notes from the dorm
The beginning of the British summer at Cheltenham College is usually marked by the shutting down of heating in the buildings, and a welcome spell of sunshine and clear skies that lasts for several days.
For a while, you question the reputation Britain has for its dreary weather.
The stately Regency architecture that Cheltenham is famous for is framed by a background of green rolling hills and a deep blue sky.
What was once a scene of bland streets lined with Tesco supermarkets and fish-and-chip shops, cast in a dull grey background, is transformed.
It is suddenly beautiful vistas of yellow rapeseed fields, awe-inspiring Gothic cathedrals and sunlight-dappled, blossom-strewn avenues.
Having survived the winter - freezing temperatures, sleet and day after overcast day of gloominess - British people are naturally skilled at making the most of the summer.
The average number of hours of sunshine in July is about four times that of December. Out come the tanning lotions, bikinis and flip-flops. At this time of year, college students can be found on every daisy-ridden lawn. Wearing Ray-Bans and sipping cold drinks, they bask in the sunshine as the latest pop numbers are blasted from the windows of dorms.
If it's not sunbathing or playing tennis, it's cricket, and out come the starched white outfits.
Watching cricket played on the college field surrounded by old school buildings and the chapel makes you feel like you have stepped into an antique photo of a high-society club - the essence of Britishness.
College students take advantage of the fact that the sun sets no earlier than 10pm at the height of summer.
Sure, the sunny weather will end sooner or later, but for now, Britain will make the most out of the moment.