We are fast approaching the days when even factor 96 sunblock is as much use as extra virgin olive oil and you step outside your house at your peril. Eggs are self cooking, geckos pass out, birds cry 'oh for fuck sake' and drop from the skies and I, being the racial stereotype that I am, naturally like to go out in the midday sun.
Today, however, I went on my bike.
Ever since that infamous day in Austria (circa 1972) when I rented a bike for the day and came back looking like a member of the lesser known but equally untalented Red Man Group, I've known that bike riding and hot sunny type sun do not mix.
The problem, you see, is that when on a bike and peddling around glorious countryside like Lance Armstrong on steroids (IF such a thing should ever have happened....he adds quickly), one has one's normal good sense about the harmful power of a strong sun diluted by the cool, refreshing air that is fooling one's body and mind into thinking it's really not that hot at all.
Then one stops for a rest and.....SWEET JESUS AND MARY MOTHER OF GOD THE PAIN....THE BURNING......THE FOLDS OF SKIN ON THE TARMAC.......
But I did learn, dear reader, yes I did. Now when it's hot and I want a bike ride, I only stay out for a maximum of 6 hours and I always wear long socks. Shirt and tie ? Nope, not for this rebel !
Anyway today my bike ride was just a few hundred yards to the Cafe on the Lake and I'm sure I'll suffer more in the long term from the large hot dog (with onions) that I purchased than from any effects during my relatively short time in the burning midday sun.
Glancing at the temp display beside me, it's hit 85.8F (29.8888889c) outside......wait.......85F......wait......86.3F.
It's one of those days. One of those lovely days that takes me back to another lovely day when I felt this hot. Cue wavy computer screen and swirly type music as the image changes to.....
My first memory of being hot and out in the sun was at school, boarding school. Being pseudo posh, we had tennis courts and during free time between A Level exams, I loved to get out my club and whack a few shuttlecocks. I still wonder why I was rarely picked for the doubles !
I do remember one occasion when I was on court for some time and finally came off to encounter longer and stranger stares than usual from my fellow students who, during exams, tended to sit out on the grass doing their revising. (It has to be said that grass would play a role in the next few years of their education but I'm not one to judge people).
I got to my room, glanced in the mirror and my balls dropped. Again. I should've used a bag but I only had 3 and felt comfortable holding them in my hands. Think I'm digging a hole here........
My face was as red as a politician who just kissed the wrong end of a baby and was then informed it was 32 yr old midget. That was my first experience of sunburn and if what they say is true, it may still come back to haunt me in the future. If not, the Austrian bike ride certainly removed any lingering doubts. I'm doomed, I tells ya....doomed.
So call me foolish or just think of it as accepting the inevitable but I plan on going out into the sun again after publishing this post. Come on...you only live once and who needs skin anyway ? I think it's over rated. It'll be all old and wrinkly soon enough and right now, while it still has some semblance of elasticity in it, I want it tanned. Not burned. Tanned. I'd just like to be the later without experiencing the former.
But I have the same problem as in previous years and it's all down to being a teeny tiny bit overweight. Oi...sod off whoever said obese there ! Cheek. It's my glands. They've very active.
S'not my fault. And I'm on medication. Everyone knows pills are fattening.
As a result of this glandular problem (shut up), I rarely (never) shed my top even at the swimming pool. By the time I return to Blighty, my face, neck and extremities will be nicely tanned but the rest of my body will be as white as a polar bear wearing very white pyjamas. Thankfully I don't plan on revealing THOSE parts of my body when in the UK either so I'll still be expecting jealous looks and greetings like "wow where have you spent the last 6 months then, nicely tanned man ? Dates and invites to parties will inevitably follow.
So in summary, what have we all learned today ?
Well biking and the sun should be mutually exclusive.
Austria can be very hot. Very beautiful, but very hot.
Temps in F are much bigger than temps in C.
Using a shuttlecock will not win you any games in tennis...or partners.
Grass and education go hand in hand.
....if you don't want them to drop, always carry your balls in a bag.
You know it makes sense.