10 June, 2006

Mercury rising

It's supposed to be the hottest weekend of the year so far, which seems to be as good a reason as any for tucking yourself away inside for the duration and trying to keep as cool as possible before the next opportunity arises to be inside an air-conditioned building. Which for me is Monday morning, back at work.

The hottest I think I've ever been was in July 1994 in Nice, France. I was only there for three days, but they were the most uncomfortable, unforgiving 72 hours of my life. I would go to bed covered in sweat and wake up the same way. I'd step out of the shower and find myself sweating again 60 seconds later. The temperature must have been up in the mid-30s, par for the course for the locals, but a whole new world to a pale, pasty-faced English teenager.

It was really very distressing, which makes me sound like a Wooster-esque upper class flapper from the 1930s, but I make no apologies for my shamelessly old-fashioned response to warm weather, nor the way I react. By which I mean react in the mental sense. It's not that I come out in any peculiar rash or anything. Unless you count grumpiness as a kind of psychological condition.

Unfortunately the flat I live in does not allow for much coolness. I've got an electric fan, but that merely pushes the warm air around the place with even more alacrity. Looking through the open windows I can see pollution outside already beginning to settle atop the city like an outrageously offensive hairnet. All this, and my local water company is applying for a drought order, which would mean, among other things, no more street-cleaning, fountains, car washes, or swimming pools.

I know full well that if I was still living in Liverpool I wouldn't give a toss about London's water supply or its hopelessly smog-filled streets. I'm sure the rest of the country feels much the same way. Yet I'm also sure that if, say, Glasgow was suddenly blighted by extreme drought conditions, there wouldn't be anywhere near as much fuss being kicked up by the media.

It's the usual hot-headed southern mentality manifesting itself again. Which, given this weekend's supposed baking temperatures, is sadly only going to get worse. So there's nothing for it but to shelter from the relentless rays behind, well, preferably a shelter of some kind, do a spot of housework, dip into a good book, do a bit of writing, set to unblocking the plug in my bath, and watch Doctor Who this evening. After all, there's not much else of consequence going on today.

Isn't there?


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