We’re in the middle of a heatwave. It’s the last day of term. These are the kind of summer holidays Bernard will remember. Drinks today will be long and cool, accompanied by rock pools to cool your feet in. Look back over the hazy decades and share your summer holiday memories with us.
July 19, 2013
I remember 1976. I was 5 years old, it was hot and dry and we had no mains water. We had to walk about 400 yards to a standpipe with bottles and flagons and fill them there, then carry them back. The grass was a delicate shade of parchment brown. I spent most of the summer in shorts with no shirt and only occasional applications of sun cream – I know I got burnt on more than one day. We’d play cricket on the lawn and eat all our meals in the garden (we didn’t have garden furniture – we had an old door laid on two crates, covered with a table cloth). It was brilliant, even if Dad was fretting about the plants dying in the garden (something that I didn’t worry about then, but do worry about now).
In honour of that memory, I will drink what was then and remains my Dad’s favourite drink on a hot day, something that Hels and I have been quaffing with abandon this week – lager and lime. To get it right, you need a good quality lager (pub-next-door are horrified that we sully their lovely Czech pilsner in this way) and a generous slop of good lime cordial (Rose’s is the best, Waitrose own brand a cheaper alternative, Morrisons and Tesco best avoided – how can something as simple as lime cordial vary so much?). A pint for burly chaps, a half in a refined goblet-type lager glass for the delicate ladies.
Spending entire days in the back garden, alternating between paddling pool and lying on the grass. By the end of the day, me, my sister and the dog all still slightly damp with grass cuttings everywhere. Rhubarb sticks dipped in sugar. Endless mini milks. Huge slices of melon dripping from our faces.
I think that calls for a King Carlos Caipirinha (yes, I’ve actually had one of these!) http://cocktails.about.com/od/rumrecipes/r/kingcarlos_caipirinha.htm
Someone pass the suncream…
Well, with the events of this week, I plan to have a champagne cocktail made in a bucket, please.
And probably another two or three to follow it up.
Today is a good day in many many ways. 🙂
I remember 1976 as well, after a fashion. I was 2. I climbed out of the paddling pool and stepped on a bee.
I’ll have a pimms. Cheers.
I don’t really remember 1976, because I was born at the end of August in that year. I do, however, remember being told about the colossal heatwave and how miserable my mum was in the heat.
So in commiseration of the heat, I’ll have a large elderflower spritzer and a bucket of ice.
I remember hot weekends in the summer like this mainly as a teenager, spending weekends at my dad’s house, miles from schoolfriends and, in fact, any other friends, amusing myself with endless movies, books, The Hitchhikers game on his PC and made-up milkshakes in the garden. It’s to those weekends I owe much of my introvert anti-social homeliness – and I like it that way.
So I’d have one of those made up milkshakes – some ice cream, some milk, some peanut butter, a spoonful of nutella, and, fuck it, some vodka and some kahlua to make it nice and alcoholic. Then I and my younger self will pass out on my deckchair in the manse back garden with a battered Douglas Adams paperback on our chests and get really quite burnt. Later, we will watch Pretty In Pink. Alone. Again. YAY!
Ah, the summer I remember is the one where I bought myself a guitar from a cheap local shop and played it until my fingers bled. Me and some friends from school formed a band and practiced a lot but, well, in the end one of them – Jimmy, I think he was called – quit and the other (Jody? Yes, Jody, that was it) got married. Sigh. I should have known we’d never get that far. Mind you, still can’t remember what year it was. I wish my mother had had a porch, though.
Summer memories certainly seem to be dominated by family trips off to various campsites in Europe so it seems entirely apt that tomorrow sees me off on my first adult camping trip to Europe (although I am taking my Mum with me just in case). So I’ll be having to be a French 75 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_75_(cocktail) which seems like the ideal way to start the holidays. And best make sure there’s plenty so I can share some with Mum.
All my summers until the age of 13-14 were spent at the beach. From July until the end of August we slept at my mother’s grandparent’s house in Nova Scotia, but we lived a the beaches. Some days would be spent with cousins hunting for sand dollars in the shallows, inventing games of ridiculous dares or burying each other in the sandy dunes. Others would be spent at her friends’ cottages, picking berries, digging clams,sailing, water skiing, hammockrolling and sneaking inside to watch Gilligan’s Island.
I was perpetually sunburned and sand never completely left our skin. It was idyllic, and my memory has conveniently erased all the boring bits.
I had an idyllic day this week with a friend and I made us these.
muddle lime and mint
add to pureed frozen watermelon and white rum
I remember summers spent jumping in lakes and sleeping in caravan awnings. Good times.
Don’t remember ’76. Before my time I’m afraid. How about a Young Buck cocktail to celebrate that? Cider with ginger beer apparently.
It’s due to reach 108°F (42°C) in New York today, so I’d like to sit inside a fridge and drink Pimm’s, please. Or Pimms. Or Pimms’. Actually, all of them.
Three Pimmses, pleases. With me on ice, ta.
I remember going on a riverboat trip with the entire staff of WHSmith High Wycombe one summer (I worked there evenings/weekends/holidays when I was in sixth form) and having my first glass of Pimms that hadn’t been mixed by my mother. It was disappointingly weak.
The boat staff thought they were taking us on a one-way trip (rather than up to Henley and back to Marlow), so there was much confusion and a delayed return to Wycombe where my mum had been waiting in the car for ages to take me home. Without mobile phones, I had no way of telling her what had happened!
So, in honour of that, I’d like a super-strong Pimms with *loads* of fruit, please!
[troubled diva overshare] I hit puberty during the long hot summer of 1976, when seemingly the entire fit male population of the British Isles opted to flash more flesh than had previously been thought proper. Heady days.[/troubled diva overshare]
Being newly unencumbered by paid employment, the long hot summer of 2013 is essentially my first long summer holiday in 28 years, and the timing couldn’t be more propitious. For today’s cocktail, I’d like another chance to savour a Fig French 75, which K and I lapped up at this place last Saturday night: http://www.thezettertownhouse.com/cocktail-lounge/cocktail-menu.pdf
It is a SPECTACULARLY good cocktail.