The weather forecaster on telly, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and stupid grin, could barely contain his excitement. ‘You’ll be pleased to hear this lovely sunshine will be continuing right into next week, folks, so get those barbecues fired up!’
I chucked another toffee wrapper at the screen and shifted the bag of frozen peas perched precariously on my head.
Then the forecaster turned on his sad face and sighed, ‘but it’s not all fun in the sun (dramatic pause), children, elderly people and those with chronic illnesses, take extra care!’ It feels strange to be in that category now, a bit like when you move up a section on the ‘tick your age bracket’ question on forms.
The country’s gone mad. I pass the time of day peering through my window, counting all the men who really should know better than to parade their naked, tattooed bellies to an unsuspecting public. Newspapers eagerly tell us we’re hotter than Spain, France, Morocco. Shops have been stripped bare of ice lollies, burger buns and cider. £5 paddling pools are changing hands for £50 on Ebay.
Which is all well and good, but we just don’t do hot weather in this country. Same as we don’t do snow. Our European cousins would frown upon our fondness for frolicking around in garish ‘summer clothes’, gnarled feet shoved into plastic flip-flops, downing lager like there’s no tomorrow. They’re the ones who coolly sip an espresso in a shady cafe, clad in perfectly coordinated outfits, chic neck-scarf tied in the way only Europeans can manage.
Frankly, us Brits embarrass ourselves. So, I am going to turn MS heat intolerance to my advantage. I will cultivate a Euro-chic demeanor. I will re-name my afternoon MS fatigue sleep a siesta. I will stay out of the midday sun and embrace my Celtic paleness. If I venture out at night for a drink , I will walk primly past the sunburned sun-worshipers. I won’t be hosting a barbecue, but will instead sit in an dark, arty bar talking about arty things and existentialism.
So all you MS peeps with heat intolerance, join me in my one-woman mission. If I can just get that knot right on my neck-scarf, I’ll be right with you.