Beer bellies on our beaches

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If you are a sun worshipper or an ice cream salesman then it is very likely you are currently experiencing the best of days.

It seems every day the temperature in unlikely British towns and cities are higher than renowned hot spots such as Athens, Istanbul and probably Venus.

Beaches and beer gardens have been packed with folk, eagerly topping up their tans ahead of Mediterranean holidays which, it turns out, they probably needn’t have booked this year.

The air is thick with the smell of burnt sausages and the strains of UB40 and, on top of all that, we are three weeks into a enthralling World Cup and now Wimbledon is upon us, even if it is unlikely we will have a British champion by the end of the fortnight.

Of course there are always downsides, such as the moorland fires here in the North West, and we also have the very real threat of a CO2 shortage, which has already seen one major supermarket ration the sales of fizzy drinks. It isn’t a British summer without a crisis of some description.

But the real unwanted side effect of a balmy summer is the fact that us Brits really don’t give a monkey’s what we look like once the sun gets his hat on. While there are some men and women out there who really do look like they have jumped off the pages of the Kay’s summer catalogue, the majority of us do struggle to dress appropriately.

Men, who, like me, have their best years behind them, insist on not wearing shirts in public, wherever that may be. I can handle exposed love handles and beer bellies on our glorious beaches and bustling seafronts but it is a different kettle of haddock when you are subjected to stretch marks and full back tattoos in the fruit and veg aisle.

It would be more acceptable if these chaps were as toned as Hasselhoff in his Baywatch years but, in my experience, they bear more of a resemblance to Ricky Tomlinson in his Royle Family heyday. No stranger to a fish supper myself, it never ceases to amaze how little shame some people have. These may well be glorious summer days but they don’t always bring out the best of us.