This is my last summer column of the season. Not of the year, though, because of course we get two hits at summer every year - the first two months and the last month of the year.

It's been a funny old summer, hasn't it? One day it is stinking hot, then it's blowing, then it rains for three days.

Saturday was one out of the box. A whopping 35C, according to TV One.

It was bloody hot as I strolled down Marine Parade in the early afternoon. I have never seen so many parasols - or lace umbrellas, as some people call them. Apparently you couldn't buy one for love nor money in Hastings by last Thursday afternoon.


It was fantastic to see Napier literally pumping with people. Some took refuge from the sun wherever there was a smidgen of shade, sitting against shop walls and under eaves.

I felt sorry for some of the women dressed to the nines in long-sleeved dresses, stockings and closed-in shoes on what I'm sure was the hottest day of summer.

No one seemed to mind, though - they were still smiling and enjoying themselves.

One thing that has stood out for me this summer with people baring their limbs is the number of young women with tattoos. I don't mean the little bird on the ankle or the rose on the shoulder.

I'm actually amazed at how many people have a tattoo. I know women who have got them to mark a birthday, the birth of a child, or just a special event in their lives.

No, I'm talking about arms and legs covered in ink. I don't mind tattoos at all, but I can't help but cringe when I see these young women marking so much of their beautiful skin for life.

I wonder how they will feel in 10 years' time when they are perhaps applying for a job. Will they go along with tattoos on show or will they cover them?

How about in 30 years' time when their skin starts to wrinkle? Maybe they won't care. I don't know.

What if they want to join the police? states: "Employees having regular contact with the public should consider the potential impact that visible tattoos could have on the public.

"Employees should not have tattoos in prominent places such as the hands or face. Where employees have tattoos on the lower arm they will need to cover these up if they are considered offensive or inappropriate.

"Tattoos that are rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian or homophobic are considered inappropriate."

Tattoos have been around for centuries and they play a huge part in many cultures.

They can be colourful and fun, but on some people they can be intimidating.

When I was young, I associated tattoos with sailors and tough guys.

I think lots of young people have been influenced by celebrities.

Pink is inked, as are Angelina Jolie and Rihanna (who has also had some removed), to name just a few.

Watch C4 and see for yourself. Just about every music clip has someone with tattoos. The same goes for our sports stars.

The trouble with this trend is when it becomes unfashionable - and it will, everything does - you can't just take it off like a pair of flared jeans.

There are ways to get rid of tattoos but I imagine it would be a long, expensive and painful procedure.

Far better to think before you ink.

Linda Hall is assistant editor at Hawke's Bay Today.