Winter is finally upon us: the beach now has more humans than actual sand, taxis have suddenly become picky about any journey under 200 miles, and you can’t walk two yards without fear of being mown down by a plethora of joggers who have clearly left it far too late to get ‘beach fit’ – Lycra, my tubby friends, is not a strong look.
Of course, I know I’m just a grumpy old man flying in the face of common sentiment. Seriously, how could anyone dislike the cooler months? After aeons trapped within our confined apartments we are suddenly released from our heat-induced bondage, free to roam wherever we feel without fear of frying under the fiery furnace of Apollo’s chariot (sorry about that – I read a lot of Homer over summer). The suit jacket doesn’t turn your back into a river. Glasses don’t mist up whenever you leave a building. The sea doesn’t make you sweat (still very weird).
Oh yes, winter is truly magnificent. But not for me. You see, I have spent a great deal of time, money and effort transforming my home from a place in which I simply sleep, into a fully functioning siege tower. I have been known to leave work at 6pm on Thursday, enter my domain and not emerge again until 7am sharp on Sunday morning. Indeed, were it not for the steady stream of moped riders at my front door bearing all kinds of heady, deep-fried gifts, you might not know of my existence at all.
The Great Outdoors? If it’s so great, why did man invent the sofa? And the television? And the Xbox, and movie box sets, takeaway menus, delivery motorbikes, duvets, online gaming, blogging and another hundred things I can’t name here due to limited word count. It seems to me that mankind has worked jolly hard coming up with amazing things to do indoors, yet as soon as the thermometer drops a couple of degrees we all insist on sprinting outside like deranged lunatics, launching ourselves onto the beach and booking restaurant tables ‘as close to the pavement as possible’.
Of course, I know I’m alone on this, but then again the eagle doesn’t walk with the sheep (sorry, I’ve been reading Sir Philip Sidney’s poetry too. You’re not sheep, obviously, although from the top of my tower block I do sometimes feel like an eagle or, at the very least, a really fat sparrow). No dear reader, you can have the winter. Enjoy it, get out there and have some fun because as editor of Time Out, I know there’s not a city in the world that can hold a candle to Dubai. Who knows, I may even venture out and join you – just as soon as I squeeze into my new Lycra running shorts.