Broke London

A car crash guide to surviving life

How to survive the British 'Summer'

It is the truth universally acknowledged that Londoners spend most of their time thinking about/complaining about/evaluating the merits and potential pitfalls of THE WEATHER.
If you’re anything like me you will spend January through to March on a rotation of phrases including but not limited to ‘God it’s PARKY out there isn’t it’, ‘urgh this makes me never want to go outside’, ‘I can’t wait for summer’ and ‘Go on then I will have another minced pie/mulled wine/doughnut/three course meal – not like I’ll be getting my body out any time soon is it!’*

*apologies to any boys who have had to see me in my pants over the winter months. It cannot have been easy for you but rest assured it wasn’t easy for me either………

Just kidding I literally don’t care at all! Sorry not sorry!

So as ‘summer’ finally hits the UK it’s easy to see why we all get a little excited. Excited here meaning taking our tops off in central London as soon as the temperature climbs anywhere above 20 degrees and organising highly optimistic barbecues in which you shiver with a coat over your knees whilst the host awkwardly shouts at her boyfriend for not testing it this morning.
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get that beer jacket on quick!

Navigating the hot weather is notoriously hard for us Brits. We burn, we sweat, we get wasted and end up face down in the park next to our disposable BBQ’s.
So in the interest of all (including you male readers who heartily complained about the female slant on wedding dressing. Who knew there was so much panic about how to co-ordinate trousers and a shirt. I could write that whole article in one sentence: ‘go to Reiss, buy a suit but not a hideous shiny one and for god’s sake NEVER EVER wear linen.’ I jest boys I jest! It’s super hard to shop on the high street as a man so keep your eyes peeled for some excellent sartorial advice coming here soon!)
ANYWAY – I thought it would be in all of our interests to put together a handy guide to surviving the great British summer. Here we go:
1) Prepare for all elements
Remember that the British summertime can easily incorporate the most glorious day you have ever encountered and an actual ice storm in a matter of mere hours. Remember this as you gleefully skip out the door in open toe sandals and a sundress. The likelihood is you will be drenched at some point in the day.
Layers are your friend as is a small portable umbrella and a backpack that should contain both a Pac a mac and suncream to apply as needed. Don’t believe me? Head to any tube station in and around the Hyde Park area. Here you will see either hoardes of soaking wet people wearing shorts or people that the exact colour of steamed lobsters. There is no happy medium.
The truth of the matter is that us Brits see so little sun that whatever BBQ or picnic you are headed to will still go ahead come rain or shine and no one likes a whinger.

This leads me neatly onto point 2
2) Always have a plan B
As someone who once went to a party where the actual invitation read ‘this party will be outside however don’t worry there is a plan B, C AND D should the weather not be kind to us’ only to turn up in torrential rain to find the plan B C AND D was in fact a sad Gazebo in the middle of the park, I can attest that a plan B is a requirement of the British summertime.

Sure that picnic with lanterns and hanging fairy lights looked lovely on pinterest but don’t be a nob, book a room at a pub so we can all get drunk without having to worry about resembling Hagrid whilst aggressively hitting on your boyfriend’s mate.
Not resembling Louis XIV I’m not!

Repeat after me:
What do we like?! BOOZE
Where do we want it?!Somewhere warm and dry!
When do we want it?! ALL THE TIME
cough I mean…at an appropriate time like after 3pm or something.
3)Work is still work no matter how hot it is
Take it from someone who once received the following comment from her boss:
‘Blimey its dress down Friday not undressed Friday’
It’s not that cool to go to work dressed as if you were heading for the beach. I mean this seems obvious but if I’ve done it then I know at least three of you reading this have done the same thing.
Look at it this way, if you would rather pour bleach into your eyeballs than envision your colleague you, not so affectionately, refer to as the warthog in a pair of shorts then perhaps its best to lead by example.
Aim for success by dressing in nice light breathable fabrics rather than opting to bare your skin as a means of keeping cool.
I get it, the tube is a hot and horrible place and the thought of dressing appropriately may come second to not sweating out the equivalent of a small swimming pool whilst a stranger leans their entire (equally sweaty) body weight against you. This is where I recommend keeping some handy extras in a desk drawer. Girls for you this may be a light weight cardi to cover up the unnatural amount of cleavage we must by law display from April through to September, boys this may be a pair of loafers (is that right?) so you can swap them for your flip flops (aka natural contraception) for the tube ride home without horrifying everyone with your Frodo toes. Everyone’s a winner!
NB: my desk drawer is actually what I like to call ‘the vault of emergencies’ and contains the following: Deodorant, spare pants, travel toothbrush, nail varnish remover, nail varnish, perfume, cheap spare concealer, batiste, a lightweight cardi and a book on sharks that some dick gave me for Secret Santa last year.  I’d like to say I’m just super organised but each of these items has been added as a result of a crisis that resulted in me adding said items to the drawer forthwith.
NBB: It also contains cheesy snacks.
4) Leave plenty of time for travel
What’s worse than sitting in a tiny box that is simultaneously hotter than the sun and smells like a compost heap?

