Last summer I had a strange experience. I was touring a couple from Arizona and the sun was shining brightly over the English countryside.
‘What a great day’ I said.
‘No it’s not’ they replied, ‘We wanted grey and miserable, because that’s what we think of when England comes to mind’.
I was a little shocked, but when I looked up ‘Arizona weather’ that evening, I found that they have, on average, 299 days of sun per year; for them grey drizzle was much more exciting that a bright sunny day.
If you go into any pub in the Cotswolds, the conversation will usually begin with a comment of the weather. It’s either too hot, too cold, too wet, to dry or even too foggy. It is easy to forget that we live on an island and a little thing called the ‘Gulf Stream’ causes England to have changeable weather all year round. (The mix of warm and cold water causes evaporation and rain, which sweeps in over Ireland and on to us!)
This June has been no exception, with a number of hot sunny spells and a little rain now and again. Of course, this should not put off the intrepid traveller from ‘over the pond’; indeed for many who visit us, no trip to England would be complete without a little occasional precipitation.
For farmers such as ourselves, of course, this mixed weather is a Godsend. The main crops in our area and on the farm, Wheat, Barley and Oilseed Rape (Canola), need both the warmth and the wet to produce abundant yields and it is during the month of June that cereal crops turn from green to gold. For any visitor to the Cotswolds, the sight of gently swaying barley across our farm, lit with the warm light of a Summer evening, is something that they will never forget.
June is also the month in which villages begin to hold their annual ‘Fetes’. As you travel through the countryside, you will begin to see signs advertising these important village rituals. Essentially a ‘fete’ is a sort of ‘catch-all’ event, which combines table sale/dog show/flower festival/cookery completion/charity auction/afternoon tea or Pimms, all to raise money for either the village, for local charities or both.
It is a chance for villagers to socialise and for visitors to experience a little bit of what the locals do with their spare time.
Being the Cotswolds, the table sale element tends to be quite ‘up-market’, so there are some real bargains to be had. The day of the fete always ends, as every event does, in the village pub.
So if you visit the Cotswolds in June, July or August and you see a sign advertising a ‘Village Fete’, make sure that you stop for an hour or so: I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Here are a few clips we captured whilst out and about in May https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v49O9qJzEfw
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