Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sorry Al, Stick It Up Your Fresco

I have to be honest. I'm really not an al fresco kind of person.
I've spent the last two sweltering days going into the garden, coming indoors, into the garden, back a video tape being endlessly replayed.

This is the garden I spend hours making attractive so I can sit in it during the summer. Yet I know from 50 years' experience that I won't ever sit in it for more than 15 minutes without stomping bad-temperedly indoors because it's too hot, it's too windy, there are too many flies, the heat's given me a headache, I can hear next door's radio.......
......talking of which a neighbour today - after that increasingly rare thing, a neighbourly chat - switched his radio from the usual pop station to Classic FM and Elgar filled the air. Perhaps I struck him as an Elgar type of person. Not sure how I feel about that. Or maybe something more subtle was going on and he was saying that, even after our little chat, I remained an Enigma.

Then there's the chore of having to slap suntan lotion on to the few parts of my body that I expose to the sun.
If God had wanted me to coat my skin in oils and lotions, he'd have made me a woman. Most women seem to do it 365 days a year.
Many women I've worked with, after returning from the toilet, would stand at their desks for five minutes rubbing moisturiser into their hands and arms. They looked as though they were preparing for a session on a Costa Brava beach. I suppose this ritual took so long because if the lotion wasn't fully absorbed into the skin they'd be walking around with dozens of Post-It Notes and Mr Skidmore's Memo on Performance Targets adhering to their upper bodies, like a peripatetic notice board.
But why do they do it? Is women's skin biologically different from men's so that it needs this constant basting? Or is it because men of the heterosexual persuasion are more attracted to a moist woman? I think I've heard men speak in those terms but I'm not sure it had anything to do with cosmetic products and I'm not going to go there.

Then there's the horror of eating outdoors. I have no intention of sharing my food with hordes of disease-bearing insects. If God had intended us to eat outdoors he wouldn't have put caves on the planet.
Even a simple cup of tea outdoors can be fraught with danger. I can't tell you how many times I've been relaxing in the garden with Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and almost swallowed a dead fly or wasp floating on the surface of my Darjeeling.

So until the sun begins to sink below the mobile phone mast and the bells start pealing from the church steeple (which, come to think of it, is now the mobile phone mast) I shall sit here basking in the gentle glow of my flat screen monitor, safe from entomological predations, unmoisturised, but as cool as a scrotum in a kilt.

I had a small win on the Sainsbury's lottery today. Never heard of it? Well, it pays out more often than Camelot.
If their grocery delivery is late they give you a ten pound voucher. So as 11 o'clock approached I was counting down the seconds (there's not much excitement in my life these days). 5,4,3,2,1,.....YES!!!

Admittedly, I'd had to pay a group of boys in hoodies £5 to let down the tyres on the Sainsbury's van but I was still £5 in profit.
I suppose it was poetic justice or karma or something that I didn't get my Toulouse sausages. The delivery boy asked me if I would accept Sicilian. I replied that I never argued with Sicilians in case they were mafiosi.
'You look after yourself' he said as he left, but clearly thought it was much too late for that.


At 5:54 PM, Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

As a representative, but not necessarily typical, of the genus you refer to as "heterosexual", may I cast my vote in favour of finding little so enticing and erotic as a lady dripping with ointments and oils.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Lost said...

We put on the moisturizer so we don't have dry, rough skin. On the face, it supposedly helps prevent wrinkles. Now we are supposed to slather it on as there is sunscreen in it.
I'm with ya on the eating outside thing, as far as I'm concerned I'd rather watch the nice weather from inside than find something floating in my food or drink. I'm really not fond of bugs lol.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger cello said...

I am very much an al freco sort of person. Just not in the British summer months. There's nothing I like better than to eat my porridge outside on a sunny but nippy March morning.

But, along with all the arthopodic threats lurking, the summer here is so humid and sticky, I'd rather be inside too, preferably reclining in a coolish bath, scented with gardenia, and listening to Rameau.

And I have never needed to be larded with cosmetics, carrying my home grown collagen around with me, as I do.

At 1:17 PM, Blogger cello said...

ArthRopodic of course. Sorry.

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Thanks for interesting answers to my questions, even though they were rhetorical ones.
The point is that the cosmetics industry is mostly a massive but lucrative con.
The UK spend on cosmetics is £5 billion. Male cosmetics are now a growing market although most men still buy little more than deodorant and shaving foam.

cello, I hadn't noticed your mis-spelling. I did notice 'Al Freco' but assumed he was a relative of Al Fresco. Bet they're both Sicilians.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger cello said...


At 10:08 AM, Blogger Clare said...

I realy hate lotions and creams. I'm almost phobic (the proof). But I do concede that I'm unusual.

I also have a lovely garden, and hardly ever spend any time in it. My problem is not so much wind or bugs (although I'm similarly intolerant of hot weather), it's that I can't sit still without something very definite to focus on. And I always have jobs to do. And there's no internet in the garden...

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

clare, thanks for the link to your excellent piece.
You are clearly my kind of woman.
Insofar as any woman is my kind of woman :-)

You raise a point that I meant to make in my piece. I find it very hard to relax in my own garden because I keep spotting something that needs doing. Also in weeks like this, watering is almost an all-day chore, even though my garden's very small.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Clare said...

I'm happy to be a gay man's type of woman - suits me.



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