Canal with narrowboats decorated with flags
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Gallery: summertime and the livin’ …

Summertime,

And the livin’ is easy

Fish are jumpin’

And the cotton is high

Your daddy’s rich

And your mum is good lookin’

So hush little baby

Don’t you cry

George & Ira Gershwin

As we head into what our weather forecasters are calling an ‘unprecedented* heatwave’ in south east England (temperatures predicted to top 40C for the first time ever), my main thought at the moment is how to stay cool. OK, not cool; that may prove impossible! But at least, not too hot!

I mentioned recently that I’m not a fan of lying on a beach, and one reason for that is that I don’t like the hot sun. My fair skin (thanks to an Irish grandmother) reacts badly, so I try to stay in the shade. But I can still enjoy some summer vibes, as Andre (this week’s Lens Artists guest host) encourages us to do. And I’m always on the lookout for good photo opps of others doing the same. Digging through my archives I discovered all sorts of ways to feel those summer vibes.

Lie on the beach, in the sun …
Four young people sunbathing

On Albufeira Beach, Portugal


… or try to find some shade
Beach umbrellas with a sunbather, from above

The beach at Monterosso al Mare in the Cinque Terre, Italy


If there’s no beach, a wall, a boat-slip or even the rocks will do!
People sunbathing on colourful towels on a stone boat slip and wall

Sunbathers at Manarola harbour in the Cinque Terre


Relax in a deckchair …
Blue deck chairs with a couple sitting in two of them

City beach, Berlin


… or on a blanket
Three people on a tartan rug, seen from behind

At Lulworth Cove, Dorset


Go for a swim …
Woman in pink bathing cap in the sea

Swimmer off Brighton Beach, on England’s south coast


… or simply paddle
Two ladies in long skirts paddling with a small girl

On a beach in Goa


Skim stones ….
Man and small girl by the water's edge

By the sea in South Shields, north east England


… build a sandcastle …
Man building an elaborate sandcastle

On Torremolinos beach, Spain


… or perhaps go rock-pooling
Girl standing on a rock with a blue bucket and small net

Rock pool on Cullercoats Beach, north east England


Paddle a boat …
Rear view of person paddling a boat on a lake

In Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada [yes, that’s me – my husband took this shot]


… or a kayak
Looking down at two kayakers by rocks

At Stair Hole, Dorset


A cliff walk might be fun …
Man and woman on rocky cliff above the sea

On the cliffs at Cabo da Roca, Portugal – the most westerly point of mainland Europe


… or a summer festival
Crowd of people in summer clothes by a tower

Watching a carnival by Tower Bridge, London

My featured photo was taken at another London summer festival, in Little Venice


Maybe a drink with friends?
People at tables next to a river

Bars by the Seine in Paris


… or a game of cricket (how very English!)
Cricketers with a castle and ruins behind

Cricket by Tynemouth Castle and Priory


But perhaps it wouldn’t be an English summer without a little rain?
View of beach and sea through a wet window

Rain in St Ives, Cornwall, seen from the Tate

*’Unprecedented’ has become our newsreaders’ favourite word, ever since the start of the pandemic. We’ve had more unprecedented occurrences than you might think possible within the scope of that word!

68 Comments

  • Wind Kisses

    Great minds think alike. I would enjoy all of these adventures with you…even the rain. Cricket is something I want to figure out someday. But a day at the field would be entertaining too. I am not much for lying-in the sun either. Too much to do. The search for summer vibes, with a camera, is always a great time.

    Hope it cools off for you. We won’t even pretend to look forward to cooler temps yet, lol. Well except for getaways. Fun post. Donna

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Glad you enjoyed my summer vibes Donna. We’re having much more moderate summer weather now (mid to high 20sC) so we can get out and about and enjoy it 🙂 Hope you continue to enjoy your summer too!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Ruth – it’s cooled down considerably here (from 40C at the start of the week to around 23C today 🙂 ) Yes, that sandcastle is pretty impressive, isn’t it?!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Indeed, no a/c in most UK homes and to be honest it would only be needed a few days a year in the past, but if this is to become a more frequent occurrence we will all be trying to work out how to install it in our mostly older and unsuitable houses! And the heatwave had worse consequences for some, with several appalling fires, one of which burnt down the home of one of my friends 😪 Here’s a news report on that fire, in an east London suburb: https://news.sky.com/story/uk-heatwave-families-left-counting-cost-of-devastating-house-fires-in-wennington-12656122

      • Suzanne@PictureRetirement

        Oh my gosh, that’s terrible. What initially ignited the fires? Electrical wires? Dry conditions? So heartbreaking. I know your friend will be affected for a long while. My brother lost a home to fire some years ago. Very sad.

        • Sarah Wilkie

          I’m sorry to hear about your brother. It’s being said that this fire started in a pile of grass cuttings that overheated and started to smoulder before bursting into flames. Such an innocuous thing to destroy so many homes. One bit of good news though is that no lives were lost nor anyone injured – everyone got out in time.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Ann Christine 🙂 I have a confession to make about that shot. It was actually taken in on a nice day in winter (February), that’s why the beach is so empty!

  • Alli Templeton

    I’m just like you, Sarah, I can’t stand the heat, so I’m really struggling at the moment with these insane temperatures. I’m looking forward to autumn now! But even for a summer-phobe like me, I can appreciate your great collection of photos that really capture the spirit of the warmest season. My favourite shots – I’m sure won’t surprise you – are the cricket match outside Tynemouth Castle and Priory, and of course, that tantalising image of rain! Oh, for some of that now! 😀

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I’m struggling too, last night was especially tough 🥵 But apparently relief is on the way this evening and it will *only* be around 27C tomorrow!

