It’s Too Darn HOT


Since beginning the post you are currently reading heralding the end of summer and reflecting on some of TheEye’s highlights, all has been overshadowed by the passing of the Queen, a woman who really was a symbol of decency and leadership. For those staunch royalists and those who felt the royals had ‘passed their sell by date’, the queen was held in the highest regard and beloved by all.

In good times and in bad, she represented stability and example.

The Knowledge had some interesting quotes:

The first from Philip Larkin:

‘In times when nothing stood/ But worsened , or grew strange,/ There was one constant good: She did not change.’

The next is a delightful story which even if it is an elaborate ‘urban myth’ is worth telling –

Apparently, The Queen  and a bodyguard once encountered two Americans on a walking holiday near Balmoral who failed to recognise her. One asked her where she lived and she said “I live in London, but I have a holiday home just the other side of the hill. The American asked if she had ever met the Queen. Gesturing to the bodyguard she said: Well I haven’t but Dick here meets her regularly. Impressed, the American asked for a photo of him and the policeman. The queen took the picture.

But back to the Summer

‘It’s too darn hot, the temperatures rising and it’s too darn hot’ sang legendary blues singer Ella Fitzgerald, but who could imagine this might be the signature song for Summer 2022 in the U.K. of all places. In true British tradition, no one was prepared, as they are never prepared for the snow and ice, heavy rainfall and so on. Few offices, hospitals and homes have air conditioning, so it was swelter and don’t complain. Temperatures did indeed soar, hotter at times than Spain, Italy and the French Riviera. In the words of The Sun:Coo What A Scorcher‘, It brought back memories of a film,‘The Day the Earth Caught Fire’ when, similar to recent months it all started with people rushing to the seaside to enjoy themselves but, as it gets hotter, their pleasure turns to misery and then anxiety, until the world becomes a blazing ball of fire. When she saw it as a child, it terrified her so much that she had nightmares; and that was before Climate Change had become part of our lives.

The Notting Hill Carnival signalled the end of the Summer. And TheEye is looking back at some of her highlights.

And where better to start than THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW in June.

Gardens are a gift of love

Hand-carved flying horse

Back after a two-year Covid ‘sabbatical’ and what a pleasure it was to see a fresher look with gardens designed for modern city living, terraces and window sills, not just for grand country estates. A Chelsea for a new age with many references to how gardens and gardening give  comfort and help people deal with loneliness and isolation. Gardens are good for mental stress and allotments are now even more difficult to get.

Any old boot or welly filled with flowers or plants looks splendid on a small terrace

The Queen attended, probably one of her last engagements, travelling around in a pink buggy. The eye missed seeing H.M. but did see another “queen”:

Mary Berry, Queen of Cakes

Mary Queen of Cakes, looking radiant against a wall of daffodils. It wasn’t the moment, but TheEye would like to have been able to challenge her on the pudding chosen in honour of the Queen’s 70-year reign. There were six hopefuls but a rather over-complicated garish trifle was selected on the grounds of its ‘look’, taste, and ease of making with readily available ingredients. TheEye would have preferred something more special and delicious, and I hope it graced the tables of many street parties up and down the country.


TheEye missed the annual opera festival this year but apart from the music, it’s the garden and the setting that make this such a treat. Comparing the picnics spread out on the lawn, looking at the clothes, drinking Pimms, and generally stepping back from reality for an evening.

Two gents enjoying a night at the opera


This is probably the most polished art and decorative arts show with international exhibitors and customers. There is a wide  variety of work ranging from fine antique books, musical instruments (Steinway), to racing cars, yachts and fine contemporary objects at Adrian Sassoon’s stand.

Glorious pots by ceramicist Felicity Aylieff

All of the highest quality it’s a real eye opportunity to see wonderful things. There were champagne and oyster bars as well as excellent restaurants and even the sandwiches and cakes looked tempting. An uplifting day out to enjoy dreaming of some of the extraordinary luxuries on their stands.

Friends of David Hockney

Magnificent necklace from pearls belonging to Queen Marie Antoinette



It was an early celebration for the Notting Hill Carnival returning after a two year absence due to Covid and people were raring to go. Prince Charles and Camilla were there to meet the organisers and get a preview of the amazing and creative costumes and TheEye just happened to be passing. All very relaxed and good humoured on a warm summer’s day. Little did we know that within a couple of weeks time they would be King and Queen Consort, all quite surreal.

An informal Royal visit to The Tabernacle Centre to celebrate the return of the Notting Hill Carnival


A horrendous train journey from King’s Cross to Edinburgh – do you want to know why?  Maybe not, but the unstoppable Eye will still tell you.

The 9:30 train on which TheEye and her family had reserved seats was cancelled (the news given as we were on our way to the platform) and there were no spare seats, no upgrades on the next train, nothing, and a continuous announcement saying the passengers had two choices. Get off the train or be prepared to stand there for over four hours. As the Fringe Festival was in full swing, it was an extremely busy service with people desperate to get to Edinburgh on time. People were sitting or lying on the floor for most of the long journey. A miserable start to our short holiday. One thing that can be said is passengers were very good humoured and even those camping on the not so clean floor in our compartment were calm.

Edinburgh was packed. This was the tail end of the festival. People rushing everywhere and it was quite a relief to leave the city and travel by car to the heather-covered countryside of Braemar. Breathtaking scenery and not surprising that the Queen loved staying at Balmoral (her holiday home for years), where the Royals enjoyed country pursuits  – riding and shooting and just relaxed away from the glare of publicity.

Just breathing in the fresh air is a tonic. At Balmoral, only two days before her death, she said farewell to Boris and hello to the new Prime minister Liz Truss (no comment).

The highlight of the summer in Argyll are the annual Braemar Games and again, they haven’t happened for two years. During our stay the grounds were being prepared and it looked as if it was going to be a splendid occasion. Sadly, without the presence of the Queen.


We had guests this summer and they were uninvited and greedy.

A family of cheeky squirrels took advantage of our open windows and entered the house helping themselves to fruit (avocados, nectarines and apples). They polished off a bowl of pistachio nuts.

Telling this to a friend the next day only resulted in laughter but when it happened to her and she too was ‘invaded’ the laughter disappeared.

Take a tip: Keep your windows closed.

That’s it.

A strange summer over and lots of uncertainty ahead.

Keep healthy and happy and see you soon.

Next week we will see the funeral of The Queen in London and a new future.



  1. A great round up of summer events – lovely to be reminded with lots of your charming photographs

  2. You capture all these events so well, lovely to follow you
    And your observations.

  3. the story about the squirrels was the best bit….! good to read you again Jan xx

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