The first thing to do when the sun shines

They always say that when the sun shines in London, it’s one of the best places in the world. I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but I think they are the Londoners who find the city so miserable in the cold, grey, damp weather that by the time the sun shines, the contrast is – quite frankly – incredible.

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Not long ago, I was one of those people. On a sunny day we would rush home from work, only to remember that the tiny flat we lived in had no garden. We would then go to one of the three pubs in walking distance only to remember that their ‘pub garden’ referred to benches that sat alongside the the main road, perfectly placed to observe London traffic and breathe in those delightful fumes.

This was very much better than London in the rain, but it wasn’t exactly the dream way to bask in the summer sun.

Today, when the sun came out and – in true British style – we all complained about the heat, I decided to do the one thing you should do when you get that first blast of summer sun. Enjoy it.

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Our new country house backs on to the Oxford canal, and we’ve found a circular walk that is about two miles – the distance I can cope with before my shaking legs can’t take any more. The walk allows me to do one of my favourite things… take a nosy look inside all the narrow boats – and admire the excellent names. (“P45” and “Narrow Escape” are two of my favourites.)

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Is there anything that isn’t made better by bright blue skies? Any mood that isn’t lifted, or stress that isn’t calmed?

I really want to make the most of this sunshine. I know it won’t last, so whilst it does let’s make the most of it. If you can’t find me, I’ll be the one staring at house-boats.

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