Dom Joly: Ah, the sweet seclusion of summer

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The Independent Online

Recently, however, with the mid-life crisis thing happening, I'm suddenly finding myself floating between my new obsession with golf, watching endless World Cup matches featuring countries that I couldn't even place on a map and getting excited about women's tennis at Wimbledon.

Quite apart from the deeper question as to why I'm suddenly interested in all these things, why does all this stuff have to happen in the summer? Come the winter, I'm nearly suicidal, desperately trying to survive the four or so hours of UK daylight by surfing online through a series of live webcams from hotter climes. My favourite is a camera in the main operations room of the Sol brewery. Although terminally dull, it seems to encapsulate everything I lack in the midst of an English winter - relaxed Mexicans fast asleep in an enormous room full of beer and a little window showing me the world outside the factory basking in 35C temperatures.

In the winter I've got endless amounts of time to commit to any sport that catches my fancy. I could be pretty much full-time if I wanted to be. But oh no, everything of interest has to happen in the summer when I've got loads of other things to do. I want to lounge on sunbeds sipping freshly squeezed lemonade. I want to go to Lechlade Garden Centre and get the bored parrot there to say "Vote Dom Joly to open the Steam Fair". (Nominations are closing and I need to drum up support. So far the only words the feathered bastard has learnt are obscenities, and I didn't teach him those. I'm sure it was Sharron Davies in a blatant attempt to scupper my bid.)

Anyway, with all these incredibly important summer things to do, I've got to sit in a room on my own with the curtains drawn because the sunlight makes the TV hard to watch. While trying to concentrate I face an endless barrage of family members haranguing me about stuff that needs doing: dogs that need walking, an aggressive badger in the lower field, hate mail from Liz Hurley again.

Then there are the bloody tourists at the gates. What is it about England and the summer? It's the only time that the country's vaguely inhabitable and most people sod off on holiday abroad leaving the Cotswolds defenceless against invading coach loads of Japanese tourists.

No matter though, I think that I've finally cracked the problem. I now Sky-Plus everything that I need to watch. If you haven't got Sky Plus then you need to get a life. I actually date periods in my life as being either before or after its installation. I record everything on hard-drive while I go out and about clubbing badgers and hurling abuse at the Japanese.

When the night draws in I sit right through the night watching endless slow-motion replays of ladies' singles matches and pressing my interactive button repeatedly. I find it all good for the soul. The only drawback is that I have to try to avoid finding out any results from newspaper headlines or idle banter from strangers. I manage this by wearing earplugs and ignoring other parents when I pick up the kids from school.

Actually, there is one further drawback; that is that I haven't slept for over seven days now and I think that people are starting to notice. I'm getting by on Red Bull and Pro-Plus but I don't think I'm going to make it much further unless we get rain and then I can take a day off. It's difficult to concentrate on words, something about Portugal... yellow cards... Andy Murray... happy now? Must... carry... on... more golf tonight... then mixed doubles... oh, roll on winter.

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