So, here in the UK we’re having a heatwave with temperatures pushing 30C as I write and warnings of 40 tomorrow. As I’m diabetic I’m keeping an extra eye on myself and keeping hydrated and as in the shade as I can so I don’t burn my shaved head and boil my own brain. Perhaps I’m not particularly exercised at the moment though because of my relative memories of visiting Florida a few years back during one of their heatwaves. You could tell it was hot because even the native Floridians were commenting on it and I lost track of the number of overworked air conditioning units I saw leaking everywhere.
Thinking more close to home however, I was reminded today that the last time we had weather like this was in the summer of 1976 – which for me remains the high bar of the perfect summer (at least judged through the eyes of four year old me) – the days were long, we ran around in very little. We had a paddling pool pretty much permanently up or being refilled. The garden paving slabs were too hot to walk barefoot on – but of course being me I made a game of how long I could run on them before either hopping into shadow or onto the dry crinkled grass beside it. I don’t remember burning my feet but I’m sure my parents despaired.
We had a dog – a dalmation – who very sensibly stayed indoors, or stretched out in the shade with a expression of “touch me and die”. He was a vicious brute, but he was our vicious brute, and he would greatly enjoy accompanying dad into the church to lie on the cool flagstones inside and keep him company.
Thinking about it, I’m pretty sure I’m mixing up memories of being older in a similar hot summer a few years later while living at a different vicarage but the basics remain the same. I can’t remember very much from my childhood – but hot summers definitely made their mark.
Is there a point to this? Not really, just sharing reminiscences born of the heat and how this weekend is largely spent doing very little, or appreciating the shade as I do things like take the recycling out or do battle in tesco to take advantage of their air conditioning. At least with no children in the house I can enjoy walking round naked in the flat while the water from my most recent cool shower evaporates. Now there’s an image…