      • rosalieann37

        When we moved here, we had no A/C in the house and we did not even get a window unit for the bedroom for at least 20 years. And in the summer the temps would go up over 100 F during the day for several days at a time. (It has been said that D,C, was a hardship post for English diplomats) Fortunately, the house was built for the climate with high ceilings downstairs, so we installed an attic fan which would pull the cool air in to the bedroom at night. Also we were surrounded by mature trees. The temp would drop when I drove in the driveway. Sometimes during the day i would go to the library which had A/C. I was also driving cars which had no A/C and doing inspections at places like sawmills which were outside. We would fill a 2 liter soda bottle partly full with water and freeze it. Then I would sit with it on my lap. As the water melted, I would have ice water to drink. A luke warm shower is better to cool you off than a cold shower. A cold shower closes the capillaries near the skin and that’s not what you want. When we were driving in the west when I was 10, (and the car had no A/C in those days of course) my dad would tell us to put ice chips in our elbows or behind our knees or on our necks to cool our blood. Bottom line is – if hot weather is normal where you live then you are better equipped to deal with it. Hopefully anyway. I used to do heat stress inspections – there’s some level of heat where blowing air does not cool you off – just makes it hotter.

        • Sarah Wilkie

          All very interesting – thank you Rosalie. At least we have a/c in the car so I was able to drive to my aqua aerobics class this morning and exercise in a cool pool 🙂 None at all at home, and as you say, fans just move hot air around. Less hot weather is forecast from tomorrow, around 26C or 27C which is hotter than many July days here but will feel like relief after today’s record highs!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Amy 🙂 Generally we tend not to travel at the height of summer – we enjoy the UK summer months and avoid the busiest (and most expensive) period for flights etc. So many of these were taken in this country and the few that were abroad not necessarily in mid summer 😆

  • wetanddustyroads

    I see a lot of sun seekers here on your photos! Although I have a tough skin (used to the South African hot sun), I’m also not too keen to just laying in the sun … I would rather enjoy some time with friends at the bar by the Seine in Paris 😄.
    Well Sarah, good luck in (trying) to stay cool in these hot temperatures.

  • rosalieann37

    I hate lying on the beach (or anywhere) in the sun. Your photos made me feel hot and sweaty and I could feel the sand starting to stick to me. Even when I was a swim coach at an outdoor pool in the summer, I wore a hat and long trousers on the pool deck. Both Bob and i have had melanomas removed. If I’m going to be outside in the sun, I have to be IN the water. .

    So I was going to try to figure out how hot it would be in the Fahrenheit scale if it was 40C- and then I saw that “it was predicted to top 40F for the first time ever)” 40C would be 104F – that would be hot anywhere. The record high for my state is 42.8 C and it was in the mountains which I thought would be cooler. In July over here on the east coast of the USA we frequently have temps over 100 F (37.8F) during the day with high humidity. If you are acclimated, it isn’t too bad. My dad, who grew up in Colorado with very low humidity – he never got used to it.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, I’m the same – give me shade any time, unless I can be in the water! In the event it didn’t quite reach 40F today but tomorrow is supposed to be hotter so we may see it then. After that, thankfully, there are showers on the way and ‘cooler’ temperatures around 27F 🙂

  • thehungrytravellers.blog

    Very pleased you chose to include a cricket match in this collection, Sarah – I can’t think of anything more quintessentially English summertime than cricket on a village green on a sunny day. I’m luckier than you – somehow despite growing up in the Midlands I have quite a dark skin and I tan more easily than I burn. Very useful when you travel like we do! (Michaela can take the sun too). Another thing that struck me in your collection – just look at the sea in that Brighton photo – very representative of our seas but so very different from the exotic sea photos from around the world huh. It isn’t England’s most attractive feature , is it!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      My husband has Italian blood and copes much better with sun and heat than I do. When we travel he enjoys it while I endure it for the sake of the other experiences! And I completely agree about that Brighton sea 🙂

  • justbluedutch

    Oh Sarah your gallery is awesome. Like you i don´t like sunbathing as well. I love the beach but but I rather spend active things in the beach like swimming, snorkeling or island hopping, but all day tanning- i guess I don´t need the tan Haha. And with kids, I can´t just lie down the whole time.
    Your selection of photos relive the beach moments I always see. But for me, I still prefer the solitude and pure beauty of tropical beaches and not the crowded ones here .I wish you a sweet time, take care from the heatwave, stay in shade if needed.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you – yes, I’m sticking to the shade today or staying indoors 🙂 I prefer a deserted beach too, whether a tropical one or a winter one! I shared more of those in my beaches post, so here I focused more on activity I guess!

  • Tanja

    I can’t wait for this summer to be over. We had it over 30c for two weeks and now again..it seems that Med climate is changing into subtropical climate… lovely gallery..

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Oh we’ve had plenty of pleasant summer days already this year (mid to high 20s with a breeze). We just have to ride out the next few days and hopefully there’ll be more moderate weather to come!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Wow, didn’t realise it would have made your news over there! To be honest I’m already sick of hearing about it on our news and we’re only just going into the two hottest days 😆

        • Sarah Wilkie

          Oh yes, those countries have it far worse than us – even hotter and with those appalling wildfires. I thought you meant specifically the UK heatwave which is breaking records and causing disruption but (so far thankfully) not had quite such devastating impacts.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Tina 😊 That St Ives shot is a great example of ‘make lemonade’! The weather was rubbish but I turned it to advantage and got some great ‘rain on windows’ shots once we’d exhausted the pleasures of the gallery. And it did stop raining eventually!

  • solaner

    What a wonderful gallery, Sarah. I can smell the salty air, the sweat, and the sun cream. And I really had to smile when reaching your side note to the English weather 😊

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