My mother’s apartment doesn’t have air conditioning. This hasn’t ever been a problem before because the high in the Thames River Valley rarely skirts above 24 degrees Celsius (or 75 degrees for us Americans). An English summer usually demands at the very least a light sweater and boyfriend jeans. It was on this preconceived notion in which I packed; half of my 56 pound (whoops) bag consists of Madewell sweaters and pant options that I had been missing since DC warmed up around mid-April.
The past week had me wishing that 50 out of my 56 pounds consisted of summer clothing in fabrics as light as they come. The UK is having a heat wave.
Wednesday, July 1st was the hottest day England has seen in over 9 years. It was already boiling when we woke up at 8 am in pursuit of Windsor Castle (favorite residence of Her Majesty, The Queen).
The plan was to take the highly functional, always on time (please read: dysfunctional, rarely on time) First Great Western train from Henley to Twyford, Twyford to Slough, Slough to Windsor. It was the perfect day to find ourselves on multiple packed train platforms and in sardine-like train cars that, in a particular feat of engineering, ensure that no air circulates through them, ever.
By the time we got to Windsor the heat had edged up around 90 and my sister’s hair had edged up to semi-afro. She was dragging her feet and I was complaining and my dad was sweating through his shirt, but we somehow still took a minute to stand in awe at the relics from Queen Victoria’s reign and the room of china place settings (sorry, no photos in the castle).
And when Katie and I had ungratefully whined enough my aunt and my cousins finished up looking at old stone and old churches and we found a very photogenic pub, drank some Pear Cider that went right to my head and then repeated the extremely cool and quick ride home.
When we finally got back to my mother’s very hot second-floor apartment and put on all of the fans, I fell asleep face down on the hardwood floor telling myself that this is what I dream of when I’m complaining about winter weather.