I hear the US is suffering huge bushfires again. And that Greece has been sweltering in the mid-forties. Even Moscow seems to be doing pretty well in the high twenties this summer. But have we seen any of it?
For the last month it has rained on average four times a day. This would be great if we were a drought stricken country with horses dropping dead in paddocks and whole townships having to live off bottled water because the reservoirs have dried up BUT WE AREN´T. At the moment Berlin is currently only slightly less sucky than Manchester, a place where I turned down a job because in the three days I was there it rained on me thirty-seven times. After a three year contract there I would have been universally known as that slightly insane frizzy-haired Aussie chick and how do we avoid talking to her about the weather?
It isn´t that it´s been warm weather rain either. Today´s top will be fifteen degrees and that´s been a pretty good average. It did hit the twenties on the weekend for about fifteen minutes before the black clouds swooped in again.
However there is something even worse than the unseasonal cold weather and that is the fully seasonal turning off of all heating. Our central heating (and for that matter the standard in Germany) is radiators filled with water heated by a giant oil heater in the cellar and in winter is absolutely fabulous and so much better than any form of hot air blowing heating you can imagine. But this is centrally controlled and, as a rule, every heater in the country is turned off on May 1st. Ours were actually turned off earlier because April had been so mild.
So in the last few weeks I´ve been freezing, particularly at night when it has been getting down to five degrees. I´ve been waking up with pounding headaches because all my shoulder muscles freeze up in the cold until it occurred to me last night that I could put on a shirt for bed. While this may appear obvious to everyone else, I am someone who absolutely can´t stand wearing anything to bed because it usually ends up caught up around my shoulders, twisted under my chin so that I can´t breathe and trapping my arms in positions of such impossibility that chiropractors would like to write research articles on me and Houdini´s descendants are threatening me with copyright infringement of his escape manoeuvres. This is only slightly better than what happens when I wear pyjama bottoms to bed. Who does that? How do they not end up bunched above your knees like a bulky pair of shorts, leaving calves to chill while thighs overheat and giving you a wedgie to rival the worst that primary school bullies could inflict?
So I tend to do without. In fact, I´d happily spend days wandering around in the buff if the weather was warmer and we had curtains. The fifty-seven flats that can see in our windows may not be too happy with getting to know me THAT well. Although it might pull the sixteen year old across the street away from his computer for a while, if only to shudder briefly in horror and spend an hour a week in therapy for the next eight years.
But last night I managed an entire night´s sleep with a shirt on and suffered only slight strangulation. My left arm did go numb with the bunched up sleeve cutting off circulation, but my shoulders feel so much better, and the headache is actually missing this morning, that I may be tempted to try it again tonight. Who´d have thought wearing clothes could be useful?