The middle class guide to faking enjoyment of al fresco dining

DO you find dining with friends in a garden on a summer evening pleasantly aspirational? Here’s how to overlook the many downsides of eating outdoors.


Smile enthusiastically while trying to ignore the wobbling of the uncomfortable cast iron and glass seating on the uneven patio. Or you may be forced to sit on a plastic patio set with chairs that don’t fit under the table. Grin and bear it. Literally.


A staple of eating outside in the British summer is swatting away nosey hoverflies, wasps and whining midges showing more interest in the bland Tuscan pasta than it deserves. Channel your annoyance into pathetically saying ‘Shoo!’ and ‘Pesky fly!’ rather than screaming, ‘Can we not just eat pizza in front of the TV, like normal people?’


The perfect temperature for eating outside will only last for three minutes. Before then it will be too hot, after that too cold. Inconvenience the host by asking to retrieve a layer of extra clothing you brought just as each course is being served. Or rely on the candles to provide a pathetic bit of heat in the encroaching cold. Just don’t get so close you set your hair on fire.


As the tablecloth whips up in the wind again, resist the temptation to use the not-very-nice pate starter to glue it down. If the main course comes with a sauce, watch closely like a lifeguard to remove drowning flies before you end up chowing down on them. But most importantly maintain the facade and don’t blurt out that it’s so f**king cold can you skip the ice cream and have a Cup-a-Soup?

The loo

Excusing yourself briefly or to fix windswept hair is fine. But relieving yourself next to a open bathroom window lets everyone know what you’re doing. Especially if you’ve been in there for a while obviously doing a shit, then have to cough loudly to disguise the noise of a second flush.

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Why there's bugger all I can do about 10.1% inflation, by chancellor Nadhim Zahawi

YOU’D think that as Chancellor of the Exchequer I’d be able to do something about inflation. You are clearly ignorant about politics and do not realise I’m powerless to intervene. Here’s why.

It’s beyond my control

The economy is a mysterious beast with lots of strange moving parts. Even though my job is to look after it, the financial system is a global force that cannot be tamed by mere mortals. That’s why I’ll keep blaming surging inflation on the Ukraine war rather than government inaction, all while taking home your yearly salary as a month’s wage.

I don’t really know what I’m doing

Look, I’ve been falling upwards throughout my career. I only got this job because the previous guy buggered off in order to try and get a promotion. I haven’t got a clue how inflation works, let alone how to bring it down. Maybe if I ignore it it’ll go away? I studied chemical engineering for Christ’s sake, I’m way out of my depth.

I’m on holiday

Even if I knew how to help, I couldn’t. The government is on summer recess at the minute, meaning that it’s physically impossible for me to draft legislation that might help poor people buy food. Once I’ve finished lying in my hammock doing f**k all for another week I might be refreshed enough to think about helping.

My heart’s not in the job

Like any job, the first few days were fun. There was a mad scramble for the coveted position, then I turned on the guy who hired me. Good times. The shine quickly rubbed off though. It mainly involves looking at spreadsheets and gradually realising everything’s f**ked beyond repair. It’s hard to care about something that depressing. You just kind of switch off.

Bashing the poor is a key Tory policy

Many of our supporters quite like punishing feckless people for being poor. And clamping down on ‘handouts’ makes them sexually aroused. So there’s no point in fiddling with the economy if only the little people are suffering. And of course you’re too busy worrying about food and hot water to pay attention to politics and boot us out. Put like that, everything is going rather well.