There are only a few things in life that can floor the Irish. A small fall of snow. A few flakes and we’re closing roads and skiving off work and school. The second thing is a draught. There’s seemingly nothing as fatal to the Irish person as the draught that you sat in a week or so ago and which now has ya at death’s door. And the third thing is the heat. The heat. The heattttttttttt.
Take us away from our own climes and we can live in any heat. Stick us digging holes or hanging off skyscrapers in Dubai and we’re grand. Have us trekking through Peru or the outest outbacks of Australia and there’s nothing but a mild freckle that will be raised, and a million stories to dine out on. I recall hot summers on the streets on London where we volunteered to climb through narrow underground chambers to pull cables a hundred yards or more to the next chamber, just to enjoy the steaming heat and the cold chill of the subterranean drops that fell welcomingly onto our bare backs.
But give us the heat in our own place and we’re cursing it. ‘Tis killing us, we hear people say. There’s nothing that can kill the thirst or enable the sleep. There is not a window that can be opened wide enough. Who’d have thought that after the year we had that we’d be giving out about being too warm.
Get on the roads this week anywhere near midnight and you see people strolling because they can’t sleep and are out walking because unless they’re those mad dogs and Englishmen, they haven’t been able to tolerate the rays of midday. Social media is alive with people oversharing how their bits are stuck to their clothes.
A red-haired friend of mine was teasing a group of us this week that at least we got something out of the heat, an eventual tan perhaps; that on the other hand she was having to go through all this for nothing.
But the heat has also been a wonderful distraction that has enabled more of us to eat outside at a time when we are trying to get back indoors again. The gardens that were so well tended during lockdown got their (pardon the pun ) day in the sun; the wonderful areas of rewilding that were allowed to grow au natural last year and this have yielded a fantastic spray of visual treats. Even the bees who had been working from home found it was worthwhile to leave the hive of inactivity and get doing their job again.
It is great to see and hear people interacting again, but let us heed the notice of the HSE this week. The numbers in this region have been spiralling so this weekend and the week ahead, enjoy yourself but do so in a safe manner. Safe is the new sexy. Wash those hands, wear your masks where you have to, and try to avoid the large groupings, even outside. Keep the even spacing and within a few weeks, we’ll be nearing a safer stage. Now, get that wasp off my sandwich...will Galway bate Mayo?