Thursday, 28 June 2018

The heat is on

Here in rural North Wales, we are much more accustomed to wet and windy summers - we know exactly where we are with a pair of wellies and a trusty old fleece. As soon as the clouds clear and the sun makes an appearance it sends us all into a bit of spin. As the temperature continues to rise this week, here are some sure fire signs that the heatwave is here to stay....

All you can hear is the steady thrum of hot metal against long grass as every single farmer across the land gets his mower out to, quite literally, make hay while the sun shines. Given that you need a good week of completely dry weather to make the best hay, this is as good as indicator as any that you’re in for a nice, long dry spell.

Making hay while the sun shines

You feel like you have just stepped out of an episode of Rab C. Nesbitt, such is the proliferation of string vests and ‘singlets’ on show (as I believe the Australians delicately call them – much preferable to the “wife-beater” moniker). I am not sure what you need to avert your eyes from more – the liberal display of hairy flesh on show, or the blinding glare from the alabaster white skin that is usually covered up, thus ensuring the perfect farmer’s tan.

It’s like a scene from Mad Max any time anyone drives into the yard. A winter’s worth of mud has now evaporated into huge quantities of dust so it takes you about ten minutes after someone has arrived for it to clear enough for you to establish whether you are dealing with friend or foe.

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"Somebody coming down the drive, darling?"

The local chemists’ shelves have been completely stripped of their dusty, out-of-date bottles of Tropicana sun tan lotion that they bulk bought way back in 1976 during the last “proper summer”.

The dog has taken up permanent residence under my desk in the office, which being the oldest part of the house with walls about as thick as nuclear bunker, remains inexplicably freezing despite the 30+c temperatures outside. This is all rather cute and cosy until he starts having a particularly violent dream about savaging rabbits whilst I am on videoconference with New York and Bangalore and have to try and explain my shaking screen and high-pitched yelps to bemused stakeholders.

The cows are all lying down which of course means…… well I have no idea what it means. Perhaps they are tired, perhaps it keeps them cool. Perhaps they are just maximising upon the fact that they can lounge about all day in the sun while some poor sod runs around in the blistering heat ensuring that they have enough food, water, shade and nookie. Lucky bastards. Mind you, given the ever-present smell of sizzling beef-on-barbecue hanging in the air each evening from our glampers at The Forge, if I were them I would not be lying down – I ‘d be high-tailing over the hills and far away before being next on the grill!

Did someone say barbecue?!

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