It's the middle of June, the sky is blue, the birds are singing, the smell of jasmine fills the air and it's pissing down with rain. Where IS it coming from?
Never mind. Only a month to go 'till we head off for our week in Lanzarote. I wonder.... is it a bit previous to go shopping for a swimsuit so far in advance?... I might have lost two stone by mid-July! Oh well, I have a day off so will take my time, wandering around Selfridges swimwear department - they're bound to have a decent selection at this time of year. I have a sort of 1950s style in mind - quite structured and glamourous. Don't want black... or blue. Ooo, but maybe something with a Pucci print in pretty colours; that might be nice. Even a bikini if it's not too weeny. With a spring in my step I arrive at the third floor and glance about for some kind of beachy display. Perhaps a mannequin or two wearing floppy hats and floaty kaftans, a bit of sand, a beach ball? There is no obvious sign of any swimwear at all. Several acres of lingerie but no swimwear. The assistant waves me towards a couple of depleted rails by the toilets. It looks like what's left over from 1987. There is a just-about-passable black thing with a white trim - in a size 8 or a 14, and quite a few black draped arrangements that remind me of window treatments in a funeral parlour. Even Greek widows wouldn't be seen dead in them. Last summer the over 70s in Athens were sporting bright turquoise two-pieces teamed with day-glo orange toenails.
Fenwicks.... I think they have a swimwear department. Not so much a department, as it turns out, more a display up a corner. When I say 'display', there were some swimsuits there, on hangers. They had some Etre ones, simple and quite nice. Not what I had in mind but they had all the colours in all the sizes BECAUSE THEY'RE £299 EACH. We decide to leave Fenwicks to the tumbleweed and head to Liberty's. In womenswear the girl frowned and looked into the distance as if she was searching the darkest depths of her memory to actually remember what a swimsuit was. 'Oh yes' - it finally came to her. 'I think I saw one bikini left, down in the scarf department.'
John Lewis? 'Prepare to be depressed.' I say to Brian as we go up the escalator.
'I am already.' He replies. It was more ghastly than I feared and have wiped it from my memory.
We went to Topshop as a last resort. Only buy a swimsuit from Topshop if you are so perfectly happy with your body just the way it is that you would be only too keen to pose by the pool in the nude. I left with a pair of shop-soiled flip-flops for a fiver. They were the last pair and Brian thinks they will be fine after a light Cifing.
Who are these people that buy their swimsuits in March??
Not this lot.
Oh, and another thing. John Lewis.That awful menswear department that takes up half the ground floor...
B wanted some summer socks, you know, something pale grey and cotton that would co-ordinate with his white linen suit. They only had thick brown or black wooly ones and were just putting out the thermals. Peak!!