We would not be British if we didn’t complain about the weather. We may be a country in waiting for a Royal baby now overdue, but it remains our duty to revolve every conversation we have about the terrible torment that is the sun, rain, hail or fog.
Today, dear England is slow and hot and heavy, the sun turning my skin lobster pink within a few moments of daring to sit under it’s gaze and poor little Alice the kitten shocked by air suddenly rendered claustrophobic.
I have been drowsy. Sleepwalking through a day in which my parental duties were absolved by Finley’s absence. It is odd to be so frequently relieved of the obligation to listen to his relentless chatter and each weekend I feel both beautifully un-tethered and desperately guilty. Free, but chained and worried about nothing for heaven knows he is safe.
But I make the most of it. There is a breakfast of Eggs Benedict on sour dough, and endless glasses of lavender iced tea. I wander in and out of the garden picking herbs and gathering roses, while Richard paints anything and everything with a coat of cream paint. Friends pop by. Children harass Alice with a feather on a stick and Alice, gamely plays along. I rub aloe vera gel onto outraged shoulders and mix up parsley mayonnaise for burgers on the barbie. It gets hotter and I get slower, lying down with witch hazel pads on my eyes and Edith Piaf on the ipad. There is no air. There hasn’t been for days: bedtime a suffocating drama of tangled sheets and the sudden burst of strangers conversation as they pass by, their midnight laughter making its way into my bedroom through windows thrown wide open
But in the daytime the bedroom is the coolest room in the house and soon I am trailing my hot self up the stairs, closing the curtains to cast gorgeous shadows across my cream bedroom and pulling back the quilt on the bed, to re-make it with a crisp, orange blossom scented sheet, then stripping off to crawl underneath it and revel for a moment in cool beatitude. This then is the height of luxury: napping in the afternoon, with peppermint oil burning to cool down my senses to the sound track of other peoples lawnmowers.
I sleep. A deep, beautiful sleep of the kind I remember sleeping in the mid-afternoon sun in Italy and Spain. And again, in the summer when I was pregnant with Finn and frequently on the verge of spontaneous combustion. A confused coma of grateful bliss: pure, physical assuagement, whole body relief, purring like a cat in pure pleasure and falling in and out tumbly daydreams.
Yes, this is it I think: the height of luxury – a Sunday siesta on a hot Summer’s day.