Answer: Sitting in a tiny box that is simultaneously hotter than the sun and smells like a compost heap having run up an escalator to get there.
LEAVE EARLY. I cannot stress this more. The only way to save yourself on public transport in the heat is to move incredibly slowly, take your time, be able to wait for the next tube and generally keep an enforced aura of calm about you at all times.
If any of these is shattered by the realisation that you are late for work, you can be assured that your hair will be sticking to the back of your neck and forehead quicker than you can say ‘What’s a cow lick?’

I am honestly not joking when I say that one time, after a mad dash to the tube, I was so sweaty that a not unattractive man got out of his seat, made me sit down and then fanned me with his paper.
Do not get the idea that he was flirting with a slightly flushed looking girl. He was genuinely concerned for my health.
Give yourself an extra half an hour – get the longer tube that is air conditioned. Go sit on the delightful fridge of slow moving joy that is the circle line. You deserve it!
Especially, and I can’t stress this enough, ESPECIALLY if you are headed off for a date. There is nothing sexy about trying to subtly wipe upper lip sweat away whilst doing your best ‘OMG you’re sooooo interesting’ face. This kind of pressure does not lead to cool witty quips that result in true love
This is what it results in. This.

5)Remember: Summer makes people randy
Sorry for momentarily becoming Austin Powers but my mum reads this blog and I would like to be able to look her in the eye when I next pop home to eat her food and show off for attention. She already puts up with so much…
Anyway the point of the matter is, if you go to a park and the sun is shining you will only be a maximum of 3 feet away from a couple intent on eating each other’s faces with no shame, dignity or concept of how much you can see up the girl’s skirt.
To those being subjected to this sight – I feel your pain. I once walked down Southbank to the sight of two people snogging whilst STANDING ON A PLINTH. New levels of absolute smuggery.  I’m afraid you will have to simply shrug this one off as best you can. Film it on your phone and put it on social media with a comment about how you actually feel like SORRY for them because how boring must their lives be with all their love and…you know…stability…and…and…regular sex and companionship and OH GOD I’M CRYING INTO MY PIMMS.

Just kidding, throw something from your picnic at them and tell them to ‘eat that instead’.
To the smug snoggers: please be considerate to those of us who may be sitting in that park analysing texts from their last tinder date: ‘What does ‘works super busy right now but maybe catch you later yeah’ MEAN though!?
 6)Be prepared to talk about it
This is actually an all year round tip but especially important in the summer. We LOVE a good chinwag about the weather and when there’s the potential for sunshine to be involved that increases tenfold. Especially at work where small talk is king, whole conversations can occur around whether or not to wear a coat out at lunch and most of the time you’d rather die of thirst than go into the kitchen whilst David from accounts is making tea in there.
Here are some excellent stock phrases to see you through the entire summer season:

  • “Going to be nice on the weekend apparently…ho – ho (work laugh) wouldn’t count on it though!”
  •   “Think that might be summer over I’m afraid” (team this with intake of breath through teeth and head shake)
  • “Hard to know how to dress in the mornings isn’t it!” (NB: don’t use this as a springboard into an excited discussion of the vault of emergencies. It’s practical but also makes people think you are a tad odd/might have a few issues)
  • “Ridiculous out there!” (can be applied for temperatures above 15 degrees)
  • “Ooh you’ve caught the sun” (also one of the best snidey insults you can dole out)
  • “Typical British summer eh – nice during the week, horrible on the weekend!” (matey laugh and nudge whilst walking off to prevent further conversation being sparked)

That’s all folks. God speed! Here’s to an excellent summer of day drinking, eating too much and staring out the window wistfully at work!

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