The glory of the UEA summer

Although in the current Norfolk climes you’re more likely to get trench foot than sun burn, hope springs eternal for the days when we can sip on Pimms and lounge in the square. While those unlucky enough to finish later on continue to scuttle in and out of the library, pale faced and looking desperate, for those who are finished, the memory of being similarly frazzled fades away with each delicious pint of snakebite.

It’s also time for barbecues down by the lake. Veritable feasts of undercooked economy burgers and hot dogs with sun-warmed cider and melting ice lollies that provide the taste of summer. Text books are cast aside in favour of energetic games of Frisbee. Revision is replaced with keen observation of the opposite sex, finally freed from the extensive clothing layering system of winter. Reading glasses are abandoned as the muscle-laden take the first sign of direct sunlight to be a cue to remove their shirts. Circus tricks are practised, goal posts erected and there is guaranteed to be some prat who has brought a guitar to the lake, but as the sun warms the hearts of the masses, the sound of badly strummed chords seems endearing rather than pretentious.

In the words of Danny Zuko, it is “those summer nights” that really make the UEA summer. Now the need to run home and encompass yourself in duvets before the cold Norwich nights set in has passed and evenings can be spent outside. Pub gardens and back yards beckon, as do badly thought-out purchases of excessively large paddling pools that will be used once, then come September be rediscovered playing host to several species of green crap. After a long day of playing at egg and spoon races with all your model friends garbed in Marks & Spencer clothing, the perfect night of  relaxation is obviously a sing along around the bonfire with an aged boyband member.  But if Gary Barlow is not around to provide the soundtrack to your summer, iPod docks do the job perfectly well.

In early June, the staff of B&Q become confused and concerned at the sudden influx of students seemingly taking up an interest in gardening and investing in wheelbarrows. Little do they know that these barrows are unlikely to ever even see a carrot: indeed, they are far more likely to turn up the day after Pimp My Barrow  covered in vodka soaked papier-mâché and glitter.

If the delights of drinking in the square aren’t enough, why not see what the wider area has to offer? Eaton Park is beautiful on a sunny day and offers a world of entertainment. Take a ride on the miniature train or try some model boat sailing with the elderly flat-capped inhabitants of Norwich. Or for the more active among you, pitch and putt or a vigorous game of tennis could be the perfect choice. And don’t forget that just a short (and cheap) train ride away are the beautiful beaches of Cromer or Great Yarmouth, where giant holes must be constructed and paddling in the chilly waters is mandatory.

There is so much to do in and around Norwich over the summer, but best of all is just lounging in the sun, with friends and a cold beer, enjoying the glory of the UEA summer and revelling in the fact that you have four months in which you can pretend that the library does not even exist.


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January 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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