I call it “Summer Hystericus” or “fit it all in before winter.” Like waiting to tan in the park or on the roof of the building, we are poised to strike the happy season. Half moggie from inertia and those black uniforms of winter, summer heralds diary madness. London reveals an event explosion. There are free concerts, paid music festivals, theatre performances in about a million theatres. There are summer evenings, Sunday walks, art exhibitons, lunchtime concerts and lots of drinking Pimms and more Pimms down by the river. Did I mention Pimms? It is a feeding frenzy of things to do and, of course, I have to do each and everyone one of them.
And before this spring awakening has even come to full-bloom, a conversation like this will inadvertently occur with any number of friends:
– “Hey, did you see it?”
– “See what? What did I miss? Oh Lord, what did I miss! Did I miss something, tell me, tell me now, what?”
– “The special on BA for seventy pounds return.”
– “Whaat! No way, no frigging way. I got the Easyjet ones, the Eurostar ones, but BA? Is it finished?”
Diaries come out, plans are made and before we know it we are committed to catch a making before Ibiza closes. But little do we realise what exactly we just signed up for months down the line.
The airports, particularly Gatwick, become a hub of maxi dresses and really bad – and I mean really bad – couture heading for the beach. Since when do people wear crappy sunhats and boob tubes at five in the morning before boarding a giant silver bullet that shoots across the sky? Don’t even want to mention the “sunglasses in the dark” terminal and “oh my word, those flower-designs are screaming for burning” pieces of luggage.
Nevertheless we endure shitty check ins and epic LAGS that will sink us before dawn, just to get the most out of summer. All cool though, we made these plans ages. So bar volcanic ash, the odd terrorist and expected strike, we tell ourselves it’s all good. It simply has to be. Yup, then it all amounts to a hysterical dash to the tarmac in an orange plane to find tequila in the sunrise – before the seasons change and tequila seems inappropriate on a cold balcony. Summer is exhausting with its exciting, overindulging hedonism when we all think we are super sexy and alluring to all mankind.
But then comes the real panic. End of summer sales. Last minute specials. Bun fight mayhem and a chance to restore the fading tan. The weakening sun can just eff off. Those annoying children are back at school and the French have gone home, so I’m following them to smell some salt water before I hit that 4 pm autumn dizziness of “where the hell has the light gone?”. And before you know it, that zombie-like perplexity of “what the hell just happened” and subsequent appointments for sunbeds rise and the grey of winter announces its approach with the first rain in September already.
And why not? The calendar is out for next year and then the planning begins all over. Darling might think that things just happen, but I have the diary at the ready pour extravaganza avec le sunshine. Just have to survive the 24 hour Christmas Channel before the silly hats come out again. And then I notice it, the change: I stop seeing pissed individuals singing “mumble, mumble, get lucky” while staggering by the flat in a T-shirt at one in the morning and gratefully realise that the fat brigade will stop stripping in the park at lunchtime and the lovers of this world will stop eating each other in plain sight, as quietly I whisper:
“Thank you, winter.”