August is a strange month in which cities seem to empty like very smelly rooms, as people head off for a summer break. If you’re not on holiday in August and are feeling a bit left out, here are 10 ways to create a vaguely passable illusion.
1. Listen to summer bangers
It doesn’t matter if you’re eating a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll in your Ford Normal while it’s going through a car wash, pop Desposito or Can’t Stop the Feeling or Happy onto your stereo and whooosh, you’re supping on a rum and cola as your hips sway to the rhythm. (For a more ‘cultured’ feel, Latin jazz is also an option.)
2. Dress Mediterranean
A summer holiday is (often) a state of mind. Dress like you’re on holiday, feel like you’re on holiday. And nothing says summertime more than dressing like you’re taking a three-month sabbatical by the Med. Think Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name: whites, pastels, deliciously loose and accessorised with joie de vivre.
3. Eat food that you don’t know
Have a butcher’s at your take away/delivery history: I guarantee that it’s more repetitive than the last four minutes of Hey Jude. Yet when we travel, we’re very happy to point at a picture on a menu and – assuming the waiter doesn’t make a woof woof noise – have it brought to the table. So why not get adventurous with what gets biked to your door? At least, if you don’t like it, you can get some baked beans from your larder.
4. Seek out an urban beach
These days, nearly every major city that doesn’t have an actual seaside or lakeside beach builds itself one. Might be by a river, might be in a park – doesn’t matter. Just the feeling of sand betwixt your toes will transport you to sunnier climes. And if you can’t find an urban beach, take a leaf from Brian Wilson’s book and put a sandpit under your desk.
5. Sign up to some excursions
How well do you know your local area? Even if you’re Professor of Knowing Your Local Area at the University of Backofmyhand, there are still things you can learn. So, as part of your ‘fake holiday in August’, have a nose around for free walking tours, day trips, lectures, hosepipe repair workshops – whatever – and absorb some homely culture.
6. Drink at unconventional hours
Convention says that we really shouldn’t be drinking before noon, but this rule is famously, joyously waved the moment we step through airport security. Why not take this approach to life at home? We’re not advocating irresponsible drinking, obviously, but why shouldn’t you occasionally have a breakfast beer at Wetherspoon’s or crack open a can at the cricket for elevenses? After all, ‘rebel’ contains ‘beer’.
7. Shout loudly at people in pigeon English, even though they speak English
Nothing will make you feel more abroad than vainly struggling to get across a very basic request because you can’t speak the local language. So pop down to your local post office or shoe shop and speak in very loud, very basic English, getting increasingly frustrated as you completely ignoring the assistants’ perfectly eloquent responses.
8. Send postcards
I mean, why not? Why not get a postcard of your hometown and send it to someone you like, telling them what your week has been like? “Had a lovely time at the corner shop. Will definitely go back one day.” It’s better than Twitter.
9. Ask directions, even though you’re just outside your house
Simple one this: print out a checklist of places in your neighbourhood that you might conceivably want to visit, plus six pages’ worth of Google maps. Maybe carry an AtoZ, because they still exist. Then ask people where these places are. At worst, it’s a conversation starter. At best, you might finally learn where your nearest tourist information office is.
10. If you can’t holiday in August, book a holiday for a colder month
Perhaps even a holiday on this website! Then be all smug while everyone else is being miserable in November. At least you’re at home during the nice weather.