May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

This weekend saw temperatures in the high 20s Celsius in the plain of Cheshire. So, it was time for the first (and possibly the last) BBQ of the summer. “Summer” can be a rather vague period in the North West of England. Generally, it lasts for no more than two weeks, evidenced by the lack of rain, snow, or fog, but, can be spread over several months. Well, at least, we had the first two days of it over the weekend – it has since returned to “seasonal norm”.


In this country we are about as prepared for summer as we are for snow. That is to say, we are not prepared at all. For sure, the average Sandbach resident seems capable of laying hands on shorts, fake tan, and vest tops and chavvy baseball caps at the first sign of the sun casting a shadow, even when it is wholly inappropriate attire for the ambient temperature. Fake tan and blue, goose-bumped legs is not a good look at any time. But, there is always a lag of a day or two before the sun cream is acquired, the paddling pools inflated, and, before the deck chairs and BBQ are dug out from the back of the shed or garage and the shelves of Waitrose are denuded of salad and strawberries.

So, on Sunday, I dug the BBQ out from the back of the garage, connected it to the gas bottle, and cleaned it just in time for the arrival of our guests. This was, of course, a “Cheshire” BBQ. No sausages here. Oh no. While we may have succumbed to the occasional prime Angus beef burger, it was otherwise a colourful, and varied display of marinades, home-made BBQ Sauce, chutneys and salads washed down with Czech beers and followed by croquet on the front lawn. A thoroughly good time was had by all and it was good to meet up again with an old friend from university and his family, including our God Daughter, who, like her (non-identical) twin sister, is now a beautiful young lady………reminding us that we are getting older.

I must admit that I do find the summer a little stressful and intimidating. Of course, there is that whole middle-aged spread thing and the increased psychological pressure to turn to exercise, which I manfully resist on the basis that it could be the death of me. I do, however, prefer a generous fitting when it comes to t-shirts and religiously practise the “sucking-in” manoeuver. As a consequence, I am quite adept at holding my breath.

The sunshine is also not good for my rosacea. I am a little “blushed” at the best of times, but, when it is hot I am lit up like a Belisha beacon. It doesn’t seem to matter what “male skin products” I throw at it. I do get sick to death of people commenting “have you been away?” or “you’ve caught the sun”. No I have not! I have a skin condition, which is one of my dad’s crueller genetic hand-me-downs.

I also have to “adjust” to the wearing of shorts thing. Now, my personal theme tune is “Oh Well” by Fleetwood Mac. The lyrics will explain (see The Soundtrack To My Life………). Suffice to say that I feel a little inadequate when my neighbour, the three times undisputed heavy weight kick boxing champion of the world, is strutting his stuff around the neighbourhood in his specially tailored shorts. His calves are a tad more impressive than my own 😦

I also suffer from that strange male affliction of “sock wear”. My legs are generally quite hirsute, in a manly way, apart from patches around my shins, which are as smooth as a baby’s bum. Decades of sock wearing has worn away the hair there and I have been epilated beyond recovery.

So, if you are around the Cheshire stock-broker belt and see a red-headed man holding his breath, with hairy legs as far as his sock line………well, it could be me.


Entry filed under: humour, middleman. Tags: , , , , , , .

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