Watching all my fellow Brits braving the downpour at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was a good reminder of how we take weather for granted over here. Want to play tennis outside a week next Thursday? No problem. Planning an outdoor party, a night in a roofless tent or a two hour run? The weather won't ruin it - because it's not going to rain until at least October.
But before you start thinking it's all daily margaritas by the pool over here, consider the downside to so much sunshine.
I know this may be hard to take if your four day Jubilee weekend now has a severe case of rising damp - but there are real difficulties with living in a warm climate. I'm sure you can agree that having to apply thick gloopy sunscreen to two small children several times a day is no picnic, but the real challenge is maintaining that perfect pedicure. I know. Hard times.
Every second shop in Santa Barbara is a pedicure place. Everyone (and I'm including a lot of metrosexual men here) get a pedicure at least every couple of weeks. Open toed shoes are part of the Santa Barbara lifestyle. Several of my co-workers wear flip-flops daily. Having nude toenails means you're just not trying hard enough. You're practically letting yourself go, and the California lifestyle is less about fun in the sun as it is about relentless self-improvement. You will be judged for your barren toes, so you'd better be a triathlete or a hippy to wear flip flops with bare nails.
-- Interesting aside -- my Aunty used to be a nurse and when she was in training in the 1960s they told her if a woman came in to the hospital with painted toenails they would ALWAYS test her for syphilis. How times change --
It was inevitable - the way to celebrate finishing my half marathon was to go and get a pedicure, and I took Anna with me. It was a big treat. She's had her nails done once before, with a group of tiny ladies for her sixth birthday party nearly one full year ago. Leaving her twelve months between pedicures meant that Anna had come up with an elaborate and much mulled-over pedicure plan. She presented the poor Korean lady with four nail polishes - she wanted red and turquoise on alternate toes, each with a different glitter top coat. I could sense a big tip was in order, and that June, our pedicurist thought I had more money than sense (only wrong because I don't have any money either).
I chose to go for a very deep navy colour, that the elderly lady next to me seemed fascinated with. There I was sitting next to my six year old who was getting multi-coloured alternate nails, but no, she was fascinated by my Boots #7 Navy polish. "Well" she said "that's bold, where did you find that colour, it's very.......impressive". Impressive? Not a word I'd usually associate with toenails, but then, maybe I've actually achieved self-betterment through toenail polish. The American dream.