The mercury has risen — and taken tempers with it. It is easy to be chilled when you are literally quite cool; but now that the homes we have been cooped up in since March 23 are molten — the walls sweating as hard as you are — you are defeated by the slightest provocation. No tonic left for a G&T merits tears; a delayed Deliveroo a full-scale meltdown. This is exacerbated by the fact you can’t go to the pub and get away from it all (don’t think about it or you’ll cry again).
The solution is not to sit in the freezer or sleep on a wet towel with all the windows open — not least because the foxes are shagging outside and you’ll be woken up at 4am. No, you need to invest in some prime real estate — you need a paddling pool.
Luckily, unlike investing in real real estate, the outlay is negligible and you don’t need to scrape together a deposit (millennials, your time has come at last). But move fast: many of Selfridges’ models have sold out already, and John Lewis’s collection is going quickly. Those with a garden or a spacious balcony/rooftop will likely go for a paddling pool. If the park is your garden, take an inflatable (if you can’t do it in lockdown, when can you?) on which to beach yourself, pouring a glass of water over your head at regular intervals.
Immediately, your square of this thronging city becomes a resort (Costa del Camberwell?). Social distancing means you can’t share with those outside your household, which means all the more fun for you.
The inflatables to covet are by Sunnylife, an Aussie brand. Australia is the land of eternal summer — no wonder Sunnylife knows its stuff. It minted the OG pink flamingo pool float that took Instagram by storm a few summers ago, and the unicorn the summer later.
Its bounteous, most-wanted options include a paddling pool with an attached rainbow slide (currently sold out at Selfridges), a pineapple pool ring, a whole menagerie of pool floats (is the cockatoo this season’s flamingo?) and a palm-tree limbo set. Incidentally, for those who can bear to move in the heat and have become overnight basketball fanatics after watching The Last Dance, there is also an inflatable basketball set.
Firebox has a Giant Unicorn Sprinkler set: a six-foot beast that sprays water from its horn. Just hook it up to the garden hose and sit under its gentle rainfall (firebox.com). John Lewis has a selection of classic pools in jaunty patterns — its £27.99 Bestway Tropical Play Inflatable Paddling Pool was a bestseller over the bank holiday. It’s also currently offering a 10-footer — it sold more than 100 over the long weekend. Its rainbow sprinkler (an inflatable Technicolor bow that sprays water) is very sadly out of stock — but email to put yourself on the waiting list.
Once you’ve got your resort erected on the lawn, ensure your household is apprised of the rules. Specifically, that one must always have a cocktail in hand — ideally something camp like a piña colada inside a coconut half — and must dress the part, in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini and some kitsch earrings (huge slices of watermelons, perhaps). Pop on a rainbow wedge heel and you’re good to go. Blokes: splash out (literally) on some patterned Vilebrequin shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. And while it wouldn’t be a Great British Summer without sunburn so bad you can’t sleep for a week, don’t forget the factor 50. Shut your eyes and you could be anywhere. Even a parallel universe where none of this happened.