So… it’s July, right?! Just checking.
For all we think oh no, this summer is a real flop, climate-change, global warming, new ice-age and so on, the weather in fact seems to be settling in to a new pattern – it’s simply that we humans are creatures of habit and certainly in the northern hemisphere, we stamp our feet and say, “We want spring-summer-autumn-winter” like it ALWAYS used to be. Well, it didn’t, actually, and like it or not, we’re going to have to accept that we will have to be a bit more flexible in our attitudes and dress as the seasons shift and shimmer and do as they like. The flowers still bloom
Although our spring was mixed, we did have some pretty weather along with the rainy weeks, and summer just seems to be doing exactly the same thing – veering from cool and rainy, to steamy to windy sun in a matter of days and confusing those of us who think in terms of “summer wardrobe”…
It took some planning to go away for only one night last week: grey rain was forecast north of the Alps, cloudy sunshine on the southern slopes, with temperatures anywhere between 15-26°C. Not easy! Of course, the grey rain turned out to be pretty humid as I sat in the train, never sure whether to remove my cardigan or not, and yet as we sat in an outdoor café under a canopy in Zurich, I needed my sunglasses in the breeze… Travelling down to the Tessin offered a broad spectrum of weather, including rain when we stopped for a snack and snow not too far above the waterfalls pouring down up in the mountains. By the time we arrived in Locarno, it was sunny and dry, the heavy cloud was moving away – but it was also nearly 8 pm and cooling down. Nevertheless, we remained optimistic about the evening’s temperatures, just slipping the folding umbrella in as insurance – of course it wouldn’t rain if we had an umbrella with us, that’s Murphy’s Law!
At the entrance to the piazza in Locarno, where the Moon and Stars festival takes place for several days each summer, we were informed that no umbrellas were allowed… so that was that. Of course, as the atmosphere heated up in anticipation of the bands due on stage, it got ever more grey and as Billy Idol hit the stage running, the drizzle began. Some people retreated to the cafés under the arches, others paid good money for rustling plastic ponchos that simply drenched everyone around them, while we decided that it was warm enough and the rain light enough to do fine without. Billy Idol is now 57 years old and fit as a fiddle, doesn’t take himself too seriously and has been smart enough to gather a great band of musicians around himself – he delivered a great concert of his best and most popular hits plus one or two other unfamiliar tunes and amused everyone with his costume changes and taking advantage of the bad-boy curled lip! Bop till you drop – I think everyone had a good time
…only of course, the moments the lightest strains of “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and purple lights oozed over the stage, the heavens opened, and although Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and band have lost none of their bounce as they head into their senior years, it was certainly the soggiest I’ve ever been at a concert! My new glasses kept steaming up, the rain was streaming down them and fortunately, the sound was as good as ever to keep morale up – Francis Rossi declared that Quo (celebrating 50 years of music!) had brought the rain over and that they were going to notch the pace up a bit so that the audience wouldn’t get too wet (!!!)! I suppose the fact that they’ve all cut their hair off and look “respectable” these days (with nothing but their instruments to show their rock musician status!) also makes them more waterproof than they ever were in the days of the cliché head-banging/hair-swinging heavies! Francis Rossi’s guitar seemed a bit slippery but the quality of the music wasn’t affected and they played some of their greatest classic hits – Caroline, Down Down, We’re in the Army Now, Rockin’ all over the World and so on, as well as several medleys of both their own hits and some classic 50s rock’n'roll. A well-oiled team, they obviously enjoy what they do and they do it to perfection. They have nothing to prove to anybody any more – so what if they were once the loudest band in the world and had the biggest, most expensive sound systems, now they are just Quo, they get out there and do the job – and the crowd adores it!! We were dry by the time we got back to Lugano after midnight – and the following morning woke up to this: