It’s 10am and the alarm rages by your pillow. You’re tired, you want to keep snoozing. But it’s too stifling to stay under the covers and the lido, well, you haven’t been all summer. It’s warm outside and getting hotter. You’ve watered the plants; they need refreshing too. The last thing you want to do is slather on sunscreen. But then you remember you’ve got a body mist from Paul & Joe (£12, Paul & Joe at Roo’s Beach); it’s light and revitalising, goes on like perfume.
When you get to the lido, you need to find your spot and mark it out. Yes! A space towards the back – there’ll be shade later. You nod to your new neighbours and throw down your Yves Delorme Eau beach towel (£99, Yves Delorme), a soft turquoise, just like the pool. You look at the little embroidered diver at the bottom and smile; that’ll be you soon, splashing around.
Off comes your beach dress, with your Solid and Striped Anne-Marie swimsuit (£140, Matches Fashion) underneath. If Anne-Marie were real, she’d be that cool, unruffled friend who knows all the best places and nicest people. She’d like to wear toothpaste stripes because they remind her of a simpler time; after terrestrial TV, but before smart phones. She’d prefer to put lemon in her tea, not milk.
Time for a dip, and you make to take your watch off but stop – there’s no need. You’ve got your Freezero on (£89, Swatch); this one’s waterproof and digital, too. You don’t want any ticking hands counting down to sunset today. You dive down, making handstands on the bottom like you’re 9-years-old again, and time yourself. Underwater for 11 seconds, must try harder.
Back to your spot lido-side and its hot and bright now, time for shades. (£25, The Mix). They’re your favourites – pastel watercolour, like the paintings you used to make with your grandma when you were little, getting paint all over her dining room table. You put your headphones in, your playlist on shuffle. Paul Simon comes on, singing, “I can be your bodyguard, you can be your long lost pal.” You haven’t heard this song in ages.
Come 4pm, you’re sleepy. You’ve had two too many slightly-warm gins in tins. You want to jump in the water to cool off, refresh yourself, but you know you shouldn’t (like pushing people in and horseplay; the signs say so). But that’s what inflatable golden swans are for (£55, Sunnylife at ASOS); behold, a squidgy, majestic beast that will send you sailing, slowly, while you slip your toes in to the cool water. You ride that swan. This lido belongs to you.
The Edge Hill Short Story Prize has been running for 10 year ...
The funny women (Stevie Martin, Tessa Coates and Liz Kingsma ...