Sunday, December 20, 2015

How to Beat the Aussie Heat

I'll let you into a little secret.  I hate the heat.  Blergh.  When I say 'heat' I mean those really extreme days that we get here in Australia.  Actually for me 'extreme' is anything above 35 degrees (95 F).  At the moment, in the state of Victoria, where I live (which is the south east corner for those who don't know), we are experiencing a heatwave.  Today is the third day in a row of stupid heat.   It started with a sultry 39 degrees (102.2 F), yesterday was 40 (104 F)....yes, I said 40...and today we are expecting another 40 degree day.  As you can imagine, by the third or fourth day you are well and truly over it and praying for the cool change.

Lucky, where I live, our heatwaves of three or four days (at the most), are always followed by a cool change.  Always.  It's quite bizarre, but it's absolutely freakin' wonderful I can tell you.  In other parts of the country they are not so lucky.  For example where I used to live 'up north' in Wakool (which is in New South Wales), it gets in the mid 40s quite easily during summer and will stay up there day after day after day after day.....  But, it's a different kind of heat from what we get here, a real dry heat, so it's a little bit more bearable.  Actually, I lie.  It's still bloody hot!!  Here it's definitely more humid, but no where near anything like the humidity they experience WAY up north in places like Queensland, which is somewhat similar to countries like Indonesia I guess. 

The cool change here is truly amazing.  You have these stifling few days, where the house very quickly turns into a sweat box (and then kindly retains the heat for you), but then suddenly, within the space of about 10 minutes, the cool change will sweep through and the temperature will plummet about 10 degrees.  I kid you not.  It's insane.  At this point I will run around the house like a mad woman, throwing open all the doors and windows, then go stand out in the garden, my face pressed against the wind.  And when I say 'wind', it's normally crazy wind, which usually precedes a storm.  In the meantime, all my possessions inside the house will be sucked up in some kind of mini indoor tornado and go whirling around the room.  The last time we had a sudden onslaught of 'decline in temperature' like this was only recently, and my eldest son opened up the front door, which caused a gigantic gust of wind to blow through and unhinge a picture off the wall and send it crashing to the floor in a shower of broken glass.  Fabulous.

To give you more of an idea let's talk about today.  It's the third day of heat (thankfully the cool change is coming some time this afternoon....and after 40 degrees today it is meant to be only about 21 (69.8 F) tomorrow), and by 7.30 am this morning I had put the air conditioner on.  By 8.30 am it was 33 degrees (91.4 F).  I was folding the washing at 9 am and was actually working up a sweat!!  At the moment, at 9.52am, it is now.....let me check.....35.6 (96 F).  Now all this is totally bearable if you have an air conditioner, which thankfully I do, although it isn't a split system, just one of those ones you shove in your window....so you have to sit directly in front of it to get the full benefit....still, it's better than nothing and does reduce the temperature in my lounge room enough to make it completely comfortable.
So, getting to the point of my story....how do you beat the Aussie heat?  My best tip....STAY INDOORS!!!!  During extreme weather like this it is the advice that pops up on the television from the Ambulance and Police departments, along with the advice to drink plenty of water and check on your neighbours.  Apparently the emergency department has an increase of inpatients, particularly the elderly and the very young suffering from dehydration, and then no doubt the odd idiot who decides that today is a great day to go out for a jog.  Yeah, I know.  Can you believe it??

So, you stay indoors, which is what I have been doing.  I call it "going into lock down".  I know it sounds like I'm planning to survive some sort of nuclear blast, but this is kind of what it is like for me.  I hate the heat that much.  I used to DREAD the summer, and watch the forecast with a knot in my stomach, literally feeling sick when a stretch of super silly hot days was on the way.  Now, with the air conditioner firmly in place, I don't feel quite so bad about it, but for me it really was a THING.

Yes, as I said, I go into lock down mode.  I shut all the blinds and close all the doors.  The air conditioner goes on when it starts to get stuffy.  I do not deny the request of an icy pole from the kids, even if they have only just had one an hour ago.  Drink plenty of water.  I like to stick my hands under the tap for a while, the cold water on my wrists seeming to make a huge difference.  And then, like yesterday, I lie on the floor somewhere in the way of the vortex of cool air pumping out of the air conditioner, and I do as little as possible.  Yesterday I read very little of my 'Country Style' magazine because I kept falling asleep.  Actually this was probably a good thing because I got very little sleep last night...what with the high temperature, my husband being unwell and various children visiting my bed during the night and insisting on wrapping themselves around me. 

Looking forward to the cool change......
 


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