15 July, 2006

Scorched earth

Today was St Swithin's Day, when tradition dictates that, if it rains, it will continue to do so uninterrupted for a further 40 days.

Fat chance. The sun beat down from dawn to dusk, as it has done for the past week or so, and looks set to do again at least for the next few days.

I think the reason this numbingly hot weather is affecting, and afflicting, me so much, is that I get to feel the sharp end up of it twice a day during the week when I have to use the Underground.

If I was able to walk or get the bus to work, or didn't have to leave the house at all, I'm sure it would be less of an issue. Instead I know I'll be having to once more take a seat in the equivalent of a mobile furnace for around 40 minutes on Monday morning, a thought that fills me with despair.

Saying that, and at the risk of repeating myself (just for a change), the absence of any substantial rain from London for what feels like months is now both a physical and psychological curse. It's reached the point that, during a TV drama I was watching today set in World War Two, a scene set in a room with rain falling outside left me profoundly moved - not so much because of what was being said, but of what was not being said. It just looked and felt the way the country is supposed to be: damp, temperate, breezy, withdrawn. The way the country seems furthest from ever truly being again.

The polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On St Swithin's Day
- Billy Bragg


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