Summer's here (solstice: 0746 BST), and here's how I know...
Tattoos: Haven't some of you been busy during the winter months? Not content with your body surface in its natural form, large numbers of you appear to have had gallons of ink injected beneath your skin and now you look like a walking art gallery. Until recently these new pagan graphics have been lurking hidden beneath shirtsleeves, blouses and trouser legs, but a bit of sunshine and you've whipped everything out to parade in public. I swear there weren't so many tattoos on proud display last summer. But, really, couldn't you have chosen something a little more, erm, tasteful? That cartoon dolphin is more crass than unique, those Celtic swirls are so passé and that posh foreign lettering could read anything for all you know. I'm not averse to the odd inky gem in the right place, but some of you have clearly taken things to extremes. Alas, acres of virgin flesh have been adulterated by art more reminiscent of Athena than the Tate. And however smart you lot think you look now, I must say I'm not looking forward to Summer 2025 when I'll have to endure sight of all your bleached, wrinkled designs with runny, purple edges. Still, your choice.
Sunburn: We Brits, we're not cut out for heatwaves. While the rest of the world goes brown, we go red. The tube yesterday was full of people who'd overdosed on solar radiation over the weekend but looked more like they'd just been for a ten mile jog. Still, a few hours in the summer sunshine is so much cheaper than paying some dodgy salon to microwave your torso throughout the winter just so that your skin looks 'healthy'. Of course a suntan is nothing of the sort, it's just the fast track to epidermal damage and rapid ageing, but such is the public's desire for a tan that looking pasty white no longer cuts it in trendy social circles. Me I'm lucky, I go brown pretty rapidly, but I don't take full advantage of the fact. Over the weekend at least three different people approached me and asked for the time because I appeared to be the only person in London still wearing a watch. While the rest of you may yearn for an even Bisto colour all over, I'm happy to sport that telltale white bracelet of untanned skin round my left wrist. You may look less freaky, but at least I know what time it is.
Daleks: The BBC went into pre-publicity overdrive for the Doctor Who season finale last week. You must have noticed. Website adverts, mammoth PR plugging and heavy rotation trailers packed with mega special effects - there can't have been many licence fee payers left in the dark by the time 7pm on Saturday came round. And yet the viewing figures for the final episode (at 'just' 6.19 million) have been revealed to be the lowest of the series. No matter that ChrisEccleston's doctor and Russell T Davies' direction have been lauded to almost universal critical acclaim (and rightly so), the British public just weren't interested. No, they were all out in their gardens enjoying the sunshine and overblackening a few dodgy-looking chicken legs. The BBC may have hoped that their reinvented flying Daleks would be invincible, but alas the conquerors of the galaxy have been defeated by a fleet of barbecues.
see also: sandals, body odour, unexpected thunderstorms, salad, baggy shorts, hayfever, flies (and other insects), hosepipe bans, children licking McFlurries, sweat, lethargy.