As a columnist writing regularly for the Bulletin for a number of years, I have always been encouraged to expand upon the hundreds of quite useless theories I have had regarding almost anything in life, and for that I am extremely grateful. Nevertheless, if pushed to name the most important lifestyle theory I have shared within these pages over the years, I think my most obvious observation shared on a regular basis, is that in the clothing department - more, is always much, much, better than less.
If I accuse both sexes of inappropriate clothing (or lack of it) on the beach, men are always a lot worse than women when it comes to everyday wear, when it’s really hot, either at home or abroad. Indeed, your average British male, could never be confused with an elegant Spaniard, Frenchman or Italian. You know the sort of thing - a linen jacket cast idly over both shoulders, a crisp white shirt to show off a worryingly even tan and a pair of stylish loafers with no socks.
Alas, we Brits of the male persuasion are a little more basic in this regard - and so an evening out whilst on holiday we will appear at a restaurant or posh bar, complete with three-quarter length ‘pedal pushers’ - a stained T shirt with a marginally sexist message inlaid upon it and a pair of cheap, scuffed trainers. However, none of this can hold a candle to the sheer vulgarity of heavy duty and rather chunky male ‘gold’ jewellery, worn against sweaty sunburnt skin and a pot belly.
So let me tell you that I had all my sartorial prejudices confirmed when on a surprisingly hot day on Tuesday of this week, I was persuaded to go along to the local swimming Lido, which is only a ten minute walk away from where we are staying. Big mistake! As the grandkids had been back to school the previous day, we didn’t even have a decent alibi for such crass stupidity. Do you remember just how cold the water can be in British open air swimming pools? I suppose I could have had a dip in the children pool which was heated, but - I really didn’t want to get arrested for my trouble, so it was a teenage type dive-bomb at the deep end and then thrash about as quickly as possible to keep warm.
Then alas, there is the whole business of the somewhat pungent ‘smell’ of public baths - even the outdoor ones. I’m pretty sure that verruca’s don’t have a specific odour about them - but, whilst changing into my bathers, I could have sworn that they did. I have to say that halfway through pulling on my bathers I did say to myself - what on earth are you doing donning an undersized bathing costume, given as a Christmas present by a family member with a clear and fairly obvious negative point to prove? But unfortunately it was too late by then. Going back to my original point of more clothing, being much better than less when middle-aged, it is at this time that I wish that people would be frank with themselves as to their general sexual desirability, when about to enter a pubic swimming pool.
If it was up to me, I would reintroduce those beach bathing machines that were very popular right up until the early 1930’s so as to encourage a little decorum when in and around water. As for my day out at the local Lido (by the way - is this word pronounced Leedo or Lydo?) apart from a Fanta Orange drink and a choc-ice each, costing just over eight quid, we had quite a nice afternoon out and vowed never to do it again.
You will be encouraged to know that I have been inspecting the soles of my feet two or three times a day since our visit and am pleased to tell you that so far, there has been not a verruca in sight.