There's special something about a new season on the New Planet. After months and months of whinging and complaining about the cold, the snow, the rain, the foggy roads on a freezing night and the lack of salt to spread on said roads, suddenly it all changes.
The buds begin appearing, the rape bursts into flower and now we get to complain about the hay fever, the heat and the million to one chance that the next Bank Holiday will arrive amidst a late flurry of snow and gale force winds. But then the sun finally shines and we are able to go out into the sun like lizards, to slough off our Winter scales and stock up on that all important Vitamin D.
Now I have observed over time, that when the sun does shine, it sets off some kind of abandoned glee within the breasts of the New Planetarians. Bursting free from the well maintained environments of office blocks and pubs, they find a patch of grass, remove their clothing and lie exposed like pale slices of bacon on a griddle pan. But not those of us from the Southernmost Colony, who already have enough skin damage after childhoods spent in the pool, with no sunscreen on at all because we never knew about such things as skin cancer and melanoma back in the olden days.
As the pasty faced New Planetarians ignore all advice about sunburn and skin cancer, they lie sprawled in parks and village greens, their flesh exposed for all to see and admire (!) and allow themselves to slowly cook, changing from flabby white to puffy pink to lobster blistered red,because 'it's much better to have at least a bit of colour than none at all'. Isn't it?
Sensible dressing also becomes a thing of the past, and at last we get to admire the middle aged men in their colourful long shorts, their vests and most intriguing of all, the socks... with sandals. This is a unique fashion found on this planet, one I have yet to understand, because surely the point of wearing sandals is so that your feet can breathe, so what's the thinking behind wearing them with SOCKS!
Happily, there also seems to be no such thing as what we called 'skaam', as females of the species, no matter what size or shape or colour, feel that a bit of sunshine is just the opportunity to display their arms; sleeveless tops/dresses with bra straps showing, legs; short shorts or mini's that are shorter at the back than the front due to the size of the posterior, and my personal favourite, the stomachs, which cascade over waistbands like the Augrabies Falls, flopping about at will, unrestrained and unashamed. Even the soon-to-be-mums, display their swollen bellies with pride hoping to get a bit of a tan before the big event...or perhaps it's just that they're wearing the wrong size t-shirt?
Would that we all had the confidence to appear in public like this with no care about the sniggering that I know from personal experience goes on behind the hands of sun bed tanned nymphets who wear headbands as skirts and display slender shining legs squeezed into lethally high heels as they totter down the High Street looking down on those of us that keep our batwings and hail damaged thighs well hidden behind flowing skirts and dresses with sleeves.
And we get to exchange comments with strangers like 'it's a gorgeous day, innit?' or 'cor, it's proper sultry like today, eh?'. And we all know that the glorious weather isn't going to last very long, no matter how enthusiastically the weather forecasters predict 'scorching temperatures', and the 'hottest day of the year' and that we will have an Indian Summer, where we will spend our evenings strolling down country lanes picking blackberries or barbecuing (not to be confused with braaing, because somehow pork sausages and beef burgers aren't quite the same as proper wors and sosaties) and anyway, we all know it's going to chuck down rain on the very day we planned our BBQ.
I do miss being able to run out to the pool and plopping into the cool water whenever the heat becomes too oppressive though. Sadly, that can't happen here, mainly because most pools are all indoors and any sort of 'plopping' or 'bombing' or 'splashing' is frowned upon...I mean, what on earth would Health and Safety think about such frivolity?
But the lovely long evenings and the soft pink sunsets are indeed wonderful, and sitting outside on a balmy evening is rather special, even if you do have a bunged up nose, a fit of sneezing every five minutes and scratchy, red-rimmed eyes.
Ah Summer, don't you love it?