Saturday July 1, 2006
I can’t accurately remember the quote but it’s said that the best battle plan lasts only as long as the first skirmish with the enemy. My battle plan, outlined in yesterday’s entry, encountered my enemy—the heat wave—this morning as I walked out of the Bridgwater Sainsbury’s into a damp hot blanket of heat that’d rolled in some hours before the forecast time. I wilted almost instantly in the fierce sunshine and lost the first skirmish.
Don’t know the actual temperature but the overall effect was to bring me to the point where I start having to be careful not to over exert myself.
I clambered into the car and set the airconditioner on full, moaning my delight as the cold air washed over me. It’s a very short drive from there over to the house, however, and the heat hit me again as I got out into the sunshine once more. Indoors it wasn’t so very bad—modern window design and standards of insulation keep the heat out in summer just as effectively as they work to keep the warmth in during the winter. Even so, I was dripping by the time I’d unloaded the car. I threw the french doors open wide so I could sit down with a mug of coffee and assess my situation.
Apart from replacing lost liquid the coffee didn’t help too much and I was still dripping when I finished it.
I toured the house, checking for any problems especially in the bathrooms and, when I got back to the kitchen, poured myself a glass of water, and tidied up a bit. I was still dripping.
Heaving a big sigh of regret I shut the house up again, got back into the car, and gave up for the rest of the weekend. It was too hot for me to even think about doing any work.
I don’t know where I got the idea that I’d end up as one of those wonderful lean and wizened old men who stare straight into the sun on the hottest days and challenge it to slow them down. I don’t come from wizened stock. My grandfather was a big man, as was my father, and my grandmothers were both of them chubby women. I’ve fought a battle against obesity since my early fifties and, while I’m winning, there’s no way I can be described as wizened. I’ve achieved most of my ambitions in life but I think I’m unlikely to win out on the wizened stakes.
When you’re condemned by inheritance, culture and appetite to carry more weight than is healthy you have to expect, as you get older, to find heat a bit of a problem. When the heat goes on for days and days it becomes more than just a bit of a problem, it becomes a threat to your whole physical well-being. I’m fortunate in that, when it gets to that stage, I can manage perfectly well by simply suspending all physical activity and sitting in the shade with a fan and a good supply of cold water, just waiting it out.
In normal times it’s not a problem. I have my battle plan to follow, though, and I could really do with a change in the weather. Hey ho. The plan isn’t broken, it’s just on hold.
“I’m ever so sorry,” I said when I teamed up with Graham back at the holiday club. “It’s too hot for me to do any work, I’m afraid.”
“Don’t worry about it. The job’ll still be there when things cool down and the house won’t get worse for a few days while you put your feet up.”
“No, of course not. I’ll be good and wait it out. Shame, though, just as I was getting to grips with the project.”
“I know. I wish I could be more help but I’ve got this lot to look after.”
I looked about me at all the grey haired oldies draped randomly around the bar, few of them wizened and many of them fanning themselves languorously, waiting for things to cool down.
“We’ll survive,” I said, and waddled down to the caravan for a cool shower followed by a long afternoon siesta behind drawn shades, emulating Dolly’s maxim that there’s no such thing as a problem you can’t sleep through.