One of the constants of the universe

Sunday July 2, 2006

With great rumbles of thunder the clouds rolled over us early this morning, and it rained, cool, blessedly heavy rain for almost an hour. The track from the clubhouse down to the caravan was awash, settling the fine white dust, making little river beds, running down to the sea.

And then the clouds moved away, the sky cleared and the sun blazed down once more. It was a wonderful break while it lasted but within minutes we were paying for it as the humidity rose to even higher levels. After an hour of sunshine the only traces of the rain left to view were the baked clay streams marking the places where the runoff had coursed down the track. By the end of the day even these had gone, transformed to dust once more and stirred up by passing traffic.

I suppose you could call it a cruel, tantalizing mockery, this blatant taunting of those who’ve been suffering from the heat by delivering a promise of cooler weather to come only to snatch it away again. Me, I’ll stick with my feeling that it was a welcome relief.

So, excused from house-visiting duty, I settled in to enjoy what was in truth a lovely summer’s day as best I could, staying in the shade, keeping a bottle of water close by, and reading my book for all the world as if I were on a Cretan holiday, sitting under my favourite tree in Gouves. I got by nicely, thank you very much.

I never fail to be astonished at the degree of cruelty exhibited by the elderly to the elderly when the heat leaves some of us prostrate and suffering. Yesterday, sitting on a bench outside Sainsbury’s, I heard one old guy remark to another that he was finding the weather too hot for him and receiving in response: “This isn’t hot. When I was in Africa it was 130°F in the shade. That was hot.”

The poor old guy who’d opened the exchange was rendered speechless, and spluttered off into the store. Me, I’d have said something along the lines of “Well foopy-whucking do, and good for you.”

In the clubhouse this afternoon, when the heat was at maximum, I witnessed a sprightly little old lady prancing in front of a group of her peers who were suffering greatly, seeking shelter from the swelter outside: “Oh, I don’t mind the heat. It can’t get too hot for me.”

The only pertinent response would have been another “Well, foopy-whucking do, and good for you.” Sadly, no such response came to the lips of the sufferers who were left silently glaring as she danced off into the sunshine once more.

Anyway, I got through the day quite well, read a lot of my book, slept a little and dozed a lot, drank an awful load of water and finished up with a small cold beer and a light meal of pork and sage meatballs served in onion gravy and side-dished with garden peas and mashed potato.

“When we move into the house and get the freezer running I am going to fill one entire shelf with tubs of Tom and Jerry’s ice-cream,” I said. “It simply isn’t natural to finish a hot day without a dish of ice cream.”

“Hot or cold, you’d finish most days with a dish of ice cream if I let you.”

“And that’s wrong, how, exactly?”

“Didn’t say it was wrong. Or right. Merely observing one of the constants of the universe.”



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