“Do you know what I’ve noticed about you?” goes Maria, a fitness instructor in my gym, “You only work out in the summer. You come in every now and again in winter but in the summer, you’re here every day.”
Well, Maria. You got me. Much like a bear, I go into hibernation during the winter months. I reserve my energy by staying in most weekends, eating carb-heavy food and gripping a hot water bottle as if my life depends on it. Shrouded in layers, I cut back on the gym because, learning from the harp seals (natives of the Arctic Ocean), I consider blubber an essential fashion layer. Knowing full well that summer is the time of year where I truly feel alive, I’m happy to slow it down so that I can ramp it up between the months of April and September.
I divide my year between summer and not summer; those are my seasons. I don’t follow the traditional breakdown of the calendar year like most people, because as soon as there’s a hint of a stretch in the evenings in mid-April, my mindset changes because summertime has begun. Born in September, I mark the end of summer as soon as my birthday is done and dusted, the party acting as the big sayanora to bright mornings, wearing shorts every day of the week and having a steady supply of ice in the freezer for emergency G&Ts in the garden. Using “it’s summer!” as an excuse for doing anything reckless or slightly hedonistic, I live fast and loose during this time. YOLO isn’t a year-long phrase for me so I had to invent a new one. You only live once, as long as it’s summer — YOLOALAIS, pronounced like Oil of Olay.
Summer officially kicked off last weekend, with the island clutching onto the 17-degree heat for dear life but down in Cork, summer made a double impact. Shacking up in Trabolgan Holiday Village for the second edition of the wonderful music festival It Takes A Village, everyone there embraced the heat as if we were lolling around in the Mediterranean. Lads had their tops off and everyone’s knees were out, naked as the day they were born. Taking advantage of our surroundings, gigs, interviews, cans and breakfast happened out on the rolling lawns, with pals making daisy crowns for each other as the clinking of ice and the hum of laughter trickled through the air. All of the acts on the line up played secret gigs and pop up sets so while you were gathering your bearings from the night before, you could hear TPM, the hip-hop bowsies from Dundalk, rehearsing or catch the Dublin-based multi-instrumentalist Dowry (Éna Brennan) playing an intimate gig in one of the houses that doubled up as an official after-party spot.
40 Foot swims, Tangle Twisters for lunch
Capturing that magical feeling of summers gone by, where everyone would play in the shared green of your estate until you were called in for dinner, the injection of vitamin D put everyone in their best mood at It Takes A Village. Hangovers evaporated in that mild warmth — whatever voodoo that is — and the vitamin D just lifted our spirits, setting us on course for a giddy summer of 40 Foot swims, Tangle Twisters for lunch, farmers tans, drinks by the canal, summer smooching and impromptu barbeques. After our long run of four-day weeks already this year, we’re all feeling a little bit loosey-goosey and with good weather on the horizon for next week – weather site yr.no tells me that it will be 20 degrees in Dublin next Thursday — we haven’t even had time to think about the arrival of Leaving Cert weather.
Like happy little crocodiles basking in the sun, mouths open and scales shining, it already feels like this summer will go on forever. No decision will feel like a difficult one and divilment will go without punishment. This summer, our dresses will flow, our shorts from H&M will get their money’s worth 50 times over and when we hit the darkened months, the warmth we both experienced and exuded will keep us ticking over until we can shed our winter coats one more, becoming the summertime babes we were always meant to be.