Damn those early mornings. The last one was Saturday and I’m still jet-lagged. Last night I conked out before the whisky was finshed! Gradually re-acclimatising.

Resignation letter is written. I will leave it at work tomorrow and send a copy by Email tomorrow night. I anticipate pleading followed by rage followed by telling everyone I’m no use anyway. That’s how it goes when someone resigns. She is going on holiday with her husband who also works for the company from this weekend. Note that there was never any question of that particular holiday being cancelled due to short-staffing. This will ruin her holiday. Watch me not care.

A realisation has dawned. If I am ever going to make a living as a writer I have to give myself no other choice. Writers are masters of procrastination. As long as the bills are paid we will diddle around with half-formed ideas and not concentrate on any one thing. It has to be Writer or Not Writer. There is no Writer-ish.

And so I return, gradually, to comfortable nocturnality. No need for sunscreen in my world. I have none in the house. I do have skin moisturiser since the incident with the chemicals just over a year ago, and I have Germolene which cures everything but that’s it. No sunscreen.

I would never trust myself to make a lotion out of strange concoctions found on the Internet and then rub it all over myself. It would end with scales, antennae and a tail, knowing my luck. Yet many people are now doing this.

There’s no need. As a child, if you could get hold of Factor 10 sunscreen you were at the cutting edge of sun protection and were pretty much using white emulsion paint. Now it goes up to Factor Holy Crap which I suppose must be like painting yourself invisible since no light can possibly reach you at all. Yet thousands of farm workers down the ages have never used any sunscreen, despite having jobs that keep them outside all day. During harvest time they’d be out in the sun from the time it rose to the time it set. They’d get every single ray. Is there a massive contribution from farm workers to the skin cancer figures?

No, it’s the silly buggers who spend 50 weeks of the year in an office or in front of the TV, then two weeks in a place hundreds of miles nearer to the sun than they’ve ever been before. They spend those two weeks lying about on beaches, trying to persuade their bodies to produce melanin in a matter of hours when it’s been out of the sun so long it’s forgotten what melanin is made of. That’s where the skin cancer figures come from.

Last time I was burned was quite recent. I went fishing for three hours on a very sunny day. A terrible idea. Since fish can’t close their eyes, they hide at the bottom when it’s really sunny. Also, warm water holds less oxygen than cold water so fish are avoiding too much activity when it’s hot. In hot and sunny conditions, fishing is a waste of time.

Also painful. It took just three hours to burn my face to the point where the cracks bled. This helps reinforce my conviction that nocturnality is natural. It also allowed me to explain at work that the horribleness of my face was because I failed to get back in my coffin before sunrise.

Even so, no sunscreen for me. I prefer to avoid the sun altogether. When I go out to smoke I do it in the shade because sunlight gives you cancer. Try telling the drones that one. The discordancy makes their eyes melt.

Well, knackerdness has caught up again. Later this time. I’m adapting to a real life again. This week Mopman is covering Gadget’s second week of holiday. He wasn’t supposed to be but he got railroaded into it as I was for the first week. No wonder he is also looking for another job – he now has two interviews lined up.

So I leave you tonight with a song (well, a sort of talking to music really) that amused me when it appeared many years ago. Maybe I still have the CD-single somewhere.



I like this YouTube version because it says it has English subtitles but doesn’t, and because the ‘about’ tag has a bit of history in it.

30 thoughts on “Sunscreen

  1. “A realisation has dawned……” Back in the mists of time, I seem to remember an author, was it Harold Robins? said that, once he had the germ of an idea, the only way he could concentrate on bringing the idea to fruition was to take off and rent a room in a seedy hotel with nothing but his typewriter, paper and a plentiful supply of Scotch and, basically, lock himself in until the job was done.


  2. “If I am ever going to make a living as a writer I have to give myself no other choice. As long as the bills are paid we will diddle around with half-formed ideas and not concentrate on any one thing. It has to be Writer or Not Writer. There is no Writer-ish.”

    I’ve nicked this and will make liberal use of it whenever anyone moans about ‘their lot’. Hell I’ve even made it into a sign that I have strategically positioned about the abode to remind me what I should be doing when I find myself fannying about (way to often of late). Not that I am a writer but by replacing ‘writer’ with ‘grower’ I get my message!


