The summer of ’76, the hottest summer on record, that could well be until the summer of ’18 which is proving to be blisteringly warm and like ’76, some parts of the UK are going to face a hose pipe ban as the water authorities struggle to meet demand. There’s something quite ironic about a country the size of the UK that is surrounded by water, not being able to supply enough to residents.

But what about those oceans and seas? As you may know our office window has the most spectacular view across Lyme Bay and this week, it has been more than a little tempting to down tools and go for a quick dip, but there has, as always, been masses going on which means no midday trips down to the cooling waves, because to add to the mix, this week we’ve had a work experience girl with us.

she was thrown in at the deep end

I’m pretty sure when she opted for the Marine Theatre she was thinking along the lines of live theatre, maybe helping backstage with lines or costumes and the odd bit of impromptu acting, but with the Marine’s diverse range of programming, projects and venue hire, she was thrown in at the deep end and found herself helping with show tickets, our youth drama group, front of house and a wedding.

There’s nothing like working to a tight deadline and this week our lovely builder, Gary, had to pull out all the stops to make sure our new loos were ready to use no later than Friday when the wedding party arrived to decorate the auditorium. He wasn’t just up to the wire, he was over the other side as he put the locks on the cubicle doors just as everyone arrived and was sweeping up as the boxes and bags were being brought in.

There was a great party atmosphere as bunting was hung from the rafters and the scent of flowers filled the air, that and the smell of popcorn. There was a very large quantity of popcorn and some Woolworth pick ‘n mix type scoops to dish it up. It was a humanist wedding with the legal part taking place over in the Guild Hall and the fun part of the ceremony happening at the Marine. Local caterer and wrap maker extraordinaire Ali McLoughlin was doing the catering and the wedding party brought in their own vintage crockery. A multifarious melange that reflects the lifestyle of the happy couple. But then that’s the beauty of using the Marine as a wedding venue, it really does lend itself to every sort of style and fashion.

Claire and I decided we would have a go

We also had a big drinks delivery this week including a cask of beer from Lyme Bay Brewery that has to be left to settle before it can be ‘tapped’ and this time round our bar manager, Claire and I decided we would have a go at doing it but last time it was Alf from Lyme Bay that did it and he got very wet. There’s a knack to banging the tap into the cask without getting soaking wet as the beer tries to escape before you have pushed the tap all the way home. So Claire held the tap and her mallet (£1.50 from the Rainbow store and ideal of banging in windbreaks), I stood by with the tea towel.

After several failed attempts, by which time the hilarity of the whole thing had reduced us to fits of giggles, Gary came along, having sorted out the loo door locks but before sweeping up, with his very much larger builder’s mallet and after being given instructions, gave it an almighty whack without so much as a soupçon of beer spilling anywhere.

Anyway, by now the wedding party was in full preparation swing with music being played, a team of people laying out the tables and our technician doing his bit so any chance of concentrating on my work was quickly evaporating and anyway, it was baking hot.

So with the late afternoon sun still blazing in the sky, I grabbed my swimming bag and headed down to the ocean. I lived in Nottingham during the summer of ’76, so despite the fact I have to pine after the cooling seas at the hottest part of the day, thank goodness I live near the Lyme Regis seaside in the summer of ’18.

The summer of ’76, work experience & a humanist wedding
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