Sod this, I’m bolting for the Dordogne. All this not being in the office has got too much for me and I need to not be in the office somewhere else. Somewhere (mildly) hotter than here; somewhere with an inordinate number of wasps, and those jars of mustard that turn into tiny drinking glasses.
I’m going on holiday. Heck, I can’t quite believe it myself. But all the signs are suggesting it’s true. I’m looking at my washing right now, which is drying on the balcony, and… yup, I’ve allotted way too many pairs of pants that will definitely remain unworn in my suitcase. But you never know, this might finally be the trip where I miraculously shit myself every day. And I’ve collated all the dregs of sun cream that lurk at the back of the bathroom cabinet. You can just muddle all that stuff together, right?
Pants and gone-off sunscreen aside, I’m making a concerted effort to pack lightly. Normally I’ll cover all the bases, even bases that will absolutely not materialise. “What if we befriend the local eccentric landowner and they invite us for sundowners with the mayor and a selection of the more luminary local residents?” I think. “I’ll have to bring a few blazers.”
In reality, I wear the same baggy shirt – buttoned louchely, just like rock star, or James Bond! – and swim shorts all week. I might put on some dry cotton shorts for dinner, maybe another shirt if I spill the aforementioned mustard on the first one. (I want that drinking glass!) But that’s the long and short(s) of it. That said, I want to pack less, but wear more, if that makes sense. Only take things I’ll actually wear, but make sure I actually wear them.
In terms of shoes, you need something you can pad about in if you pop to the hypermarché (Vans Era), something you can waft in and out of over the course of a sunbeaten day (Birkenstock Arizona EVA sandals) and something semi-respectable for the taverna on the last, bittersweet night of the hol (Yuketen moccasins). I’ll also be packing a pair of Keen’s Uneek trainer/sandal hybrid things in case I go clambering across some aquatic rock formation, or meet a fellow #gorpcore enthusiast in the wild.
On my legs, it will be Frescobol Carioca Swim Shorts or Arsenal football shorts, and little else. I’ll take a pair of Mr Marvis chino shorts for when man-made fabrics won’t cut it, and my Patagonia Baggies, because no human should ever leave home without them. I’ll take a pair of trousers, too, but do everything I can to avoid wearing them. These pallid thighs won’t bronze themselves.
Up top, there will be a clutch of loose, linen-ish shirts and a handful of thin tees. One white t-shirt, but the rest will be more lurid: holidays are for colourful clothes, and all your pastel garms will look much more at home in the light of some continental golden hour, anyway. And like everyone else, I’m big on patchwork (or thereabouts) right now, so I’ll pack my Gant ‘Windblown’ oxford. I’ll take a crew neck jersey sweater, too, and perhaps stuff some kind of light outerwear in the boot of the car, but nothing too extreme. I don’t want to tempt fate. Dress for the climate you want, not the climate the internet predicts.
I will not take a blazer for the simple reason that I don’t want to attend any event that calls for one. And ties are for hard workers, not holidays.
Finally, a few accessories. Two pairs of sunglasses, one baseball cap, a couple of pairs of socks and some underwear – the exact amount needed. Then it’s just a watch that I don’t mind getting wet or covered in Spritz, and the holiday capsule is complete. In terms of the soap bag, you do what you have to do (or what your dermatologist tells you), but I’d advise a new scent. Sounds a bit fey, I know, but I find that a good holiday lingers longer in the memory when it has a unique olfactory score. Plus, it’s good to have a cologne to hand in case – GOD FORBID – you do actually shit yourself.
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