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Getting Naked in Clapham

June 18, 2009


Sorry Martin but the English get loopy when the sun comes out. Admittedly, sun is a rare occurrence but the behaviour of most English people when a small ray of sunshine appears is quite remarkable.

We live very close to Clapham Common, a massive green park in London. A Mecca like pilgrimage occurs when the sun starts shining involving everyone heading to the park with tabloids and cider in hand. The most disturbing aspect is that usual personal graces such as staying fully clothed are mysteriously ignored. It is considered quite natural for men to take off their t-shirts and in many cases pants as well and for women to flounce around in bikinis.

When I first saw this phenomenon I thought there was a sandy beach in South London that, for whatever reason, my friends and parents had not told me about. Could it be true? Could there be a sunkissed oasis in SW12?

No is the answer. I was shocked but now I take great delight in categorising the English summer park dwellers.

The Lads

Your usual larger drinking boys that prance around the park in their underwear. Despite their sexual preference this results in ALL of them looking very camp. It is quite common for them to be wearing a ridiculously stupid hat or ridiculously large sunglasses. Hair is either Hitler youth short or a Jesus like mop.

ladThey play football two ways – if they have any skill they show off with tricks and Ronaldo like moves. If they are rubbish they worry about spilling their brew and do stupid things like kick the ball into the lake or at a kid learning to ride a bike. A great trick, goal or injury to a child will result in obscene half naked hugs, stacks on or ‘friendly fights’ which make them all seem more into each other.

The Ladies

While the boys are bonding, the ladies are sunbaking in their bikinis, eating strawberries and drinking too much white wine. They all wear ridiculously large sunglasses that cover 99% of their face.


Clapham Common is host to many young families. During business hours yummy mummys can be seen ordering lattes and socialising at places like Bertie and Boo. Prams out number cars. The smell of dirty nappies is fan forced down the aisles of Tesco. Lad Football, misdirected frisbee and very noisy motorised model boats and helicopters are highlights for families relaxing in the park.

Despite all this we are enjoying our London summer. Neither of us have taken our tops off – it just doesn’t feel right. We are heading down to Brighton soon, I hear there is some sort of beach there and lots of genuinley gay people. Should be fun.


11 Comments leave one →
  1. anon permalink
    June 18, 2009 4:40 pm


  2. Jason permalink
    June 18, 2009 5:48 pm

    Heh nice one – keep writing, Pete!

    • sorrydadenglandisweird permalink*
      June 18, 2009 6:11 pm

      Thanks Jason!

  3. Dad2 permalink
    June 18, 2009 10:08 pm

    I remember in the mid 1980’s lunching in Grosvenor Square in summer in the hope that I would see spies and presidents goining in and out of the american embassy however I was presently surprised by the ladies(pronounced by peterscobie – laydeez)from the nearby L’oreal HQ lunching in nothing much but makeup on the grassy beach near the south african embassy opposite the US. They laid themselves out in kipper like rows on pink towels facing due south and prepared for their imminent ibiza holidays. Yes, they wore Audreyhep sunnies while I could barely keep my eyes on my salad sarnie. There were no spies that summer.

  4. ted permalink
    June 19, 2009 2:40 am

    SO TRUE!
    and the funny thing is, this behaviour gets sparked by the merest suggestion that sun might glint through a patch in the perennial gray clouds!

  5. June 19, 2009 3:03 pm

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. I would just add in one extra group that I feel I fall into:

    The Observers – observers like to watch the other group activities and judge, providing endless hours of fun.

    I find all this activity amusing, but I can’t say I object to nudity on the common. In fact, I’m a supporter 🙂

    • June 19, 2009 3:06 pm

      I’m slowly working up the confidence to sun bake in my bikini 😉


      • June 20, 2009 4:09 pm

        But Pete, people already do that in Sydney! Matt was telling this same thing as you describe to me but about Sydney folks compared with folks from his home on the north coast. I have seen this in parks around Sydney, even at Darling Harbour – but I will admit it takes some actual truly sunny and blistering weather for it to happen. haha England!

        — Christine

  6. June 22, 2009 12:39 pm

    Wow, thanks for the exposure. I love the layout of your website too – that’s one for bookmarking 🙂

  7. July 6, 2009 10:04 pm

    Why thank-you muchly! I’m loving your blog too 🙂


  1. London to Brighton and other Clapham internet highlights | Love Clapham

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