Ah the summer. A joyous time, full of sunshine and happiness and ice cream cones and laughing children. Or not, as the case may be. Call us old codgers if you will but we can’t help but see the potential disadvantages of this supposedly splendid season – the lurking disasters that threaten to strike at any time without warning.
Here are a few you may find familiar…
1) The holiday jealousy heart attack
Facebook is officially bad for your health. As are Instaphoto, Twitpic and Snapchatter (did we get those right??). Throughout the summer, social media is stuffed with pictures from around the world – Mauritius, Gran Canaria, the Seychelles – all golden sands and blue skies, cocktails with little umbrellas and, worst of all, golden brown “look at me, I’m on holiday!” hotdog leg photos. When all you’ve got to look forward to is seven long nights at Butlins, it’s enough to give you a heart condition.
Solution: Defriend anyone who is venturing beyond the shores of our little island and drink colourful cocktails until you start to feel better.
2) The day the charcoal runs out
After weeks of rain the sun has finally made an appearance – time to fire up the barbecue! Only you haven’t got any charcoal. No problem. There’s a garage round the corner. Oh, they’re sold out. Never mind, the supermarket usually has some. Hm, not today though. Several futile attempts later you are forced to grill your sausages and chicken wings in the oven, leaving them in there for far longer than necessary in order to get that authentic burnt taste (it’s not the same though, is it?).
The solution: Stock up now. It’s the only way. Fill your shed, the cupboard under your stairs, whatever space you can find. You can always sell the excess to your neighbours for a profit later.
3) The ‘where the heck is that $*@# document?!’ moment
You can guarantee it: every summer without fail, just as the office is starting to resemble the Marie Celeste, a client will ring up demanding some important old report or other essential document that was archived months ago. And because Marjorie is on holiday and she’s the only one who understands the filing system (or is brave enough to venture into the storage room) your hands are tied. Which is not going to go down well with the client. Or your line manager.
Solution: Dispense with Marjorie! Not literally, obviously. Just ensure you don’t need her to find stuff for you by getting us to take care of your archives. We use a clever barcoding system in our custom built storage facility in Bridgwater so that we can find any document pretty much instantaneously, and we can deliver them back to you within 24 hours either as a scanned copy or in original hard copy.
4) The misjudging of the exact strength of the sun
This is England. It rains in the summer. Except when it doesn’t. Then we’re both excited and bewildered by the ability to venture outside without the need for socks or an emergency umbrella (just in case). All of that sunshine can go to our heads a bit. We haven’t got used to putting suncream on yet, we weren’t expecting to have to use it unless we unexpectedly won a free trip to Dubai. So inevitably, on that first day when the thermometer creeps above 20C, we burn. And then spend the rest of the summer peeling and wearing factor 50.
5) The double booking of the village fete and the Wimbledon final
Wimbledon. It’s a British institution. Like the Queen’s speech, pubs and spotted dick. Missing the final is unacceptable. And yet you promised Doris that you’d run the tombola stall at the village fete that weekend. You really should have checked the date more closely but the WI ladies were looking at you so expectantly…
Solution: Switch with Mabel and offer to bake a few cakes for the tea stand. If that doesn’t work, make a generous donation to the church roof fund and all will be forgiven.
So there we have it. Five foolproof ways to avoid common British summer disasters this year.