Friday, June 26, 2009


It’s been a hot day. No, not hot in the absolute sense, but in the relative, ‘hot for England’ sense. We barely skimmed 25C in the early afternoon, but considering that only last week we were hovering on and off the 15C mark, I can assure you that even a piece of rotten wood could feel the difference.

As far as I am concerned, I returned home with a very hot and heavy head, with a blocked nose and watery eyes, which is absolutely no surprise at this time of year. Still, as I opened the windows and let the guys out into the garden, I did wonder for a while how on earth I managed when I was younger, and by younger I mean as a child, when summer was spent in torrid places such as the south of Italy or the south of France, where even an evening walk by the sea could not guarantee respite in any shape or form from the day’s violent sunshine and oppressing humidity.

I remember getting ready for going out in the evening, setting foot out of the door after a shower and a change of clothes and reaching the promenade already drenched in a veil of sweat. With heat and humidity come mosquitoes, which I am allergic to and which I hate more than spiders, meaning that early life did not smell of Angel by Thierry Mugler but of Autan. One evening I thought that wearing a thick pair of jeans would at least spare me from spraying my legs but, boy was I wrong! I returned home plastered in red hot rock-hard stings that were sore and swelling by the minute. Even writing about it makes me cringe. I didn’t make that mistake again and started to spray the insect repellent on my clothes, as well as on all exposed patches of skin.

I also recall waking up at about seven in the morning in the Côte d'Azur, in the flat facing sun rise. This meant that, not only had the temperature not dipped below 26C during the night but come six am it was already starting to rise exponentially, so much so that all fuzzy thoughts were already on the crystal pool in the middle of the garden as the drive to the sea, a mere mile from home, was deemed too much hassle.

Now do you see why I developed a passion for North America in the depths of winter? You can always cover yourself up, no matter how cold it gets (cue Antarctic explorers!), but there is only so much you can do when you are stuck in a permanent greenhouse, day and night. And so, back to returning home and opening the windows, I did wonder how on earth I managed it, because I sure as hell did not enjoy it. It’s barely warm now and it annoys me deeply. Perhaps I should up sticks to Alaska. I mean, people live there, don’t they?

My problem is compounded by a house with very low ceilings, something I am still kicking myself over, seven years after buying it. I touch the ceiling with my outstretched index finder, that’s how low we are talking. Ok, I am not a dinky little woman by any stretch of the imagination, but I am not a seven foot tall giant either. So while outside it is a pleasant 20C with a gentle breeze, inside, with or without open windows, I am fighting against a stagnating 26C which sees the guys flopping around and drinking one gallon of water each per hour. Only ten minutes ago William passed me with a belly the size of a watermelon.

So I am a tiny little bit baffled when people tell me that they really enjoy the heat. But then maybe they are only talking about 24C while I am thinking 38C, 78% humidity, no respite day and night, turkish bath-like with no exit. I’ll sleep on my bed tonight and hope that some catastrophic thunderstorm will pass by so that it will be cooler tomorrow and I won’t get all light-headed and fuzzy painting that bloody garage door. In fact, if it does rain... I won’t have to paint the door at all, and that’s even better.
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