It evokes images of country gardens filled with wild flowers, outdoor festivals, fun filled longer days and flowing dresses. Cream teas, Pimms, strawberries and cream, Wimbledon tennis, and cricket matches.  Lazy sunny weekends spent enjoying our awesome British countryside. And even if it rains we get to see lots of greenery!  Our summer wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t don our wellies!

And then there are the countless barbecues… soon as the sun shines there is a barbecue invite. And how we have extended our “barbie” recipe repertoire over the years.   Of course sausages are on the menu, but not just plain sausage meat…quorn for the veggies; lamb and tomato; venison; turkey and cranberry; chicken with basil – the choice is endless.  Although, nothing beats the classic beefburger!  But, it is the range of marinades we use and the way we are now experimenting so much with fish, fruit and vegetables that tantalises our tastebuds. Please note it is always advisable to precook meats in the oven and finish them off on the barbecue.  Make sure that burgers, sausages, chicken and all meats are properly cooked by cutting into the meat and checking that it is steaming hot all the way through, that none of it is pink and that any juices run clear. And if it rains or is too cold we “barbie” in the garage and bring the food inside to eat in the kitchen or conservatory.

I went to a lovely barbecue last weekend.  The weather had been glorious and I went walking around the Duke of Norfolk’s estate surrounding Arundel Castle.  The temperature must have been 25degrees during the day so an early barbecue was just the ticket!  My hostess fed us appetisers whilst her husband slaved on the barbecue. But what an array of foods he created……hoisin pork chops, beefburgers, quorn sausages, cajun chicken wings, devils on horsebacks stuffed with cocktail sausages rather than prunes, fresh trout , roasted onions, sweet potatoes and corn on the cob all cooked on the barbecue.  We indulged outside but once the evening set in we retired to the conservatory.

The conservatory has a glass roof and was boiling hot.  Two fans tried to help us cool down as did some ice cold drinks and Eton Mess, but it was still overpoweringly hot.  My friend told me that she loves her conservatory and it is a great family room as she has 4 children, but they just can’t enjoy it all year round.  She was thinking of moving as they need the space. But she loves the openness of the conservatory and the view of her large sunny garden.

I mentioned that she could look into the SupaLite lightweight tiled roof.  This would allow her to use her conservatory 365 days a year whatever the weather.  She was concerned that the roof might be too heavy and make the room too dark.  I explained that the roof was only the same weight as a glass roof and that once the inside of the roof is plastered most people paint it white which reflects the sun.  Plus, she could have roof windows installed in the roof if she thought it was necessary.  She asked me lots of questions and I showed her the video on our website that actually answered them all!  Because her home is full with her family now that the summer holidays have begun she has decided that she will have to wait until mid-September to have it done, once her twins return to University.  Meanwhile, she will keep on using the fans and hope it doesn’t rain too loudly on her roof.  But it wouldn’t be a British summer if it didn’t rain!!!