For some reason, each time I return to England, it is sunny. Days and days of sunshine. Entire weeks of nothing but sun and breeze and glorious weather that is so very un-English it surprises me every time.
When I lived here, however, that never seemed to be the case. I needed to keep a plastic grocery bag in my pocket to tie over the saddle of my bike when I locked it somewhere, so that upon my return, I’d not have to suffer the indignity (and discomfort) of a wet bike seat and the unfortunate markings on my jeans that occurred as a result. I cut my long hair short because I could never, ever seem to get my hair to dry quickly in the constant drizzly mist. I once tied the bound copy of my thesis inside three plastic bags to keep it dry inside my bag as I cycled (in a deluge) to deliver it to the Examination Schools.
But the weather for every subsequent return, for the weddings of friends and for the sharing of my beloved former home with my boys? Sun.
“Mom, I don’t believe you when you said it was always rainy,” each child has accused, as he squints up at the cloudless blue sky and asks me to hold his jacket because it is early April, yet strangely it is too warm for such things.
Did I imagine all that water? Did I imagine cycling on dark streets hung with mist so thick I could feel it swirl around me and settle on my clothes? I may have. Because now, years later, my new memories created with my boys are ones of warm, vibrant days; of beautiful sites not obscured by fog but illuminated by a bright spring sun; of picnic-ing on (dry) benches and holding little hands – rather than the handle of an umbrella – in my own.