The Summer is coming. Get under something – quick. Before it rains..... Actually, this year is apparently set to be one of the best for ages. Finally, a series of sizzling summer months await all us drenched islanders. And about time, too – if the last three years were to set the standard for the summer to come, we’d all be emigrating. And the credit crunch, unfortunately, has made that impossible. Best get the patio sun shades out and make the most of it then. And what, we hear you cry, are patio sun shades? Patio sun shades are a rather funky innovation from our brothers and sisters Down Under, who are of course used to a bit of sun. Unlike the flimsy parasol, which doesn’t help when it rains and doesn’t really shade when it’s hot, patio sun shades are explicitly designed to block the harmful bits of the sun’s light (UV rays), offer genuine coolness underneath (unlike the tent like boiling one gets in the “shade” of a parasol) and even look nice into the bargain. That’s right – patio sun shades look nice. No longer will we have to suffer under the yoke of tacky garden furniture, and no more will our children be forced to listen to the broken-hearted flapping of yet another snapped spoke or loosened piece of canvas. Patio sun shades are sturdy and beautiful – and they don’t even have supports to break. Patio sun shades either connect directly to the sides of a house – like an awning made of highly-polished sail canvas – or they are fixed to an attractive, mast like pole quite different from the flimsy two-part parasol stalks that we are used to. Patio sun shades come in a variety of gorgeous colors, though standard white is easily the best – with the white shade sails, you get a very pleasing contrast between the greens and petals of the garden and the stark white of the shade. Because they’re stiff, and shaped, patio sun shades look like nothing so much as pieces of avant-garde art: like floating sculpture by Anthony Gormley or Henry Moore. And they repel over 85% of the sun’s harmful rays. With a possibly actually quite hot summer on the horizon, and a nation of gardens crying out for some decent shade – not to mention decent-looking garden furniture – it looks like it might finally be the time to invest. Get those shrimps on the Barbie – and hoist the patio sun shades. It’s gonna be a scorcher.