I think it is safe to say that summer has most definitely arrived in Perth. Temperatures are way up, the sun is out and the sky comes in just one shade of a very bright blue.
After all those months of moaning about how cold it got in the winter, here I am, cooking slowly in my own skin. Add an onion, a couple of carrots and a bay leaf and I’ll be good to go.
For the most part I love the heat. Always have. Something to do perhaps with growing up in Africa and being oven baked at a very young age. Having later gone to live in the blistering heat of the Middle East, followed by Singapore, I can’t say basking in the warmth of the sun every day has ever really given me a cause for complaint.
So yes, I do love the heat. Humidity, on the other hand, is not my friend. Granted, Singapore is about as humid as it gets, but life is conducted in homes, cars, offices and shopping malls, all of which are cooled down to the same arctic temperature as a freezer storage unit.
Here in sunny WA however, our evaporative air-con, while totally effective 95% of the time and a bargain at around $1 a day to run, does absolutely bugger all when a humid day rears it’s unwelcome head. Well I suppose it’s a bit unfair to say it does nothing. It does gather together all of the hot air flowing through the pipes in the sweltering loft space above, and then puff it down on to us in great muggy blasts.
As we did last year, this year we have decided that next year we are definitely going to invest in an air-con unit that actually does what it says on the tin.
Aside from that gripe all is fun in the sun, though perhaps not for the dog, who is admittedly spending far more time passed out under the trees than he is fetching balls. Our grass is also facing an uphill battle to stay green, and all of my various vegetables (except the peppers) have given up the good fight and withered away to nothing. So much for my grand plan to grow the contents of our crisper drawer this year.
The interior of my car, when left out in the sun, can now double up as a microwave. By the time I have strapped my son into his seat, shut his door and opened mine – ‘ping’ he is done. If I forget to put my cars ‘sunglasses’ on, the steering wheel is just about hot enough to remove my skin on impact.
On the subject of glasses. Over the past few months I have taken on similar facial markings to that of a panda. I have large permanent white rings around my eyes, giving me a somewhat startled appearance when at their worst. On the upside, I believe I have probably lessened my chances of being run over at night.
The trouble with the sun in Perth is that it gives a whole new meaning to the word bright. Having very light sensitive eyes, if I go outside without sunglasses I will almost certainly be blinded by the glare, and possibly reduced to nothing more than a pile of dust on the pavement. Exposing my eyes to the elements will also give my skin just the excuse it’s been looking for to start wrinkling out of control. So if it’s a choice between looking like a candidate for Beijing Zoo’s breeding program, or looking like a little old lady who works 12 hours a day in the paddy fields, then there really is no competition. Bring on the bamboo and just call me Chi Chi.
Of course having a pool is a God send when the temperature shoot up. It also makes up for the rest of the year when it just sits there in the garden, like a rather attractive water feature. Unfortunately after a few days in the late 30’s, a pool can become something of a tepid bath, and swimming in a bath is not always relaxing. So when looking to cool down, the best trick I have found is to leap straight out from the shower and stand spreadeagled in front of a fan. Of course best to first check that the floor isn’t too wet on the way out and that your curtains are firmly closed.
One benefit of the heat is that I can now get my clothes washed, dried and back on within 45 minutes. How handy is that, it just makes doing the housework that little bit more special. All fabrics are currently drying within minutes of coming into contact with the peg, unlike in the winter months when clothes get draped across every surface in the house until the overpowering smell of mildew takes over, and they end up in the tumble drier.
Of course, if when pegging out your stuff you forget to turn your things inside out and hang your tops up back to front, by the time you bring them in they will have faded by several shades in the most obvious places. Or, if like me, you often forget to bring the washing in at all, then after several days all your have to do is open your door and let the clothes march in by themselves. I currently have at least 14 crispy fried shirts all sat in a basket, each one so rigid that I know it’s going to laugh in the face of the steam iron.
That said and done, we have been lucky in Perth. Despite the soaring temperatures, we haven’t had to contend with any of the terrible bush fires that have devastated parts of Southern Australia. This last week has proved what a a scary thing nature can be and with global warming on the war path, weather patterns as we know them are being turned on their heads.
For now the best thing is just to stay inside and avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day, slap sun cream on every inch of exposed skin and drink my bodies weight in water everyday. As I keep telling my daughter, by the time you realise you’re thirsty, your body is already well on it’s way towards dehydration.
These pictures show how even the locals understand the importance of a good drink!