A bead of sweat tickles my nose as it rolls down my face and drops onto the suit sleeve of the man pressed up against me. With my arms pinned by my sides there is not much I can do to stop it. I immediately regret wearing my own suit jacket while on the London Underground. During the summer months, the tube is not well suited for this attire.
Through all the teasing and flirting, it’s sudden and shocking when summer has finally come. So it’s best to be prepared for the months to come:
1. The tube is a sweaty hot box. During the morning commute your makeup will probably smear across someone’s back and your clothing will be damp with perspiration – not all of it yours. It gets worse when someone has delayed the train suffering from heatstroke and you get caught in between stations.
Prepare: don’t wear a suit jacket, stockings, scarf or anything remotely thick and clingy during your time underground. Stand near the door or window to access cooler air. Take a bottle of water with you and stay hydrated. Avoid the hottest tube lines, it is likely they will have delays anyway.
2. Take advantage of the sun. After months of darkness and gloom, you will need to soak in the sun just a little bit to save yourself from vitamin D deficiency. Join thousands of others stripping down in every local park (or small patch of grass) across the city with a cider and some friends.
Prepare: Get some friends. Buy some cider. Find a park. Sunbathe (responsibly!).
3. Have fun outdoors. There are hundreds of awesome outdoor activities happening throughout summer all over London. Every day of the week you will be able to find an outdoor cinema screening, a rooftop bar, a sun-soaked beer garden, a city farm, a local park, a sporting event or cultural event happening near you.
Prepare: tickets run out fast. Get on every mailing list, pick up your latest copy of Time Out and stay up to date with ticket sales and queue times.
4. Where did all these people come from? After the long winter months of hibernation, people seem to be multiplying. Whether it’s an Anchorman 2 screening at Somerset House, the tennis at Wimbledon or Notting Hill Carnival, there will be crowds all over the city – partying with their guns out, in the flip flops and probably with a cider in hand.
Prepare: follow the crowd. You might end up having an awesome time!
5. Go for a swim. You might be surprised to learn that London has a surprisingly large number of lidos and swimming holes that you can cool down in.
Prepare: get a new bathing suit (that fits). Find a lido and lather those pasty white limbs in sunscreen. Try Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath Ponds, King’s Cross Pond Club, Brockwell Lido, London Fields Lido, Charlton Lido, or Tooting Bec Lido.
Summer has only just begun… and sweat rolling down your face on the Underground is just one of the signs that it’s finally here. Enjoy it while you can!