Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sucking weather

Apologies to our old friends in England (Ross-on-Wye -2 C today) and our new friends in Washington state (Leavenworth 0 C and snowing), but I've already had enough of this summer weather. It's only around the mid-20s, but it doesn't cool much at night and, what makes it worse, the humidity has been up to 88%, thanks to a tropical airflow. Apparently, while we were feeling cooler than anticipated in Australia 10 days ago, the dew point in Auckland was as high as 21 degrees. Quite how that differs from the humidity percentage, I haven't had the energy to investigate, but La Nina can take her fungal conditions and bog off, as far as I'm concerned. I've sweated enough already.

There are places where you expect this sort of thing, of course. I well remember my father coming home from a trip to Singapore and telling me in astonishment "Even the backs of my fingers were sweating!" Since then, I've been to Singapore myself and many other tropical countries where that damp, limp feeling is the norm year-round; and, in contrast, to the Outback where the fiercely dry heat sucks every bit of moisture out of you. In each case, you end up bathed in sweat and so enervated that it takes all your effort just to raise your wrist in the cause of rehydration.

It's one of life's little ironies that, in places where you physically need cold water to wallow in, there isn't any: in the tropics the sea is bath-warm and not especially refreshing. What's worse, in Australia's Top End it's full of crocodiles anyway. Oh, and sharks and stingers too, in that typically Australian overkill sort of way (viz. the coastal taipan, a snake whose first bite is deadly, but just for good measure is a repeat striker delivering increasing amounts of venom with each subsequent bite).

So, it's hot, humid and appetite-sapping weather, and everyone's buzzing round the shops gathering the necessities for Christmas dinner, which for many traditionalists like us still comprises roast turkey, baked ham, roast vegetables and afterwards steamed pudding. It's a killer - but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's not Christmas if you're not felled to the sofa afterwards with palpitations. Those modern types with their crayfish salads are nothing but wusses. Hot fat and sugar: bring it on!

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