Becky says things about … a plea for summer

Dear The Rest of the World

Hello. My name is Becky. I live in England.

Someone’s got to.

I am writing on behalf of my country. This is not a begging letter as such; it’s more of polite request from one nation to another at a time of crisis.

You see, we in England – you know, that poor sod of a country that looks like a toddler has been sick on the world – have just been informed by our Weather Lords (otherwise known as the Met Office) that we, to put it bluntly, can shove our summers up our flabby English arses.

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Apparently, due to the fact that the Atlantic is going through a ‘warm spell’, we are going to get rained on. For a decade. Possibly two. One of our wonderful newspapers – ironically called The Sun (oh, such vicious irony) – reports it here.

Now, clearly we are not thrilled by this news. We love summer. We haven’t had a proper one since 2006. There are 5, 6, 7 year-olds in this country who don’t know what summer is. In fact, if we were to suddenly have a summer, it may cause them psychological damage.

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To understand our plight, here are some useful statistics:

  • English families own an average of 49.6 umbrellas per household.
  • More English people die on the one sunny day of the year in the stampede for BBQ coals and sausages than in the rest of the 364 days of the year put together.
  • In England, yearly sales of an expensive perfume made from scrapings of goat’s bladder and guinea pig mucus are higher than sales of sun cream.
  • The average 6 year-old thinks a ‘bucket and spade’ is the name of a level on Mario Kart.
  • The average English person cannot watch an episode of Baywatch without crying. Not at David Hasselhoff’s beauty, but at the weather.

(Statistics provided by beckymakesupstatistics.com.)

But we are a nation of triers. We stoically stand around in mud at our music festivals (curative trench foot measures really have improved). We like to keep our gardens looking nice even though we can only spend three days a year sitting in them. We love a BBQ. Boy, we just love a BBQ.

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But you know what?

It’s rubbish.

We have lived in a damp, dark cave for too long. And it’s only going to get worse.

So please. This is a plea to the rest of the world to HELP US. For the love of God.

HELP US.

Australia: you have heaps of sun. I mean, do you really need it all? Don’t you get tired of it? Constantly feeling sweaty, always having to take cool-down showers? It must be really, really irritating. And you don’t even have enough people to appreciate it! 23 million people! In a country  31 times the size of England.

Come on. Does that sound fair? I’m sure all that dirt and rock is really making the best of your endlessly sunny days.

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And Greece. Your weather is lovely. I was on your sunny shores just recently, and I got more Vitamin D in 10 days than I’ve had in the last 10 years. Yeah, I know you’re a bit strapped for cash at the moment, and things aren’t great, so why not ship over some of your sun to us! Think what you’d save on the air conditioning!  The woolly jumper industry would go through the roof!

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Our chums in America. Or buddies, if you will. Hi there. You remember us. We’re like you’re cute little sister who keeps falling over and hurting her knee. You like us. Will you help us out? I know you’ve got loads of sun because I’ve been to lots of your states. It took me a mere 20 minutes to get sunstroke in Death Valley. Is that necessary? Can’t you turn the heat down a bit? Give us a few degrees? And what about Utah? I saw nothing but blue skies in Utah, and there is a lot of empty space in that state. Florida? Fed up with us pasty English folk descending on you every month of the year and eating all your doughnuts and talking loudly about how nice the weather is in the queues at Disneyworld? Well give us some sun to take home with us and we’ll stay in our country a bit more and won’t bother you. 

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I don’t know how you’re going to do it. I don’t know which airline offers the best rates on transporting sun. I don’t know whether you can take it as hand luggage or whether you’d have to check it in. I just don’t know. I’m just asking you to help us. Please. Send us some sun. Don’t keep it all to yourselves. Share and share alike.

And as I wrote that sentence, the sun came out. Whoever sent that over: THANK YOU.

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It’s gone back in again. STOP PLAYING MIND GAMES WITH US. WE ARE FRAGILE AND PRONE TO WEATHER-INDUCED HYSTERIA.

Thank you for listening

Kind regards

Becky (on behalf of England) xx

Becky says things about … a series of poor cycling decisions

I decided to go for a bike ride this morning. That was poor cycling decision number 1.

