Heatwave: exceptionally hot days and tropical sultry nights

Sun 9 – Sat 15 Aug 2020

Part of the point of writing my weekly blog is for me (or anyone) to look back and recall distinct periods of life that have been forgotten. The key memory of last week was the heatwave we lived through. Basically a week of temperatures in the 30s in London. And the infamous ‘tropical nights’ with temperatures in the 20s. Then on Sat evening, rainfall of biblical proportions.

Strange to think that in a couple of months this heatwave will be forgotten and we will be dealing with declining temperatures combined with darker, shorter days.

The spectre of climate change

Difficult times ahead

There can be no doubt that the heatwave came as a result of climate change. And is a fore-runner of what more we can expect in the future. The changes we may have to make in our lives as a result of this may mean the changes forced on us by the coronavirus pale in comparison.

Health and Efficiency

“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”

Marie Curie

Sleep

heatwave

One of the big memories of the heatwave will be the problems we all had in sleeping. How we all tossed and turned trying not to sweat too much despite all the windows being open. Though on Wed night I did manage to have an amazing and very memorable night of sleep.

Basically went to bed at 8 pm to read and then crashed out. I slept like I was in a coma with disturbing dreams but feeling I couldn’t wake up. Awoke at 7.30 am. I think I slept so deeply simply because I had done a lot of walking during the day. But it was completely weird compared to the intermittent sleep we were all generally experiencing during the heatwave. And slightly disturbing to almost be trapped in such a deep, deep sleep. 🙁

Jog-run

Did my usual beloved jog-run on Sunday morning. It was early (c.7 am) but even though the heatwave hadn’t kicked in for the day, I was still jogging in a temperature in the low 20s. I sweated a lot and achieved an OK time (32 and a half mins) and pace (6 and a half mins per km). Though the calories burnt was really down on previous weeks. I can only assume this was a technical fault with my watch.

All details on jog-runs (and weight) are here. I’ve also restarted doing a weekly video report on my jog-runs – you can catch-up with them here.

Weight

man weighing himself

Something went very wrong during the heatwave. I thought the theory was that one ate less. That’s normally what happens when I’m on holiday, perhaps the difference is that I wasn’t last week. Basically my weight zoomed up 3 pounds in a week to 13 stone, 10 and a half pounds. 🙁

Back to the future

Hopefully it’s just a blip, we shall see in next week’s Sat morning weigh-in. A few crackdown days may have the required impact. I do have a cunning plan to do something very specific around trying to lose weight in the near future. I want at least to get back down to just over 13 stone where I was when I finished last year’s sabbatical from work one year ago in August 2019. 🙂

Walking

Despite the heatwave, I tried to have a daily walk. So easy not to do it when it was simply cooler to stay indoors. I stayed in the shade as much as possible and it was nice to be in some green space. Local parks, squares and gardens have really come into their own this year with the lockdown and the heatwave especially for those of us who don’t have our own gardens.

Books and Reading

sunshine logo

The heatwave was definitely good for me in terms of getting some reading done. I generally found the best way to deal with the sultry nights was to lie stripped on the bed and read until sleep overcame me. And I’ve started my old habit of lingering outside coffee shops with a drink and a book to watch the world go by. 🙂

‘The Seeker’ by S G MacLean

This author was recommended to me based on similar historical fiction thrillers I have read. And it is very good. The anti-hero is The Seeker who is basically a thuggish secret policeman employed to fight opposition to the rule of Cromwell. And this rule itself is sinister and stifling though one queries if the Royalists would be much better.

The book is dark not least with its Orwellian overtones. And totally recreates the feel of the time with its dirt and poverty. Plus it’s a clever story without being over-clever which I find is generally the problem with so many crime and thriller books. Good characters as well. Will definitely read the next in the series. 🙂

‘The Madness of Grief’ by Panayotis Cacoyannis

A strange book but a good one. The author has an interesting history (his website is here) – an artist who fell into writing. The story and writing made me think but it was fairly unrealistic and almost ‘primitive’ in the way everything that happens to one 16 year old girl is crammed into a 24 hour period.

There’s a mass of themes including being gay, being trans, attempted rape, police corruption, the value of therapy, parental death, salacious media, and personal betrayal. It reminded me enormously of a Joe Orton farce which actually suits the late 60s setting of it. Though TBH that was another of its weaknesses – that it really didn’t reek of the period it was set in.

Still a very intriguing read and one I came across by accident. One I won’t forget easily and I may well seek out some of the author’s other works. I was expecting a twist at the end of the book which never came which shows the author’s skill in putting that in my head but then denying it.

The Dark Corners Collection

Another collection of short stories by successful contemporary authors specifically written for Amazon. These ones are about horror. An accompaniment to the other collections I have read with stories about climate change and the future.

  • ‘Hannah-Beast’ by Jennifer McMahon A decent story though reminiscent of ‘Carrie’. Around Halloween, some very bad memories return to haunt.

My current reading book

I found this at the local library. I have read Kate Atkinson’s other novels though a long time ago. This includes the books covering the career of Jackson Brodie – the central character in this book. TBH, I have forgotten so much about Atkinson’s books as I read them a while ago. But this one is totally reminding me what a brilliant writer she is.

Personal Development

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Oscar Wilde

Carried on with PD during the heatwave and have managed a 14 day consecutive usage of Duolingo. 🙂 This is great news, it means I am making real progress in improving my language skills across a range of European languages.

And as things progress over the next few weeks, I intend to open new fronts on PD. Meanwhile, I keep on with my digital detox of removing old emails and files – it’s a nice feeling of moving on. 🙂

Family and Friends

Mum

She’s OK though has really struggled with the heatwave – ‘In’t it hot!’. Indeed she does seem to think she is uniquely affected by the heat in a way that other people aren’t. She’s also got this really annoying industrial size electric fan which she insists on running almost 24-7.

I feel sad using electricity like this is contributing to climate change so causing the heat. It’s an example of the evil circular economy as opposed to the good one we usually hear about linked to reuse and recycling. And the fan is so bloody noisy whilst I’m trying to work on the pooter, read, or just watch TV. 🙁

Friends

It was so hot during the heatwave that it didn’t feel that nice being out in the open. As such I didn’t meet up with many people and I didn’t feel like taking advantage of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ to go for dinner (though I did use it for cheap coffee 🙂 ).

Quite a bit of online contact with work colleagues who I also see as friends. This particularly includes the people in my team who I manage and definitely want to keep in contact with when we go our separate ways in the future.

Art and Culture

Sun with glasses

After the previous week’s very successful visit to the National Gallery, nothing to report from last week. 🙁 I had thought about going to another gallery/museum and am so delighted others are opening like the V&A. But the heatwave put me off. It was just to hot to go out and I spent most of last week indoors with the windows open – reading and trying to keep cool.

The Week Ahead

  • I have really got to get to grips with my weight and start to lose again
  • Sunday morning jog-run and daily walks to look forward to
  • Will definitely get through the Atkinson book and start a new reading books. Plus read some more of the Dark Corners collection
  • May spend less time with mum this week as my brother and his son are probably staying with her and the flat will be too cramped with 4 of us there
  • Will continue to support my wonderful team at work – first duty of a manager is to look after your staff
  • Gonna push that Duolingo streak to 21 days
  • The future is coming and I need to think about how I am going to fill my time…

And Finally…

Putin and Trump

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