Hello everyone! I have a special guest for you today. To celebrate the publication of Erica James’s 18th novel, Summer at the Lake, the publisher has organised a blog tour. As part of the tour Erica stopped by Books, Biscuits and Tea this morning to talk about what she loves about summer – so kick off your shoes, make yourself comfortable and give a warm welcome to our lovely guest.
Over to you, Erica.
I’ve always considered myself lucky to live in a country that has such clearly defined seasons. I don’t think I could live somewhere that doesn’t have that sense of change and renewal that the arrival of each new season brings. I enjoy them all but summer has that special something and, of course, we British are so good at grabbing it with both hands and making the most of it while we can, for we know from experience just how fleeting it can be. So here are some of my favourite things about summer.
Rise and shine… The longer days always seem to re-energize me, physically and mentally. Waking up at six in the morning in the summer doesn’t feel half as bad as it does in winter. What better alarm clock than the gossipy chirping of sparrows and blackbirds and the gentle cooing of doves through the open window? It’s a sound that’s guaranteed to get the day off to a good start.
As fragrant as a rose… As a gardener I love to see all the new growth in the garden once the warmer weather arrives. Is there anything more uplifting than the sweet smell of roses and the calming scent of lavender, or even the milky smell of freshly cut grass?
The good life… Breaking off from work during the day to go for a wander in the garden while helping myself to a home grown lettuce, some tomatoes and a handful of radishes and spring onions is one of life’s simplest but greatest pleasures. The first time I dug up my own potatoes I was so excited I’m sure my squeals of surprise and delight were heard for miles around.
Nostalgia… On a summer’s day even a quick trip to the shops is a pleasure when the hedgerows of the country lanes are full of cow-parsley and wild flowers; for some reason it’s a sight that always reminds me of being a child and of long sun-filled, carefree days spent playing out.
Traditions that have to be upheld… There are certain things that just have to be done in the summer. For some it’s the absolute law of summer to throw together a barbecue and fill the neighbourhood air with the smell of charred meat while quaffing vats of Pimms. For me it’s carved in stone that I must watch Wimbledon, and I think it’s a throwback to when I was a teenager and watched the likes of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe battling it out. My other great summer TV tradition is watching Glastonbury. I’ve never been and never will, but I do enjoy watching it from the comfort of my mud-free sofa, mostly because it reminds me of years ago when my youngest son and I used to watch it together.
La dolce vita… I’m lucky to be able to divide my summer between my house in Cheshire and my apartment at Lake Como. If I can make the timing work, I like to spend a month at the lake writing and, as you’d expect, summer there is a very different matter. With its constant buzz of activity, it’s the polar opposite to the tranquility of home.
Flimsy frocks… I love being at the lake in the summer when the weather is reliably hot and I get to wear proper sundresses. I might be kidding myself, but the moment I slip one on I feel instantly younger and more stylish!
Al fresco… The warmer weather also means al fresco dining is a way of life and it’s a pastime that provides me with hours of happy people watching, whether it’s tourists or locals.
Swimming… When the temperature rises above 32c, that’s when I’ll break off from writing and go for a swim in the lake – it takes me all of two minutes to get down to the water’s edge. I love bobbing about in the refreshingly cool water and looking up at the clear blue sky and the mountains surrounding the lake, especially if I’m there alone and feel like I have the lake entirely to myself.
Any excuse for a party… Throughout the summer the towns and villages dotted around the lake take their turn in putting on a firework display, usually to celebrate the anniversary of an important date in local history. The most spectacular is held on Isola Comacina as part of the festival called the Sagra di San Giovanni and is in memory of an ancient and fierce battle that raged between Milan and Como. It’s actually incredibly moving towards the end of the show when a silence falls and the island glows a deep, deep red as though on fire.
Going topless… There’s nothing that says summer is here more than being driven around the lake by a friend in his open-topped car – hair tied up, sunnies on, glamour pumped up to the max!
Whether it’s spent home or away, summer always lifts my spirits and enables me to work and play that little bit harder. I hope it does for you too.
Courtesy of the Orion team, I have a special giveaway for you guys. For your chance to win a lovely bunch of flowers (in the form of an Interflora gift card), leave a comment below saying what YOU like best about summer. The giveaway runs until the 14th June, 2014. The winner will be selected at random and contacted by email.
Good luck! 🙂
About the book
Lake Como – beautiful, enchanting, romantic…
For Floriana, it is the place where the love of her life is getting married to another woman. And she’s been invited to the wedding.
For Esme, it is where, over 60 years ago, she fell in love for the first time. So often she’s wondered what happened to the man who stole her heart – and changed the course of her life.
Adam is in danger of burying himself entirely in his work after his girlfriend left him. Could a trip to Lake Como be the distraction he needs?
Now it’s time for each of them to understand that the past is not only another country, it can also cast haunting shadows over everyone’s lives…