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Lazy hazy freezy days of summer

    And so - finally - the sun came out after (approximately) 337 consecutive days of cold and rain. And, following a spring of snow and near constant drizzle, frankly it has been hard not to get over-excited by the sight of a clear blue sky.

    Trouble is, we know from bitter experience that these interludes can be fleeting. And so we enjoy one warm day… and out comes the barbecue. Yes, it may be distinctly chilly once the sun drops but hey - this is "summer" and we can't possibly miss a moment. Let's just ignore the fact we're shivering as we munch on charred sausages and undercooked drumsticks. It's not raining, after all.

    Perhaps that's the thing about being British - sun is such a precious commodity that, having seen it for a day or two, we start believing that by sporting an open-toed sandal and an optimistic air we can somehow make it stick around.

    Indeed, I'm just back from a picnic - a very nice picnic but one at which most of the guests had dressed for high summer and were consequently turning blue with cold and were barely able to speak for the chattering teeth.

    "The forecast did say it was going to be 23 degrees," we all agreed, regardless of the fact that the skies were steel grey and it was absolutely freezing. "It is June," we declared to excuse our summer get-ups, ignoring the fact that by wearing them we were likely to spend the next week nursing ourselves with Lemsip.

    I'm not sure those who live in sunnier climes can fully appreciate our desperation to feel warmth that has not been generated by British Gas - or how hard it is to bare flesh that has spent the last 11 months goose-pimpled under layer upon layer of woollies.

    I have done my best with my whiter-than-white legs, but discovered:

    1) I am incapable of applying fake tan without ending up looking like an anaemic tiger.

    2) Anaemic tiger stripes do not "just wash off" - however hard you scrub.

    3) You should ignore anyone advising that lemon juice will do the trick. Not only will you still be stripy, but you will now smell like a pancake and your every move will be followed by a stream of enthusiastic wasps.

    4) You should not experiment with any form of fake tanning the day before you have promised to take your daughter swimming - at least, not unless you are happy to put up with pointing, staring and confused small children asking their parents whether you are a mutant zebra.

    I'm not sure I can take another summer of pasty pallor. So let's hope that the rest of this one is warm and dry. Just enough to be able to bronze naturally. To sport flip-flops without the risk of losing a toe to frost bite. Or to spend periods of longer than an hour out of doors without having to take an umbrella or a duvet.

    But if it's anything like last year then I'm off. You will find me on a one way flight to Ben Gurion.

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