herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Face it ... it's time we all took a break from making the most of the sunshine

My name is Niamh and I have a confession to make: I'm sick of the sunshine.

The first few days of the recent good weather were amazing, of course. There was the initial shock, swiftly followed by the joy and then the sheer disbelief that we were getting an extended period of clear blue skies and soaring temperatures.

Everyone was giddy with the realisation that we could go to the beach and actually wear a swimsuit, instead of shivering in rain jackets in the sand dunes, desperately trying to warm up with a flask of tea and the regulation soggy tomato sandwiches, like we're used to.

It's not that the shine has gone off that particular thrill or that I was ungrateful enough to dare to take a spell of fine weather for granted.

It's more that I've come to realise that, with rising temperatures, come certain pressures.

First of all, there's the age-old dilemma of what to wear when the sun is splitting the stones.

sandals

In the good old days, this was easily sorted. Everyone had the one pair of shorts because no-one ever invested in summer gear. We wore our togs underneath said shorts and a t-shirt over. Men got away with going bare-chested and keeping their socks on with their sandals.

These days, that just won't do. Now you're expected to swan around looking as chic as a Parisian on holiday. The regular 'two weeks by the pool' rig-outs won't cut it either. Try wearing a tropical print sarong walking down the street and see how you get on.

No, you need to be cool and sophisticated, with glowing skin and swishy hair.

All of this requires forward planning and for people like me, for whom planning is an alien concept, this is a very tricky enterprise.

I'm the one you see sweating in the shops as I trail around desperately looking for the last of the shorts, which invariably have long since been snapped up by canny shoppers in the sales.

I'm also the one who's reduced to buying something no self-respecting Parisian would dream of wearing, because I was convinced that last year's good summer was a fluke and I simply didn't believe that we would be lucky enough to have another for at least a decade.

Aside from the fashion, the good weather also brings the pressure to "have fun". As well as frolicking on the beach (and posting selfies of yourself looking bronzed and gorgeous like Kim Kardashian does) you need to eat al fresco all the time to "make the most of it".

This dreaded phrase heaps even more pressure on. If you don't join the party then you know you're going to be heartily sorry when the rain shows up again (which it did, at the weekend).

Even if you wanted to sit inside and watch the new series of Orange is The New Black you can't, because the guilt would be unbearable. No, you have to stay outside and be eaten alive by mosquitoes instead.

Then there's work which, rather inconveniently, has to be fitted in too. It's alright for privileged celebrities, like Kim K. They can relax poolside in five-star resorts, but the rest of us are stuck at our desks.

working

On holidays, the most exerting thing you have to do is slap on more sunscreen or turn the pages of your book. Working during a heatwave is another matter.

Yes, you can escape to the park at lunchtime, fry yourself alive and come back to your desk feeling sick from the two ice-creams you shoved down your neck and woozy from the heat, but it's just not the same, is it?

So hands up who'd like to join me in rejoicing indoors this week, now that the weather's broken?

At the very least we can take a break from "making the most of it".

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