Friday, 20 July 2012

The perfect climate - Britain

I strongly recommend tourists planning to visit Great Britain to bring this device along.  It's an old-fashioned, 3-minute sand timer, usually sold for a couple of dollars, occasionally used for boiling eggs.

Culinary aspirations aside, on a visit to the British Isles, it's an absolutely essential item to include in your luggage because it precisely measures the length of the British summertime.  Yes, that's right, the sun really does shine for just 3 minutes annually in the British Isles.   

Having grown up in balmy Southern Texas, we used to - like many countries - enjoy summer by visiting the beach, such as in the following picture of Fanny about to go surfing (naked) in the Gulf of Mexico:

But in Britian, visiting the beach is simply not possible due to the acute shortness of the summer.  The 3-minute Summer Solstice is therefore not traditionally celebrated on a Cornish beach or watching a Punch 'n' Judy show on the Yorkshire coast, but by the curious sport of bog-snorkelling.

Bog-snorkellers don snorkels, flippers and wetsuits, making them look like ridiculous, shiney, overgrown sea-lions, and jump unashamedly and unmedicated into the deep, flooded peat bogs north of the remote Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells, swimming back and forth, as frozen as a marrow, in the 55-metre long trench, its waters as brown and dreggy as onion soup.  

It seems a very bizarre habit to me, more of a fetish really.  Maybe I'm a little reserved.   As an American living in England, it's going to be a very difficult adjustment process getting used to the filthy delights of a watery ditch in Wales, but you cannot argue their exquisite taste.  Then again, if you don't like bog-snorkelling the other summer-time outdoor options practised by the British (particularly the Welsh) are binge-drinking, punch-ups and booze-fuelled violence.