It’s occurred to me that the summer is finally here. I had a feeling it was, for a number of reasons:
1. My son appears to be on a permanent sugar high from birthday parties, end of term parties and because ice cream is almost a necessity at this time of year
2. The driving has gone into ‘Special Summer Mode’ where everyone is too busy adjusting the aircon to blow on their armpits and dozing off in the heat to actually concentrate on the tiny issue of driving from A to B without a near miss.
3. I have been out drinking for what feels like a solid two months – having that ‘one last meet before the summer’ with practically everyone I know – a sort of perverse panic to ensure the friends I have managed to collect over the course of the year will remember who I am come September.
4. I have come to the conclusion that the three month detox, diet and exercise masterplan has failed spectacularly and I will be packing tankinis again this summer. The ‘Body of J-Lo’ will have to go on the bucket list for September.
5. I have applied fake tan this week in an effort to emulate the colour that I should be from living somewhere perpetually sunny, whilst in reality I have been gazing at the blue skies from behind my triple glazed tinted windows for weeks because it’s too damn hot by 8am to even think about lying in the garden.
6. Soft play areas have become an indoor destination of choice despite their germ-infested surfaces, deafening noise and the no-fun-for-a-big-person act of climbing through too-small tunnels, crashing my head on too-low ceilings and injuring my back sliding down too-small slides. The trampoline is quite fun though.
7. Everyone I know has been sick from a) a chest/ear/eye/sinus infection, b) a stomach bug or c) both
8. I have been heard to say on more that one occasion in the past few weeks “it’s too hot to go swimming”
9. The spare room looks like a jumble sale but is actually my annual attempt to start packing for two months of holidays without forgetting anything. (I will forget something.)
10. Everyone I know, including me, is exhausted with the business of being in Dubai. Standard conversation the past week with practically everyone has been “Are you travelling? When are you travelling? How long are you travelling for?” and most people are champing at the bit to Get. Out. Of. Here.
“Modhesh”, Arabic for amazing, is the mascot of Dubai Summer Surprises and its appearance all over the city heralds the start of true summer in Dubai. This is not me in the picture by the way. That yellow worm freaks me out and I would certainly never let a child of mine show emotional attachment to it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
And this week, just in case I wasn’t quite in the spirit of things, the searing heat that we have been steadily building up to made its killer summer move: humidity. It’s hard to explain what a massive difference it makes but everyone that has lived through a summer or two in Dubai will agree that it’s not the heat that gets you, it’s the humidity. And it can be extreme; this week saw temperatures of 40 degrees, which is perfectly manageable to us desert-dwellers – but the humidity climbed to 75%, which is borderline intolerable even for the hardcore sun-lovers. This heat/humidity combo is the equivalent of wading through ‘weather soup’ every time you leave the house – your sunglasses steam up and leave you either flailing around in a blind frenzy trying to locate your car/front door/child, or force you to (gasp of horror) remove them and squint whilst your mascara melts down your face, your hair frizzes up where you stand and your t-shirt develops so many damp patches it looks like it’s been tie-dyed.
I have not felt the need to escape Dubai this year quite as badly as other years. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we have been spectacularly lucky with the weather and enjoyed a long and relatively cool spring/early summer. But suddenly, this week, it’s as if someone has flicked the switch. My son has ‘graduated’ from nursery (a proud moment), my Improv group is on hiatus, my husband is working like a dog and I am officially fed up with the heat, the humidity, with being indoors all the time. And my hair is baaaaaad.
I am ready to go. So forgive me if my prose sounds reminiscent of previous posts because it is about now that I begin to form the images in my mind of how I will spend my real summer. In busy streets with over-excited Olympic-loving Londoners; with precious family and friends and rain – endless, endless rain which I will never complain about (until about three days in when the novelty will wear off). In my husband’s beloved Boston: with grandparents and aunts and uncles and on the beach and in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In my beloved New York, to soak up the dappled sunshine of Central Park with my much-missed sister and niece. In the gardens and farms and fields of Essex and at pub lunches drinking pints and enjoying long summer evenings. All of this is within my grasp and worth the pain of long haul flights and jet lag. It is just around the corner and I can’t wait.