Basking in the sun

Sunday August 8, 2004

It looks as though tomorrow will see the end of the present hot spell. If so, it’s going out with a bang—my subjective measure is that we’ve had a record-breaking amount of sunshine today, and we’re in for an uncomfortably hot night. Then it’ll break.

My response to the heat is more complex than it used to be. My head still loves it. I look out on a landscape bleaching under the sun, languid and lazy, and I see the world through a Vincent van Gogh filter. My heart is a more mechanical beast than it used to be and, while there’s still passion in it, responding to the light with joy, the way it ought, it labours rather more heavily than is entirely comfortable. I’d be worried about that if I thought the hot season was going to last much longer. New to the mix, my ankles and lower legs act as barometers of my internal meteorology. As the heat has gone on they have become more and more swollen until now I seem to be sloshing about in water-filled wellington boots. I can only take so many diuretic pills for the condition, and I’m on the maximum dose right now. As soon as things cool down both my heart and my ankles will ease up. In the meantime I just have to be careful and live with it.

The astonishing thing is, despite the retained fluid, I still need to be careful to avoid dehydration. It’s a perverse thing, is the human body as it ages. It’s all a matter of balance and, thankfully, I now know what to watch for and how to treat it. As a result I’ve had no breathing trouble.

On the positive side, my weight has remained pretty constant to within a pound or two. That means that, when I get rid of the excess fluid, I’ll be a good few pounds lighter than when the hot weather began. There’s always a silver lining. You just need to be calm, and seek it out.

I was looking at the price of airconditioning units a few days back. They seem to be dropping steadily and, if the trend continues, will soon be affordable. Maybe next year. I can’t put it off forever.

So, in an extremely quiet way, I’ve enjoyed the day. Sunshine is still good.

It’s more than likely that the weather change will bring a bit of drama with it. No matter. I adore thunder storms and, if we get the downpour the forecasters predict, I shall don swimmers and go out to wash the car. I have bucket, sponge and shampoo all ready. I refuse to use drinking water in the summer for this job and, this year, the poor old thing hasn’t had a decent wash in months. There’s still a nice little blue Ford under all that dust and grime, and beneath the layers of squashed insects.

We could do with a small fountain for the back garden in time for next year. We’ve plans still brewing for a permanent catio rather than the temporary lash-up we put together just before the summer settled in, and I’m determined there shall be a fountain.

But that’s next year. A lot can happen between now and then, not least a winter when, if I’ve any sensibility left in me, I shall look back on this season with pleasure and not a little longing.


Water lily, basking in the sun



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