Lazy, hazy days in the sunshine? You can shove ‘em, says Sarah Powell, who is ALL about leaves and scarves and custard.
“What a lovely Indian summer we’re having!” I heard a lady say to her friend on the back of the sweltering 134 bus into town. I would have turned around to question her, but it was too hot and my stringy fringe was in my eyes.
No one told me we were getting a heatwave in SEPTEMBER so I was wearing jeans. JEANS. I fanned myself with a flyer about comfortable shoes for the over-60s and felt a single line of sweat drip down the middle of my back.
I’m not one for the summer. I’m a rollneck and a shepherd’s pie kind of girl. You can’t eat shepherd’s pie in the summer; instead you have to mess about with couscous and melon. Wine gets warm too quickly and you have to shove ice in it, turning it into a flat spritzer. I did actually once demonstrate a life hack on TV, which was to freeze grapes then add them to the wine, but I’m just not organised enough to freeze grapes.
I am a strawberry blonde ginger person with the complexion of an anaemic Cure fan. I have a dreadful relationship with the sun and can’t go out in it for longer than 10 minutes without looking like the inside of a Walls sausage. At some point I have sunburnt every part of myself.
“Beautiful, brilliant happy autumn with tights and jumpers and boots with socks underneath. Autumn with leaves and scarves and custard. Red wine and gravy and staying in. Jeans and Bonfire Night and bracing walks on the sea front.”
One holiday I declared I wouldn’t even bother to try to “get a tan” (I have NEVER tanned ever) and sat under a brolly smothered in Factor 250. Unfortunately, my feet were left exposed and received second degree burns so I spent the rest of the holiday wincing in flip flops. I also remember one ill-fated Glastonbury trip with an equally pale ex-boyfriend, where we got so sunburnt that we sat in our tent and vowed not to come out until it had gone dark.
One thing that’s glorious about the autumn is coats. I LOVE coats. I own 34, most of which include faux fur in some capacity. On 1 September, I whipped them all out… and have gazed longingly at them ever since. The Indian summer takes no notice of wardrobe handovers. I’m now in a frightful limbo, having already packed away the summer stuff and got the wool out.
Summer clothes are terrifying. It means the usual search for something to wear that’s cooling but not small. This garment does not exist. It isn’t a maxi dress that’s too low cut to be decent in front of children, nor is it denim shorts exposing corned-beef legs. This year there was a new battle with the influx of off-the-shoulder tops. A devil-may-care attitude came over me in Topshop and I actually tried one on. I looked like Little House on the Prairie with a steroid problem.
I am the perfect constitution for autumn. Beautiful, brilliant happy autumn with tights and jumpers and boots with socks underneath. Autumn with leaves and scarves and custard. Red wine and gravy and staying in. Jeans and Bonfire Night and bracing walks on the sea front.
On a summer day, every strip of British coastline is crammed full of people. Ice creams are about £14 and there’s nowhere to go for a wee. In November you’ve got the whole place to yourself and can get a scone and jam for 80p.
Socks are back and strappy dresses have buggered off. You can light more candles than Miss Havisham and it’s perfectly acceptable to have a bath in the afternoon. Bake Off has replaced Wimbledon and there are books and blankets and Strictly. You also have full permission to start everything all over again: you can write your novel/paint the bathroom/take up knitting wholeheartedly.
I intend to have read 26 books by Christmas. In fact, if you want me I’ll be at home, reading and making a pie.
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Having worked in radio for more than a decade, Sarah Powell hosts a weekday drivetime show on Heat Radio and describes it as "where Bet Lynch meets Beyoncé".