An alternative to summer escapes with Claudia Winkleman

If summer reads aren’t your thing, don’t worry; Claudia Winkleman TOTALLY understands. That’s why today we’re sharing this brilliant extract from Quite where Claudia discusses her distaste for the warmer months.

Which side of the argument are you on?!

HERE COMES THE SUMMER

I’m going to come straight out with it. I don’t believe in summer. It’s all toes out (not fine) and enormous bottles of water and shoestring strap dresses and finding a tiny bit of earth to lie down on. It’s a heightened, terrifying collective joy and a rushing panic that plans need to be made.

In October, when people ask, ‘What are you doing at the weekend?’ it’s casual, it’s easy breezy. You reply, ‘Pub, maybe a book, that new Netflix show, we might finish the salami,’ and it’s put to bed. There’s some relaxed nodding and everyone moves on.

But when May, June rolls around and there’s a shard of light through the clouds and the weather app promises warmth, suddenly the questions are insistent, pointed and anxious intone. Are you going to the park? Which one? Having friends round? I’m thinking of giving Jamie’s haloumi wrap a go. What drinks will you make? Got a blender for the daiquiris? Want to borrow mine?

There’s a strange zeal in the air, too much anxiety placed on just an afternoon. Two months ago and the whole weekend could be summed up by ‘a puzzle, some soup, afternoon sex’, but now you have to go into great detail. You pretend you have a garden (I do this) and mention re-potting a plant and doing something with weeds.

When friends come round in November a takeaway is fine; July arrives and suddenly you need to look for wooden bowls and matching salad servers (who has these?) and everyone is keen on ironed table linen and Pimms (any drink that needs cucumber to perk it up should be ashamed of itself).

Summer clothes are appalling – too much skin, too floral, too jaunty, too colourful. They’re all well and good in rural Italy when your skin is olive and your boyfriend has an old, clapped-out convertible Fiat and your grandma has some sort of ancient trestle table that’s always groaning under fresh lemons (with actual leaves attached) and mammoth jugs of wine. Then it makes sense. Sure, get your feet out, wear a sunshine yellow flowery midi dress, play summer music and stick on some body shimmer. But if you live in the UK then summer just won’t do. It should be illegal.

Basically, it should be full-time Winter here.

Quite is available now in paperback, eBook and audio here.

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