I merrily hopped on my bike, popped in at my boyfriend’s bicycle shop to get the tyres pumped up and to give it a bit of a clean (my bike, not his shop – that would be kindness to the point of stupidity), then I whizzed off, filled with the joys of life and looking forward to nice long, calamity-free bike ride.

Then I decided to go off-road. That was poor cycling decision number 2.

I spotted a dirt track leading into woodland off the main road. Feeling adventurous, I went for it. It was all going well – it was a little muddy here and there but nothing by trusty steed and spectacular riding skills couldn’t handle – until I came to a fork in the track. It looked like this:

A normal person who have taken the left-hand track. The one that was paved and fringed with woodland flowers, and promised happiness and delight at every turn. Instead, I made poor cycling decision number 3 and took the right-hand track.

Now, as those of you who live in England will be aware, we have had quite a lot of rain recently. And when I say quite a lot of rain, I mean we’ve had more rain than if we’d rung up God and said ‘Tell you what, God, you know all that rain you’re storing up there that’s got to last for the whole world until the end of time? Well, just for a laugh, why don’t you dump it all on England every day for about six weeks, and we’ll see what happens?’

That’s a lot of rain. So, as everyone knows, when rain falls on a ‘dirt track’, it ceases to be a ‘dirt track’, and instead becomes a ‘steaming river of mud and shit and oomska through which no cyclist should ever attempt to cycle’.

I realised after about seven seconds that I’d made a poor decision and that to continue on this track would mean nothing but doom, mishap and woe, but, in a move that was to become poor cycling decision number 4, I did not turn back and take the flower-lined track to eternal joy and salvation. No. For some reason I battled on.

The mud became deeper. The puddles became wider. The bicycle became harder to manoeuvre. My sense of self-hatred became more acute. Soon, it was impossible to carry on riding unless I wanted this to happen:

So I dismounted. This instantly became poor cycling decision number 5, as I’d chosen to dismount right in the middle of an enormous puddle of scummy, muddy, watery sludge, and my very expensive trainers paid the price for aforementioned poor decision.

So I proceeded to push my bike through the ghastly oomska, wading through this river of shit, mud seeping through my expensive trainers, through my socks, and into my delicate feet, until I came to another fork. This time there was no decision to be made as both tracks promised exactly the same thing, so I thought I’d stick with consistency and went with the right-hand track.

This turned out to be poor cycling decision number 6, as the gentle purr of traffic that had comforted me so far, reminding me that I was in a wood surrounded by busy main roads and dry pavements, became softer and softer until it was nothing but a whimper. But I ploughed on. I stumbled and tripped and swore my way through the mud, falling over a submerged tree root at one point so that I fell on one knee and damn-near drowned.

Eventually, just when I was on the verge of setting off some flares, I began to hear the traffic again; it got louder and louder, and then there was light: a beautiful, greyish, weak ray of sunlight at the end of the track, which meant I had made it through this infernal swamp of despair and had returned to the main road. I emerged, sweating, panting, covered in shit, but thankful to be alive.

So I found a nice dry bit of pavement, got back on my bike and, eager to be home so that I could make myself not covered in shit anymore, started peddling very fast. This was immediately poor cycling decision number 7.

I eventually arrived home. I stumbled to the front door, peeled off my mud-caked expensive trainers and my mud-caked socks, opened the door, and had to crawl through the hallway on my hands and knees to prevent getting my mud-caked feet on the carpet. Just as my mud-caked bum was in the air, the neighbours chose this point to pass by, and, obviously alarmed by the sight of me on my hands and knees in the middle of my hallway with the front door wide open, they gingerly inquired after my health.

After which I crawled upstairs, peeled off the rest of my mud-caked clothes, and I think it was in the shower when I vowed that I would never get on a ****ing bike again as long as I ****ing well lived.

 

Becky says things about … the Great British summertime

Imagine if you can, dear reader, the following situations:

1) Your pal rings you up one morning and says ‘Hey there chum, do you fancy going to the seaside for the day? We can sunbathe on the beach, build sandcastles, lark around on the pier and eat ice cream until we feel dizzy.’ And you reply ‘That sounds brilliant! Let me just find my bucket and spade and it’s game on!’

