Cue a raft of government advice on keeping cool, carrying water when you travel (if you are going to London may I also suggest you take a cardigan.
The station at St Pancras is horribly hot under that stunning glass roof; the air conditioning on the hi-speed trains turned down to the level of your average domestic freezer) and not throwing your fag ends out of the window (London firefighters are dealing with 15 grass fires a day.)
You may have been longing for sunshine for the last nine months but now it’s here, official proclamations of gloom also include the cheery warnings that too much of it and your respiratory problems could worsen, your blood pressure might rise and that if insects such as flower bugs and ladybird larvae get thirsty enough they will take a suck out of you if they can’t find a nice wet leaf.
Stay indoors over the hottest part of the day, goes the standard advice, wear loose cotton clothing and use a high factor sunscreen. Might I add a few pointers of my own?
1) GET A FAKE TAN. If you’re going to parade acres of over-wintered flesh – and let’s face it who bothered with the Get-Your-Beach-Body diet this year when it’s been grey and windswept for the whole of June – flab will always look better if it’s brown (or even orange and streaky). You can rub lotion in at home, find someone to spray you or even step into one of those do-it-yourself booths. NB a word of warning from one who knows : but don’t sit with your feet in a swimming pool afterwards. You will look as if you left your socks on.
2) IF YOU’RE A WOMAN, buy a barbecue. Yes, you might be the one stuck doing the cooking most of the year but now is the time to get out of it. Men are genetically incapable of standing aside when there are smoking embers to prod and large pairs of tongs to conjure with. Look useless, fail to get the charcoal alight, and serve up a raw sausage or two and you can then put your feet up for the next six weeks.
3) IF YOU’RE A MAN, use it. Yes honestly, you are so much better at grilling outdoors than we are, and you do look especially virile with that spatula in your hand…
4) IF YOU’VE GOT CHILDREN (and you must buy them ice-cream) carry wet wipes. And could they possibly sit down while they eat? You may think they look sweet with raspberry ripple dripping from their chin but I don’t want to tread in it or deal with wasps. Same principle applies to chips and tomato sauce, fizzy drinks and anything else the ghastly little brats are whining about.
5) IF YOU’VE GOT A DOG, do NOT leave him in the car. Not even for a minute. (And pick his poo up. We’ve already got ice-cream if we want to step in something.)
6) IF YOU’VE GOT A CAR, do leave it at home. It will save you running down all the beach-goers who think summer means not using the pavement, prevent the clogging up of the main routes to the sea and will save me the trouble of writing you a very rude note when you park across my drive for eight hours.
7) PUT YOUR HAIR UP if you’re female – it cools the neck.
8) PUT YOUR SHIRT ON if you’re a bloke. It settles the stomach. Unless you’re actually on the beach, or are under 20 and go to the gym three times a week – less is more, believe me.
9) TINY swimming trunks are for tiny boys. See above.
10) AND FINALLY be thankful. This is Britain. Enjoy it while it lasts.