Just in case you joined me here a couple of days ago, yes, that was my writing in the sand. Yes, those are my feet. And yes, they really are that colour. Being ginger, I have the kind of skin that goes from deathly white to cherry red in seconds. I have the kind of dermis that no currently available lotion can protect from the sun’s rays, unless it is applied with a trowel. I have the kind of hide that sloughs like a snake if I do not have a trowel and a family tub of factor 90 to hand. Trouble is, every now and then, I feel the need to make the sun’s acquaintance. Once a year, as long as I am able, I take a few days sunny sabbatical and make the supreme effort to turn off from my normal day-to-day concerns. Of course, during that time, I do develop a whole new set of worries: did I turn the hob off; did I lock the door; did I take the over-ripe banana out of the fruit bowl? And – as the holiday progresses – will any of my clothes still fit me when I get home; will my liver survive another seven days; is it too early in the year for my conk to be the colour of Rudolph’s?
As I write this, I am laid (laying, lying?) beneath a big reed-topped umbrella. I am looking out at my place in the sun from my place in the shade. (When I say ‘my place’, it is not actually my place: it is somebody else’s place. I have merely hired a little piece of it for a few days.) I am enjoying the opportunity to look out at the sunshine whilst my worries are washed away on a tide of optimism and gin. Soon enough they will return on a tsunami of reality and milky tea, leaving my newly found hopes and aspirations flapping helplessly on the rocks as the tide recedes.
For now, my hopes consist of finishing the bloody crossword and my aspirations amount to no more than being able to move the sunbed around quickly enough to keep it in the shade and me on the right side of medium-well done.
And hovering over me now, the terrible realities of actually taking a holiday at this time of year. The issue of coming home to find that autumn has thrown in its hat and decided to become winter overnight and that, in my absence, miserable, interminable rain has been replaced by miserable, interminable icy rain. Faced with the cold, my skin, displaying an unforgivable lack of imagination, turns red and sore.
So, you must forgive me but, for as long as I am able, I will enjoy my little circle of shade in the sun, knowing that by the time I get internet reliable enough to post this, I shall be home, perhaps one shade pinker than when I left; perhaps two or three novels richer in knowledge and five or six days short of discovering the true horror that is my credit card account. I shall be back at work obeying the proprietorial whim of my employer in order to adequately accommodate the fiscal realities of my existence – and I shall already be saving for next year’s few days in the shade.
The writing is in the sand…
When you are a ginger, life is pretty hard
Years of ritual bullying in the school yard
Kids calling you “ranga” and “Fanta pants”
No invitation to the high school dance – ‘Prejudice’ (Tim Minchin) – This is brilliant. Follow the link and bathe in it!