I usually have Mondays off, so the current hot spell of sun is allowing me to feel like I’m actually experiencing a summer for a change. This week I also have Tuesday off as I randomly took it to break up this end of the month while finding ways to use up leave.
The combination of the Summer Reading Challenge and people insisting on wanting to take holidays with their families makes it a difficult time to take leave without leaving places understaffed, but I refuse to let that override my own need to take breaks from the joys of managing libraries.
So, as I have tomorrow off as well I’m not currently feeling the “oh gods what am I doing with my day off” feeling that usually crops up the day before returning to work – and that’s just as well given how hot it is. I have instead taken refuge in the local Costa to abuse their air conditioning while I read and try to do some writing.
The book has been on relative hiatus of late because my laptop is definitely creaking and on its last legs now, spending most of its time just updating and whirring it’s fans at me – we have a backup desktop that I plan to use as a backup machine but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy something simple and convenient to write on.
I’d better start saving up.
We tumbled down the grassy slope together, sliding and rolling out of control, pulling and being pulled by our own intertwined limbs and the demands of gravity and momentum. The sun beat down on us with a dry haze that threatened to transform lush grass into harsh hay. We didn’t care. Birdsong trilled somewhere above us; a skylark protesting our intrusion here. In that moment it was just a detail to be recalled later, rather than a signpost or warning.
Over and over we rolled. Sometimes it was fast, with the shocks of our bouncing bodies forcing air from our lungs in exulted protest. At other moments our journey threatened to stop, and we consciously hauled ourselves forward to start a further burst of tumbling.
Over each other, arms locked, and legs flailing, challenging dare accepted and yet regretted. Somewhere above us our respective parents were probably either praying that we didn’t ruin our clothing or break each other’s necks. Rueful expectations of bruises and shouted promises of deprivations to come did nothing to dissuade us from our erratic downward trajectory. The threat of early bed barely registered in the face of our adrenaline rush.
Down and down, until the slope became steeper, and old molehills and the soft tussocks conspired to separate us. We bounced and rolled faster, and perhaps in that moment we remembered fear and the stone wall waiting at the bottom of the field. Topped with barbed wire and seated in churned mud that was surely mixed with sheep dung from when flocks roamed here, we hadn’t thought about it until now.
And then we stopped rolling, breathless and muddy, with scraped knees and scuffed shoes. Our shirts were smeared and ripped, and at some point we must have gone through nettles because painful blistered welts were visible on our exposed skin. The tingling pain began to filter through, but the blood racing through our veins was pounding too hard for either of us to care.
Something silvery flashed on the slope above us – and we remembered the teatray we’d started our descent on mere moments ago. It felt like years. It probably felt even longer for our parents up there at the top of Box Hill.
I love working in a library with air conditioning. I love even more being the person who knows how to control it. Power mad, me? Perish the thought – though I have thought on more than one occasion that perhaps occasionally lowering the temperature in the public computer area to sub Arctic temperatures might serve as a good way of encouraging some of the local characters to stop kipping down there on a regular basis.
I especially love working in a building with working air conditioning when we get lovely periods of summer heat – like this week, where the outside temperatures have been approaching those we encountered in Florida last year. In that respect it’s been a wonderful early present – to walk to and from work, and lounge around out of work, in tropical heat, but being cool and comfortable when it comes to needing to shift stock around or interact with the public.
I really can’t complain…
I have to say I’m enjoying the heat and sunshine far more than I have in previous years, and its largely down to a couple of physical changes.
Firstly I’m wearing my hair a lot shorter these days than I have done in the past. Long gone are the days of hair down past the small of my back. These days I grab the clippers and buzz cut my hair back to an even grade two about once a month.
Secondly, and far more importantly, is that the weight I lost when I started treatment with Byetta has stayed off with the shift to Bydureon. I still have a little bit of a belly these days, but its more feasibly the type to respond to situps and exercise than the barrel configuration I used to sport.
I even got accused by Lady M of looking skinny on the chest last night, to which I replied that the heat had just made it melt and accumulate further down my body.
In terms of the heatwave then, while I’m sweating along with everyone else in the UK, its more of a perspiring glow than the rivers that I used to have to mop up, so I really can’t complain too much as long as I’m sensible with keeping my fluids up.
The most recent blood tests have all been positive too, so just a bit more weight to come off so I don’t feel totally self conscious when I head to the beach for my honeymoon.