I remember freezing my first trip to London in August 2000 at the tail end of an incredibly hot three-week European tour. Nothing I had in my vacation wardrobe suited, and I froze for three days.
Such is the plight of many a London tourist who believes that summer equals shorts and sandals weather. Not so when you live this far north and under a rock.
Yet the English are not quick to correct this misconception, as they live in a continual state of denial of their weather.
I have been amused the last two years as I have seen store fronts gearing up for Spring and Summer weather with strappy cotton dresses, hats, and sandals. I have been even more amused when they end up being purchased.
Too, whenever one gazes longingly at terraces, balconies, or the always-lovely English garden between October-March, the inevitable English comment is "I bet it is lovely in the summer." That was Oxford's strongest selling point in the minds of its weathered upper-classmen: it's amazing in Trinity Term, or the term that spans April, May, and June.
The reality is that flowers do come out very early here, and things are lovely when the sun shines, but there are truly only 2-3 days in a year when it is hot enough to wear only the skimpy dresses for a whole day. August is the rainiest month after November, and there is often no air conditioning in buildings for a reason: it isn't necessary. Just open the window.
It is mid-July now, and I can remember leaving the house without a sweater or jacket only once or twice this year, and somewhat regretting the decision later.
Don't get me wrong: I think summer here is the loveliest time of year here. It is brighter for longer and the sun shines more often. Don't quite understand why so many expats leave during the most glorious months in the year. But let's not kid ourselves, my British friends: it aint hot, and it certainly aint hot enough for all the clothes you seem to be selling!