Let me begin by saying London summers are great. For the most part, the weather is phenomenal — 60s and lower 70s, in July and August. Unbelievable. There was one day in the 90s and a few in the 80s, but it doesn’t compare to the muggy midwest summers I’m used to. But as I’ve complained about before, the downside to London’s consistently cool summers, is that when there is a heat wave, it’s absolutely miserable because the city isn’t prepared for it. For example, the Tube. The trains and stations are not air conditioned. So when it’s 80 degrees outside, it feels like 100 on the train as you’re crammed up against other passengers in some kind of sick smelly sauna, because a lot of those other passengers have not discovered the wonders of aerosol deodorant. I don’t know how daily commuters handle it. Had I been wearing slightly better walking shoes yesterday, I would have walked the three miles home just to avoid the heat train. I’ve heard they are working on upgrading the trains with air-con in preparation for the Olympics, but I’ll believe it when i see it (or feel it, rather).
Lately I’ve realized there’s another downside to London summers. This one’s personal. You see, our flat is really quiet. Except for the occasional toilet flush that sounds like the Smoke Monster from “Lost” is near (not to be confused with the bird outside who makes the sound that the Smoke Monster is approaching), I wouldn’t know we had neighbors. But I soon realized my upstairs neighbors here have been so quite because they have not been home. Until this summer. You know how Florida gets “snow birds” — elderly folk from places like Ohio or upstate New York who have winter homes in Florida to escape the cold? Well London has an abundance of people from the Middle East who come to the city to escape the heat during the summer. We discovered this last year when we tried to find a flat in the summer and they were all tied up in short lets. It appears my upstairs neighbors are the equivalent of snow birds (what might that be? Heat birds?) I can understand the need to get away from cook-cookies-on-your-dashboard heat, but it seems this particular family loves their stuffy London flat so much that they feel no need to leave and frolick in the park. All day, everyday I hear children running, screaming and singing. When they go on the balcony, it’s almost like they’re in our flat it’s so loud. These children must love London so much that they can’t bear to waste time sleeping, because they are up making noise until 1 a.m. some nights. I guess it still beats my Chicago neighbor who had bumping dance parties in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, as well as at 3 a.m., but it’s a part of summer I could do without.