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Summer sunshine

At the end of May Pershore, a picturesque market and abbey town on the banks of the River Avon in Worcestershire, reached a sunny 26.6 degrees. This early warm weather followed by a wet spell then warmth again has meant the local plum crop should be good this year.
June and July brought us sunshine and temperatures reminiscent of 1976 until parts of Cornwall flooded and southern England saw spectacular lightning displays and golf ball hailstones. Oh to be in England!
Summer is upon us, at least from a meteorological point of view where it lasts from the first of June 2016 until ending officially on 31st August. The splitting of the seasons into winter, spring, autumn and summer comes from our Gregorian calendar, based on lunar movements and doesn't take into account the Earth's rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun.
The astronomical summer starts a little later, on the solstice of 21st of June, the longest day, determined by the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth's rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun.
June is not known for its heat, the hottest day falls in the month only about a quarter of the time. Mid June typically sees the start of peak season for hay fever, which lasts through to mid August. July is usually the hottest month of the year, heralding the arrival of high summer. With July, August is also known for its frequently calm days and marks the second warmest month, although it can be wet in the east and toward the end of the month the first autumnal storms often occur.
In and about the home summer is the season of external sprucing up, decorating and painting, fencing, fixing the pond, enjoying the garden and ensuring your property is in good order. It's an excellent season for painting and decorating with long days, good light and warm drying air. Garden works can be undertaken, usually without turning the work area into a quagmire, although British summers are infamous for making this latter statement famous last words.
In the UK summer also marks the season of fetes, carnivals and in the 50plus head office locale, the annual Donkey Derby where young riders try and ensure their steed at least heads toward the finishing line and hopefully reaches it with a rider still onboard. It was great fun once again and a good fund raiser for local scout groups. Well done to all the organisers. For more information read the feature article.

The image is West Bay, Dorset, England.

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