We are almost at the end of our fortnight’s holiday and it has been amazing, We opened the house windows when we arrived, as it was warm but grey skies, and it has gradually got hotter and hotter, so the windows have remained open our whole stay. It is an old house with sash windows and so if you open the top and bottom windows, there is a cooling breeze that comes in. We have even opened Velux windows at the top of the house – which I have never seen open! – and have wedged the back and front doors open to give a through draught too. We always come this same two weeks in August, for as long as I can remember, and I have never known weather like this. The grass has always been dry and brown in the summer here, as opposed to the lush green grass in Yorkshire, but it is scorched now and the ground is rock hard ; when it does finally rain, the water will just run over and off the solid ground and there will be a high risk of flooding. Is this global warming or just a random heatwave? We are told to expect a future like this.
For a fortnight’s holiday, all the sunshine, heat and blue skies feel like a treat. We have not once needed the coats and fleeces that we packed, just in case. It has been delightful walking the dogs under the early sunrises and swimming in the warm, calm sea. But this weather and climate is not sustainable for food production or even gardens , where we are staying had the first hosepipe ban in the country imposed last Friday. Last night the temperatures hardly dropped overnight, making it difficult to sleep.
Most of all, the heat has a big impact on Joshua : he really cannot risk spending too long in the heat as it is the worst trigger for his seizures. We have been able to manage it here, as thankfully this old house stays pretty cool if it is ventilated. But it has meant that, for Joshua and the dogs’ sake, we have been out and about much less than in our usual stay. When we went out shopping the other day, we got out of the car, felt the searing afternoon heat, and dived straight into a nearby pub for a drink and some lunch. We then used the pub as a base for Joshua and the dogs, while my husband and I took it in turns to look around the shops separately ! We managed a short walk around the corner to an ice cream parlour and then headed straight back to the air conditioned car and back home.
We have been heading down to the beach most days after 5pm, with Joshua in his wheelchair and 4 dogs. We have to begin the trip with a treat for Joshua, which means a toasted teacake at a café before we can head down onto the sand. The cliff behind means that the beach is in shade by this time of day and we set Joshua up on the rug, where he obliges by curling up for a snooze. We tie our escapee dog, Betty, to one of the groynes and then we strip down into our swimsuits and run into the warm sea. It is so refreshing and we bring each dog into the sea with us, one by one, with varying degrees of delight. As well as being cooler and shadier than the peak of the day, the beach is also less crowded, as everyone else seems to think it is too cold to swim at that time of day, which suits us better too.
So we have adapted our holiday routine to be able to make the most of these hot days. That plan did not work last night as Joshua was too hot and bothered, and his feet were too swollen, to squeeze his splints and boots back on after his tea, as we had planned. He was much happier to stay in the house, wearing very little, to try to cool down, so my husband went for a swim on his own yesterday, while we stayed home – I had after all had my swim at 7am with some other local mermaids, so it was his turn, if we could not swim together.
So today is our last full day of holiday, as Sunday will be taken up with packing, laundry and cleaning up after ourselves, before we head home on an afternoon ferry. I will try hard not to sulk about going home, as we have today as a bonus day and we will be back in the Autumn, so I should not be greedy. We have a busy week back at home planned and of course, Joshua will be delighted to return to daycare ; it seems a very long time since he was there last.