    • To quote Mahogany – ‘Take it, and be welcome’.

      Our ‘lot’ is, so far, still what we decide it is. We can take the easy way or the hard way.

      I’ve tried both. The hard way is much more fun.


  3. Fascinating saga! Please keep us informed. Wish I could be there to see your manager’s face when she opens your resignation letter – bet you do, too!


    • Me too.
      You, Mr. Iron, are more generous than me if you only don’t care if your resignation ruins her holiday. I would take positive delight in it.


    • The letter has gone out by Email tonight (before midnight) with a request not to phone me early which she will ignore. The printed and wet-signed one is already at the cleaner’s den, I left it there today. She might try to ignore it but I am sure she does not understand BCC (to the head office).

      I want her rage. I want her untempered blasts of lunacy. Every reply will be BCC’d to head office. She is used to dealing with people who can barely add up and who cower at the majesty of an area manager for a cleaning firm.

      Game on.


  4. “Yet thousands of farm workers down the ages have never used any sunscreen, despite having jobs that keep them outside all day. During harvest time they’d be out in the sun from the time it rose to the time it set. They’d get every single ray.”

    The last couple of hundred years or so, field workers covered up most of their bodies with long sleeves and wide brimmed hats. (At least in rural America)

    This led to their having a ‘Farmer’s Tan’.

    They were tanned from the middle of their fore head to their collar line and then from the middle of their fore arms to their finger tips. (they usually rolled up their shirtsleeves to keep said sleeves out of gears or else they were too short for comfort)

    Without hats and in shortsleeved shirts, they were very distinctive looking. 🙂

    Also, such attire provided some protection from the little flying critters that plagued them.


  5. Some years ago I was working at a container port in Hong Kong and one of the locals was using factor 1000 sunscreen. We were out all day in the full glare of the sun in the middle of about five square miles of white concrete, so I was more worried about going blind than sunburned.


  6. I live in New Zealand, and we have an issue with the ozone layer. Apparently it has been depleted by hairspray, or was it second hand smoke? Regardless, the sun is fierce. It’s like being under one of those old fashioned radiant bar fires. The heat from the sun doesn’t seem to have that ‘diffuse’ quality you get in the northern hemisphere. In the summer, average Northern Europeans burn in about 20 minutes. You can burn here in the middle of winter even under full cloud cover. Farmers and builders have a perma-tan which I suppose gives them protection. It is daft office workers and lab rats that tend to get badly burnt after spending three hours at the beach on the weekend. As I’m particularly fair I have to slap on lard before I can attempt to venture outside.


    • I remember the CFC thing. They glossed over the reality that most of those CFCs were released in the North but the ozone holes were in the South. Perhaps they slid downwards?


      • Well, obvious innit, North is up on the map and South is down so it’s gravity wot does it!
        Larst week I cunn’t evun spell ‘Engineer’, now I are one!


  7. Hmmm…. I was hoping to catch you before you sent that email, but maybe they’ll react with pleading more than rage. What I wanted to suggest was that, instead of resigning, you simply make an outrageous demand — a demand that, if it was fulfilled, would actually make you comfortable and happy continuing your employment! Some combination of a regularization of hours, all in the evening, and with a reduction in hours while your pay stayed the same or increased!

    Since you’re quite comfortable with leaving you’d be in an absolutely superior bargaining position: either they give you what you want … or you walk! Usually people are constrained because if the bargaining does NOT work out, they lose their job and they don’t want that to happen… so they bargain from a position of weakness. You however would be The Leg Of Iron, and THEY would be the mollusks of marshmallow!



    • This has occurred to me.

      They are used to dealing with school failure mop-jockeys who have no other option. I can right the mess of their business and fight their corner but not on this wage. I could root out their deadwood and blast those who think they control the cleaning, but again, not on this wage.

      Maybe I’ll be back as a consultant. Or maybe I’ll set up a properly-run cleaning company to wipe them out. It depends on whims, and on how they handle my departure this time.


  8. Back in the sixties living in Jersey at the time, we had never heard of sunscreen! We used a mixture of olive oil and vinegar to get a good tan, imagine the horror now. As far as I know none of us got skin cancer, makes you wonder.


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