2) Your pal rings you up one afternoon and says ‘Hey there chum, do you fancy going for a stroll along the river in our shorts and sandals? Perhaps we can stop for a strawberry split and an ice cold lemonade along the way.’ And you reply ‘That sounds super! Let me just slap on a bit of suncream and I’m there!’

3) Your pal rings you up one evening and says ‘Hey there chum, do you fancy coming over for a BBQ? I’ve got sausages, burgers, kebabs, AND haloumi, I’ve covered our laurel bushes with fairy lights and I’ve got smooth jazz on.’ And you reply ‘That sounds marvellous! I’ll just pick up some champagne and some strawberries and I’ll be right over.’

4) Basically any situation that involves your pal ringing you up and suggesting doing outdoor things.

You can’t imagine it, can you? I mean, you literally cannot imagine a situation where any of those things would ever happen.

I shall tell you why that is, dear friend. It is because

it has rained for the past one thousand years.

It is July 2nd. The summer holidays are almost upon us. We are hosting the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. Our country is providing the roads on which the greatest cycling athletes known to Man will attempt to display their incredible Olympic-standard skills.

We are supposed to be showing off our green and pleasant land, shouting to the world that Britain isn’t this sad, gloomy place where everyone is miserable, pale and slightly unwell-looking, and where no one has even heard of Vitamin D.

Instead, we shall confirm to the world that all of the above are true, we will give hypothermia to important state members of foreign countries, we will kill off most of the world’s tourist population by providing healthy doses of trench foot as they stand watching the 100 meter sprint in three feet of mud, and still it will continue to rain.

Reader, I remember summers that were sunny. I remember frolicking on sunny Cornish beaches, I remember hot afternoons eating chicken drumsticks in National Trust gardens, I remember long, warm evenings where the air was filled with the smell of roasting meat, where lights twinkled in the blue dusk and I ate Kettle Chips until it was no longer safe to do so. I remember this. Was it all a dream? Have I gone mad? Have I been imagining a place that doesn’t exist?

We can only sit and wait. Wait until this disgusting, miserable, foul, revolting, repulsive, horrendous, shitty weather has a word with itself, the sun remembers it’s supposed to be working and gets off its lazy arse, and we all get that obligatory British strip of sunburn over one shoulder.

Becky says things about … people with umbrellas

Today has taught me two things: in general, people cannot be trusted with umbrellas, and eating Haribo late at night is not conducive to a good night’s sleep, but that last point is by the by.

People just cannot use umbrellas safely or sensibly. They think that the mere act of holding an umbrella provides them with an extra 12-foot radius of personal space that is not only impenetrable, but in which they are free to do what the hell they want, such as swing their umbrella in a wide sweeping motion every time they turn round, which they don’t think will wipe out the ten people standing near them – but here’s the thing –

IT WILL

– or that they can hold it away from themselves and shake it out like a wet dog, which they don’t imagine will drown the small child next to them – but, again –

IT WILL

– or that they can prod their umbrella in any direction whilst trying to close it, never thinking for one second that it will stab innocent bystanders through the heart – but, you know –

IT WILL.

People with umbrellas think that no one else is using an umbrella at the same time as them, and therefore think that the other person will clearly be able to see them barraging down the pavement using their umbrella as a shield, and that a terrible collision will not ensue. The thing is

IT WILL.

They also  think that if the other person isn’t holding an umbrella, they will gladly leap out of the way of the shield-wielding maniac to avoid being mowed down. Unfortunately, sometimes,

THEY DON’T.

People with umbrellas think that they can stop suddenly at the top of railway station steps, in shop doorways, in the middle of pavements, and fanny around with their umbrella for as long as they want and that it doesn’t cause a pile up behind them. But, sadly,

IT DOES.

Umbrellas turn ordinary people into liabilities. Today I have been prodded, poked, whacked, slapped, drenched, all by the reckless use of spherical pieces of taut material on the end of sticks. Just sort it out, please. If you can’t be trusted to use one properly, don’t use it at all. It’s only a bit of rain. Jeez.