Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sweltering in the sunshine, revision and The Great Gatsby

Phew, what a scorcher… I’ve wanted to write those words ever since my newspaper days. 

But deep down I wish the azure blue skies and sweltering heat hadn't arrived quite yet. Why? Because every teenager I know is revising for exams right now. And while the papers are full of annoying articles declaring that A levels and GCSEs have been dumbed down (not true, they’re just different), a generation of 16 to 18 year olds are stuck indoors trying to memorise endless quotes from Of Mice and Men. They look pale and stressed and keep muttering anxiously about the scores of exams ahead.

Funnily, enough, the year I took my A levels was a scorcher too. But I didn’t treat them half so seriously as today’s teenagers. Actually, I spent the entire summer lying on a Dorset riverbank sunbathing with friends and reading old copies of Jackie magazine.

But on the up side, teenagers are definitely less sartorially challenged in the sun than grown-ups. I hate my scary white legs and avoid baring them for as long as possible. Even though the sun’s been shining for a few days it’s been a real wrench to discard my habitual black tights and hunt out the fake tan. A London friend told me that on the first day of the heat wave a fellow passenger eyed her thick tights with disdain. “I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and tell her it wasn’t my fault I left for work before the weather changed,” she said. I had much the same feeling today when my daughter arrived home and eyed my blotchy orange ankles. “It's amazing how easy it is to forget to fake tan your feet,” she said.

PS. My son’s just made me watch the trailer for the remake of The Great Gatsby. I adored the novel (did it for A level, in fact) and swooned at Robert Redford in the original movie, so wasn’t that interested. But just take a look. I reckon it’s going to be the movie of the year…


  1. Yep, I remember that summer well. Revising for my exams lying on my front on a blanket in the garden, and getting the worst sunburn ever on the back of my thighs. Got good results, but what a pain in the arse. Literally.

    And yep, I'll be watching the remake of The Great Gatsby - it's DiCaprio, what more can I say...?

    1. That must have been really painful, Henri! And sounds like you did a lot more work than me. Glad you're looking forward to the Gatsby movie too. LDC looks just like I imagined Jay Gatsby from the book.


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