It starts here...

...the summer, that is.

After another sensationally busy week (this one more diabolical and bad news-bearing than most) it looks as if a bakingly hot and sun-drenched weekend is upon us. 85 flippin' degrees Saturday AND Sunday? Crikey. Best dig out my factor 8000 sun block.

Another big (and very obvious) differential between ol' Blighty and the USA is the weather. Of course, with America being so big a broad spectrum of climate is a prerequisite, though the intensity is what surprises me most: NYC in the middle of August is a humid cauldron of Hades, and these conditions are about as non-Ben-friendly as can be. The same month in Florida I hear is unbearable. The winter, by contrast, can be formidably cold and equally unpleasant in most parts of the country. We spent Christmas up in Maine, blanketed by snow, feeling as seasonal as can be. It was also bloody cold (7 degrees Fahrenheit when we arrived; about -14 Celsius) but far less excruciating than the four or so months I'm now staring in the face. Air Conditioning unit: get set to be my saviour.

In a nutshell, it highlights how much of a wuss I am when it comes to temperatures most Americans think nothing of; these guys are absolutely used to it. Sure, it rains a lot in England, and it can get a little cold in winter. It might even feel slightly oppressive in the summer. For like a day. But it's generally very tepid condition-wise, and it's not until a pasty little (big) British white boy like me is taken out of his natural environment that reality sets in.

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart" --Celia Thaxter

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance" --Jane Austen