines, receipts, meeting notes) my dedication to the blog has been poor. It all ended badly after the angry-Jan post, with me signing off with false promises of something better to come and following through with silence. July's here, time to break the silence and start practicing for NYR14 (write a daily diary - don't worry it's private). Inspired by two sisters who have written a daily diary for years and frightened by my increasing memory loss, I think more writing down of information is required in my life.
Let's go back to the start - not January, not going there again - February! Now that was a lovely month, I turned 30 and my face didn't shrivel up. I'm still not completely ok with the 30s factor in my life, but I'm being a big girl and sucking it up. It's not all bad. The hangover from my 30th bash was a dignified 3 hours on the sofa watching Don't Tell The Bride. Although that's more likely to be down to the toast cousin Meg made at 3am, proving the benefits of being a mother for a few years, you HAVE to master the art of preventing hangovers. The winter was cruel and it wasn't letting up for February. Forking out to travel across the world to the motherland feels painful at point of payment but mercifully worth it to spend 3 weeks in sunshine and happiness. Bathing in the love from my family and friends. Relaxing with the joy that they get my stupid humour….. and accept me for it. British people are higher up the the ranks of sarcasm acceptance, but I often have to water it down. If my workmates heard even half of the *hilarious* comments I save for the audience inside my head, they would probably put me on the desk of exile.
The long and short of the NZ trip - it was amazing. I helps me remember who I am and where I came from. This may sound ridiculous but it's amazing how many of the friends or colleagues I've met in London are surprised to learn I'm a farm girl from a small country town. One reaction, from a previous manager, was "I'm sorry, I just can't begin to imagine it. You're such a city bitch". I'm unsure if this is meant as a compliment. I chose to take it as one. When I have a similar reaction from another colleague in my latest job, I tell her I can milk cows and my friend Manu who's a full time farmer even said I was pretty good at it. She's astonished. She immediately turns around and repeats this news to someone else, they too are impressed. Because apparently I handle the city so well…..I explain it's my natural aggression and confrontation attitude that bodes me well in the city.
I returned to Bonny old England, welcomed with good bashing of rain and sleet whilst wearing nothing but a flimsy cardie. It's -3degrees the taxi driver tells me disapprovingly. I explain I've come from the summer glory of New Zealand. He can't be bothered with my participation in the conversation so for the entire 1.5hr ride he barks out a monologue ranting about his lazy wife, his greedy brothers, his ungrateful children and how he could've been a millionaire because when he arrived from Africa property prices were £7,000. I find myself yearning the east london cabbies who hear your tourist accent and ignore you for the duration of the journey.