The Blog

Summer, a Stunner or a Bummer?

Naturally, summer does have its good points. People are happier, nicer and more sociable when it's a scorcher. They're also hornier, so everyone, including the fat and unattractive, have a greater chance of getting lucky.

It can't have escaped your notice, but it's that time of the year again.

And for 3 months, we're all miraculously transported back to a gentler age. Driven there in a Morris Minor convertible while listening to Family Favourites on the vehicle's transistor radio.

"Ms Jeanette Winstanley of 20 Upper Side, Havant, is shortly to be married and after that happy event will be flying with her new husband, Derek, to Malta. Well, a million good wishes coming your way, Jeanette, from your cousins Brian and Gloria Winstanley from Dorking who would also like to send their love to mum and dad, the Thomases at number 18 and all friends in the surrounding area. Jeanette, I think Gloria chose this record as it has a very special meaning for the ladies, particularly the married ones. Because of this, I've taken the liberty (really, the impertinence of that Cliff Michelmore) of mentioning a request from the Roberts family who coincidentally reside in Havant. They have a niece called Lesley who gets married on the 22nd to a nice fellow who answers to the name of Peter. Again, best wishes for the future, Lesley and Peter. Now Jack Jones sings Time to Get Ready for Love".

Along deserted country roads we pass through chocolate box villages where cricket matches are taking place and fetes are being set up to raise money for the restoration of the local church. Vicar's wives showing the faint signs of over-exertion from getting the tombola ready as barely perceptible (to anyone but teenage boys and crusty old colonels) beads of perspiration begin to form between their rarely seen breasts.

The excited cries from the car's back seat constantly demand to know how much longer? Then suddenly into view comes the sea. From the distance, an azure jewel of such brilliance. Closer up it takes on an altogether muddier appearance. But it doesn't matter. It's the sea for heaven's sake, where soon you'll be knee deep in the briny.

The near deserted beach beckons as windbreakers are put up, men struggle to get into their swimming trunks with as little embarrassment as possible and cucumber and sand sandwiches are proffered around.

Alas, the summers of yesterday are nothing but a dim and distant memory in the minds of those who probably still dream of Empire. Maybe they existed. Maybe they didn't. One thing's for sure though, June, July and August aren't always as idyllic as they're made out to be.

There are those amongst us who find the heat and everything that goes with it to be quite intolerable.

Take a visit to the seaside, for instance. You can pretty much forget it if you don't want to leave home at 3.30am to avoid the traffic. Even then, you're likely to be nose to tail all the way. When you do finally arrive- hopefully not just as the sun is going down- every spare bit of space seems to be taken up. Good grief, what time did these people depart or are they still there from last year?

It's impossible to lay down your towel, except if it's a t-towel, without finding yourself atop of the complete stranger next to you.

Much better then to stay in town. Or so you'd think.

Unfortunately, parks are practically as bad. "Do you know where I can find some grass around here?"

An innocent enough question that shouldn't see you in the back of a blacked out BMW handing over a wad of cash. Unless, of course, turf is the new weed.

The trouble is that as a nation we're obsessed with the weather. We're not like our Southern European cousins. They're used to seeing the sun. They take it in their espadrille covered stride.

In comparison, we do not. As soon as the thermometer goes above 45 (fahrenheit), out come the shorts, skimpy skirts, bikinis and flip flops. And this is in the balmy South. Head oop North, to say, Manchester, and it's officially a heatwave when the snow on the ground begins to melt.

Let's be honest, no one wants to see that much exposed flesh on show (even a butcher) and definitely not in a country where obesity is so dramatically on the increase.

Personally, I blame the Daily Express and their exaggerated 'Britain Hotter Than Hell' kind of headlines. This despite the fact that hell has indeed frozen over because, look, there on the front page is an up to date picture of a semi-naked Diana, Princess of Wales frolicking on a remote island in the Pacific, proving once and for all that she's still alive.

Naturally, summer does have its good points. People are happier, nicer and more sociable when it's a scorcher. They're also hornier, so everyone, including the fat and unattractive, have a greater chance of getting lucky.

However, add in the noise pollution blaring from open windows, the increased amount of litter being dropped from outdoor picnics and barbecues, assorted insects biting you to death along with acute hay fever and trouble sleeping...well, you could quickly find yourself longing for the dank, cold days of autumn and winter.

Either that or emigrating to Barrow, Alaska.