Scribbler in Seville

Heat and dust

Summer´s arrived, which means searing heat and dazzling sunshine by 10am, sunglasses and sunblock a daily neccessity, mosquitoes at night, as well as the most varied collection of bugs that I´ve seen anywhere outside a natural history museum – flying, jumping, crawling… and no going outside till 7pm (doctor´s orders, strong sun to be avoided due to my son´s blood condition). The morning is the only reasonable time to get anything done – shopping, work, housework – unless you have the luxury of air-con. I try to abstain for as long as bearable, as I inevitably end up with a cold (although in the car it is completely unavoidable, unless you want to melt into a small puddle of goo on your seat – not pretty).

It is an overwhelming, knock-you-off-your-feet kind of heat; a friend once described it as ´like being blasted with a hairdryer’ – the best way of conveying the sensation I´ve heard. It´s the sort of heat that makes you feel utterly lethargic between about 2pm and 10pm – walking across the room takes an enormous amount of effort, unless it´s to open the fridge. It´s worse in the confines of a city, obviously, with the narrow, heat-trapping streets and tall buildings – at least out here in the country, we get what little breeze there is, and by 10pm it´s quite pleasant outside. Cooler nights mean no air-con too – cheaper and greener. But come July, we´ll be sweating and tossing and turning all night – when you complain how hot it is in summer to people who don´t live here, they say, ´´Oh but it cools off at night, right?´´ Wrong, unfortunately – if only. (One small upside – the washing dries as soon as you put it out!)

Sarongs and bare feet are de rigeur (chilly in winter, marble comes into its own as an ideal flooring in the southern Spanish sweltering summer), as is a fridge full of chilled water, and a freezer full of ice lollies. Also a looooong siesta, ideally streamlined with your child´s. And frequent, short showers (cool off, but save water) – and sticking your feet in your child´s paddling pool. Watering plants and lawn, rapidly developing dry, dusty, bald patches, is essential but deeply, deeply unappealing, as is just about anything except sprawling on the sofa and gazing listlessly at dire Spanish TV programmes – irritatingly moronic and mindless beyond belief – even reading takes too much effort. As for sitting at the computer and doing some work – well, maybe later, when it´s cooled off a bit…

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