'English Summer' sounds so much more promising than 'British Summer', I think. British summers are all too concerned with rain at Wimbledon, rain on your seaside holiday, rain at every wedding you're invited to (invariably held outdoors). It's a bit of a washout.
An English summer, I've come to believe, is something much more rare, but much more promising. It is cream teas and summer puddings and queuing, and being polite to the people you meet on overcrowded beaches on the scorching south coast. Oh, and it is holidaying in Cornwall, which is what I found myself doing for two days last week, in Polruan village, on the end of its own personal peninsula.
There is something about Cornwall holidaying that is very 'make do and mend'. In Cornwall, holidaymakers wear cagoules and walking boots, pay over the odds and take their dogs along with them. There is nothing stylish or glamerous about a Cornwall holiday, but something nostalgic and stoic and traditional instead. People go back to the same place time after time, for no other reason than that that is where they've always gone, and they know who will be there.
I found Polruan and Fowey, further east along the coast, and probably easier to get to for the gasping city populace desperate for some free air, quite different a place to St Ives, which I visited last summer. There was something more sophisticate about St Ives that Polruan and Fowey just don't have: it has a more high-brow history I suppose, that clear bright light, and the Tate Britain there does add some level of gravitas to a certain corner of it. It's interesting that places along the very same coastline can be so very different in their characters.