Hot. Too hot. Hard to move with wonted vigour, nor willing to go far from the water tap. And in September too.
The bright sunshine impels me go out, to scale the nearest hill, or range out to the familiar mountains and clamber closer to the sun and her friendly beams – but now those beams feel less friendly – a harsh, scalding scolding from the once-friendly Sun.
It is not really hot though, is it? By the standards of most of the world, we are not really trying. Try telling a Nigerian that 30° C is unbearably baking and he will laugh in your face. But here, it stops us in our tracks.
I have in the past been tempted to attribute the failings of other nations to their sweltering climate – there is no vigour in a people who live under temperatures that stop all work. Yet that cannot be the case – there is no lack of vigour amongst Australians of the same blood and frame as I have, or Indians or many, many others including all the great empires before our own. Meanwhile cool-dwelling Russians are best left to anecdote and overgeneralisation. It may have to join that long list of abandoned attempts to find a single reason why we are the Best Nation Ever.
The heat should not beat me down. Yet I am a son of the cold; born of ancestors who dwelt in midge-swamps and in sun-starved glens. This inherited flesh does not take well to this temperature.
I cannot always have been affected this way though. A march through a far, tropical landscape was not a challenge in those days and many a young man in uniform is sent to the same whenever our politicians feel like playing with soldiers. An officer of my past acquaintance once recounted that when in a tropical post, he turned the air-conditioning off, because he found it worse to his health to move constantly as duty called from the cool office to the blasting heat and back to cold and then hot all day – the continual heat was better.
I still want to reach those mountains, but maybe later, when it has cooled.
Our Australia brethren manage it all their lives. I just need a find a way to adapt. We do adapt. The whole history of mankind is of adaptation, or we would not last and thrive so.
I am aware that confined within the echo-chamber of the Internet (which I can hardly condemn as I am writing on the Internet) we will be told that it is all Global Warming, even though it is only happening in Britain, and when it is at last cold again in the winter, that too is Global Warming, and when next nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places; all these will be attributed to this same cause. It saves thinking. The reality is that of the day – it just hot.
There were once warmer ages, and colder ones, and the nation would thrive and be filled with its wonted vigour. I am coming to an uncomfortable suspicion in my own case that this heat-borne lethargy may be, after all, the way my body gives me a convenient excuse.