As Perth suffers a record heat wave we hunker in our stone cottage. The sun is beating down on its walls and its tin roof would most definitely fry an egg. In the morning, before it has reached 35, we go to the dog beach. All shapes run up and down the black sand track that is the the wet shore line. Some have ridiculously short legs so their chests make contact with sand. Others have long slender stiletto legs, tiptoeing through the foam. The ocean is delicious. Salty and cool. We stay in till we have chilled right through. A bikini clad woman, rakishly thin but with fake bososms like soft balls, walks up and down the beach.
Then back home to a dark house. The blinds are down and all the rooms darkened the way my mother taught me to. Graham has hung a shade cloth out the back and even covered the east facing lounge window with a blue beach towel to stop the assault of the morning sun. But when the nights offer no relief it is hard to keep the house cool. Slowly the thermometer climbs so that indoors, at its worse, it is 32 degrees. Overhead fans stay on day and night. No cooking can be done. Even boiling the kettle seems foolish. I sit in a wet shirt by the fan.
The dog knows the coolest spot in the house; choosing to lie in the hallway on the jarrah boards. He barely moves all day.
It is Australia Day and people in other parts of the country are having outdoor BBQs and picnics. But Perth people are hiding in doors, out of the sun, if they have any sense. Some drunks persist under the heavy shade of the peppermints on the park, their beer as hot and yellow as horse piss.
The tennis and the cricket are on. Sharapova is making her characteristic high pitched I’m-having-an-orgasm wooooh as she hits each ball. Unbearable. Back to the cricket.
We are once again contemplating air conditioning. We had it when Jasper was a baby and I was seriously addicted. It made the heat outside so much worse. I became trapped in the range of my air conditioner. Unable to leave its side. I might as well have been tethered to it. Since it died a few years ago it is just an ugly non functional thing on the wall. A reminder of the once refrigerated air that flowed from it. It’s motor outside is the base from which wasps have built a nest.
So we hold off. We want to be able to go without. We want to do our bit to conserve energy. There is always the movies where I know I will be cold, be forced to slide on the cardigan I have brought with me for just this chilly feeling.