The stages of summer

We’re in the sweaty, sticky grip of a ‘heatwave’ this week. As soon as it hits at least 18 degrees, we panic. Up and down the country, people are rapidly disrobing with a disgusting amount of enthusiasm. Avert your eyes and squelch with me through the inevitable stages of the proper British summer.

Is it summer yet?

The first stage of summer is ‘not summer’, that uncertain time when we can’t decide if it’s properly started. The sun is shining, yes, but there’s definitely a breeze. And it’s not warm in the shade. Ooh, no. It can’t be summer yet. Pop back in and put a jacket on or something.

Where are my shorts?

Once we’ve agreed it’s summer, the hunt for appropriate clothing begins in earnest. No forward planning for us, no siree. We spend more of the summer than we ought to just on deciding what to wear. Wardrobes everywhere are ransacked for gladiator sandals and floaty dresses. And then we end up taking most of it off when we’re outside.

Yay summer!

At the stage when you’ve found a spot on the grass and located your sunglasses, everything’s peachy. Managing not to get coconut oil on the sunglasses is an extra win. This is the best part of summer, hands down.

Ooh, all this Pimm’s is making me frisky…

Well, yeah, everyone’s getting their legs out. And you’ve had half a jug of Pimm’s to yourself. No wonder your tail’s wagging.


You will eventually get to a stage where it’s painfully (painfully) obvious you’ve been out in the sun too long.

Public transport is an ordeal at this point. No summer is complete without at least one sweltering bus journey. If you don’t have to peel yourself from the seat when disembarking, it didn’t count.

Ow. Ow ow ow ow ow.

I don’t tan. It’s physically impossible. So my skin is either vampire white or lobster pink. Having to match my lipstick to my poor burned shoulders is not fun.

This is actually a much more common thing that you might realise. After the first few days of summer, everyone you see will start to look a bit Zoidberg. It’s most obvious if you go to Asda, where blokes like to wander around in just their shorts with total disregard for food hygiene.

Is it autumn yet?

The slices of cucumber have run out. A 99 from the ice cream van now costs £2.50. The sunburn stings like a bitch. At this stage, we’re all thoroughly sick of summer and wish it’d tone things down… until next year.

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