It’s been a ruthless winter. Despite a religious moisturising regime, last summer’s hard-earned melanin is a distant memory. You’ve reverted to your natural hue – a pale shade of ghoulish. But fear not, two weeks of lounger action and you’ll be back to your glowing best. Yes, we know these days that “David Dickinson orange” is not a cool look. We know we need to proceed with caution. We’ve all limped home on the first day, pinker than planned, caked in after-sun, wondering if we’ve blown it. But we didn’t fly half way around the world to spend a fortnight cowering under a parasol. So start on at least a factor 30 and show some restraint. The first couple of days can be slow, but by day three your hard work is beginning to pay off. Just to make sure, you slip your waistband down an inch, and there it is! The year’s first glimpse of the ultimate holiday litmus test: your tan line in all its nascent glory. There’s no denying the pleasure that comes from comparing the old and new you. If, after a week, you insist on using a lower factor, do try to avoid too much midday sun. And as your skin begins to turn amber, let this be an indication to slow down. By now, you’ll be checking your tan line on the hour (or every 10 minutes during twilight, when it looks particularly fine). You’re in the final stretch, the last few days of sun. Heck, the oil’s out! Probably time to rein it in and start the preservation work. Because you know that on some gloomy October day, you’ll glimpse yourself in the gym and there it will be: your tan line, hanging in there, a secret, pleasurable totem of a summer well spent.