Brass Monkeys

File 12-03-2016, 10 41 54Here in England, the season of summer is a short and wondrous thing. I do not exaggerate when I say that our former few summers have endured the sum-total of 2 weeks. And then that’s that; back to endless winter. Honestly, we are still harping

on about the summer of 1977 – a long and blisteringly hot heat-wave; that’s how rarely it happens here. If you’re English, you’ll back me up on that. But when we are graced with summer (very often it’s in May or June while July and August [when the kids are on school holidays] pretty much sucks), everything changes. At the first hint of warmth, people prance from their houses with gay abandon in their droves, clad in…well, far too little.

This is a bit of a bugbear of mine because ‘cautiousness’ is my middle name. I don’t like to be caught out. When summer first shows its face I am scornful, ‘ha, summer? I laugh in your general direction!’. As I drive past the sea of people sporting their
short-shorts and vest-tops I narrow my eyes and I scoff at their naïvety. I shout to myself, ‘it’s too soon for that! Put it away!’. It takes approximately two weeks of consistent heat for me to believe that, actually, summer has indeed arrived and it may be time to put away my parka coat and knee-high boots. So I gingerly slope off to the wardrobe and scour through to see what items of light-weight clothing I have left from the last time warm weather graced our fair isle. And even then I am judicious and mindful of making an error. ‘I may just adorn that pair of shorts – but not with a vest! That is just too much flesh on show for one day! Hmm, yes I do like that vest – but not with that short skirt! Put on some skinny jeans, girl! You know the rules!’ . Or, ‘Gosh, it is hot today…Havaianas or Birkenstocks? Have you gone completely insane?! Does this look like the Sahara to you? Converse at the VERY MOST!’. You see, the coming of warmth creates a huge internal struggle within me. Even though the voice of reason in my head is screaming at me to wear less apparel, the jaded realist who has just survived another arctic winter, bundled up in the largest coat, scarf and hat that money can buy…well; she just can’t accept it. I’ve always been somewhat prone to the effects of cold but when I lost a couple of stone in weight a few years ago, things became far worse. Friends now mock me. I kid you not; I am openly mocked due to my penchant for too many garments for the current climate. But that is my way – I cannot be cold. If you asked me which extreme temperature I would rather be the cause of my untimely death, well I’d say neither; but if I had to choose – I’d rather the heat kill me. And yes, you ridiculers, I’d rather carry around an enormous bag containing extra clothing for myself and my children than be caught unawares! I’ll have the last laugh, you’ll see!

So just to recap – being cold is not an option. And if I’ve made a heinous mistake and come out of the house in less items of clothing than is optimal, I like to reassure myself that my neck and my feet are protected. I won’t have a cold neck or cold feet; that’s just basic common sense. In fact, I’ve already decided on the epitaph to be chiselled into my tombstone (and you’re welcome to borrow this for yours if you feel the same way); ‘She came, she saw, she mourned. She wished she’d brought a cardigan’.

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