Mad Dogs, Englishmen…….and the Dutch

December 16, 2013 at 10:57 pm Leave a comment

sun

Go out in the midday sun…..

Us Brits think we know everything there is to know about the weather…..although I do not believe we talk about it quite as much as the stereotype would have us believe (although I guess I am compounding that view in writing this). And we know better…… not.

The Australians are very sun aware. They are very body conscious. They are very health conscious. They are very gracious with their sound advice.

You will find rangers and life guards handing out free suntan cream on the street. The beaches have free water dispensers to allow people to top up their water bottles. Bar room conversations turn to tales of the ozone hole and of how all light-skinned animals have become extinct in Tasmania as a result of the extreme radiation, and they claim that the ground glows there. Children are not allowed out without a hat and long sleeves. And, the Aussies, like the Victorian ladies of old, dress to go into the water. TV pundits commenting on the Ashes (DON’T MENTION THE CRICKET!) berate the Barmy Army for drinking (and crying into) their beer and stripping to their Speedos while sitting in the sun all day. And the most common advice that the locals have given to my colleagues and I before our weekends down here has been to not bathe or sit in the sun between 11am and 3pm. And, they point out that you can burn through your clothes. They wear factor 85 here. All the time. The sun is so intense you can burn on a cloudy day…in the rain.

And I have bided that advice. I am fair skinned. I have rosacea. I burn. And so every day I have set my alarm half an hour earlier than I would otherwise need and, post-ablutions, I have applied my factor 50 to my face and neck before dressing for the office, including a long-sleeved shirt. And, I only have a five minute walk to the office and the walk is mostly in the shade.

My colleagues, the two Brits and the Dutchman are glowing gently as they sit around the table with me. Two bald pates and one balding spot are radiating like large Christmas baubles the colour of Santa’s coat. Carl spent most of yesterday perched on the edge of his seat. Not because the topic we were discussing was so interesting and exciting (believe me…..) but because his back was so sore from sitting on the beach on a cloudy day. We had to excuse him at lunchtime so that he could go and apply Aftersun.

Their consistent defence has been “I was only in it for an hour”………

But, it was the wrong hour and too low a factor……but the lure of the beaches, the beautiful girls in their bikinis was too great. I guarantee they were sucking in for the whole of that hour….

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British and Proud! Pay Attention While Walking……Your Facebook Status Update Can Wait

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