A passage to the sun

Tuesday July 4, 2006

Another day of enforced inactivity. I stayed on the holiday camp and meandered through the hours, becoming more and more discontent and uncomfortable. The ironic thing, and strange, too, was that the temperature had in fact dropped a little but not enough to let my system begin to recover significantly.

I shouldn’t be surprised of course. One of the main reasons that some older people flake in the heat is that the glands producing the secretions that help to control body temperature in adverse climates have grown sluggish over the years and simply don’t do the job so very well any more. There’s no reason to expect them suddenly to recover when the temperature begins to drop. It takes time. I’m getting there.

Then, around ten thirty this evening, the breeze came up, shifted direction a little, and the cooler air came to our rescue. There have been distant rumbles of thunder all day and I’ve been expecting a rainstorm to roll in. For one tantalizing minute or two a few heavy raindrops fell on the caravan several times during the day but they stopped as quickly as they’d started. Perhaps we’ll fare better tomorrow.

I heard one untypically incautious weather forecaster say that it’s likely the heat wave will break finally by the weekend. I hope she’s right.

I’ve managed reasonably well, shutting down as much as I’ve been able, and just waiting it out. Other folks haven’t been so fortunate and I feel for them, deeply. I don’t have so much feeling for those insensitive and uncaring old biddies who’ve been prancing about, gloating, and doing the “it can’t get too hot for me” act. Without wishing them any actual harm, it can’t get cold enough to satisfy my need for a little schadenfreude so far as they are concerned.

Hopefully, then, the project will pick up once more by the end of the week.

As to the heatwave, we’re planning to have an element of airconditioning in the new house in good time for whatever next year may bring. A fixed unit in the master bedroom, certainly, and possibly a portable machine that’ll live mostly in my study, too. I’ve been watching the price and performance of the units on the British market for two or three years now and while improvements in performance have been sluggish, the price of the things has reduced quite significantly. I don’t intend to go for an ice-cold palace, just a little relief when things get tough. I’ve been planning for this for some time now, setting aside enough cash to pay for two units during the run up to moving away from Lincolnshire. I wonder if my plans signal a more general change in the parsimonious British and European attitude towards airconditioning? A Europe-wide demand for efficient domestic airconditioning machines would be a good thing; most current models seem to be designed for a long-gone era of cheap energy supplies.

And now, I’m bored with the subject. I’ll try not to dwell on it so much though I make no apology for my obsession—it’s been a tough time for me these past two weeks.

Strolling back from the clubhouse this evening I stood for a while watching the sun as it proceeded down the heavens towards the sea. I ought to have had my camera with me but it’s been hiding in my bag for a couple of weeks now, keeping out of the heat. When I don’t take pictures I take notes. Sometimes those notes lead me to a poem.


A passage to the sun
Slipping seawards over an incoming tide
the sun paints golden stepping stones
as the foreshore fills with placid waters.
Step by step, the stones grow larger and closer.
There is a temptation in me to leap out and continue,
stone by glowing stone, searching for a new horizon.
The tide continues, the sun proceeds, and the
stepping stones join, liquefy, form a glowing river,
make a passage fit for Phaeton, but not for me.
John Bailey
Somerset, July 2006



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