Why I Don't Sunbathe . . . Lessons From Yorkshire

The sun and I have a very passionate relationship and it is one filled with love.  It is therefore an ironical happenstance that I live in Yorkshire.  Garton-on-the-wolds is a place where the skies are usually a myriad shades of grey (and not in a sexy strap you to the bed and tickle you with a paint brush way, more of a wake up look out of the window to hear your head say "sodding grey again").

Meanwhile, miles away on sun the kissed beaches of Spain, many women are flopping about on white sun beds drinking in the beams.  If I were to flop outside on a lounger de soleil (as they call them in Leeds . . posh sods), I would just end up drinking hot tea from a hospital bed (the bed being where my body would be lain not the chalice from which I drank) whilst both doctors and, I would guess, a few folk from the psychiatric walk of life, tut over me questioning both my mental health, what the buggery nora I was doing in a bathing costume OUTSIDE and why my fingers and toes were a funny shade of purple.

Summer in Yorkshire is a wonderful thing.  It is hot, it is bright, it is beautiful, it is wind free it is rarer than a Yorkshire man turning down a mug of tea/pint of beer/roast dinner.  Most summers here are like lessons in the ying and yang of life.  You see,  the sun is up there doing its shiny warm thing, also the wind is at the same moment biding its time, hiding under a woolly cloak and just as you lay down it flings its cloak away and attacks, ensuring that any warmed bits of flesh showing are quickly plummeted into a fridge like state in seconds.  Laying on a sun bed in a Yorkshire summer is something of a job for the tactical mind.

How to sunbathe in Yorkshire

1. Insects:  Ensure the area for laying down is off the ground as Yorkshire, for some unknown reason, loves producing ants and little red spiders that happily skip and dance on you until no matter how clear the area, your mind will constantly be sending alarm signals screaming into your head "ANTS UP YER BUM.  I REPEAT.  ANTS ARE UP YER BUM"

2.   The Windbreak:  If trying to suck up the sun in your garden ensure every single angle of horizontal exposure be protected by a windbreak.  This should not be those floppy pieces of stripy cloth on stick type of affairs loved by all postcard makers, but heavy duty, a bullet would have a hard time getting through this, try it if you dare, sort of cloth.  Yorkshire wind is sneaky and does not do as the weathermen say, but will just change direction on a whim.  We have indeed got whimsical wind.

Anyone doing extreme sport and sunbathing on a Yorkshire beach. . . good luck with that one!

3. Clothing  The wearing of swim gear is very much dependant on how many years you have spent in the polar regions training with elite forces of the British Army.  If you have spent more than 5 years then yes, safety in swimwear is yours.  For all others, always ensure you have the following by your raised bathing area:            
  • 1 x towel:  this is in the rare event of actual sweatage and is also good for flicking your dog in the nose when it tries to climb on your lounger.  Bloody untrusty things they are. . . . dogs, not towels, even though I have come across some rather wily hand towels in my time.
  • 1 x long woolly cardigan: Never put full trust in a blue sky.  In Yorkshire all this indicates is that the grey clouds are off having a pint and may return at any time bringing the bloody wind with them. 
  • 1 x flask of hot tea = YOU ARE IN YORKSHIRE!! We drink tea.  Hot tea is for when you are too cold/too hot/annoyed/happy/in need of biscuit dunkage liquid/any excuse.  Just always ensure tea is available and non of that foreign muck.  Lapsangwotsit is for  Southerners/ foreigners.  Your choice of tea is Yorkshire Tea by Taylors of Harrogate in original, decaf (tea for southerners), hard water (East Yorkshire tea) or Gold (Harrogate posh tea buggers). See boxes of proper tea below.

4. SunblockDon't be soft!!  You NEVER want to block the stuff, it's rare enough as it is and in such events of actual hot sun do you really think putting oil based substances, no matter what other chemical wonder is involved (invented by southerners), on your skin, under direct heat is a bright plan?  If you get too mythered by its rays and feel a redness approaching GO INSIDE AND HAVE A BREW!

If you wantt o know why so many Yorkshire fok have tans, it is because of 3 things.  To to any town/city/village in Yorkshire and you will not be able to avoid:

1) tanning shops by the gozillion allowing anyone to stand naked for 4 minutes in a tube covered in strange gunk and costing an arm and a leg. 

2) fish and chip shops which contain glass covered heaters for pies/fish and chips.  These little glass furnaces emit bright light and temperatures akin to thermite that when waiting for said fish and chips/ pieage  you will attain a chip shop tan.

3) Yorkshire Tea.  We drink so much tea we are tannin-ed from the inside out (see what I did there!)

So, there you have it.  The reason I don't sun bathe is not for lack of trying but for lack of sun!

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