Thursday, 28 July 2011

High, high summer

The end of July, and the languor of high summer has really set in here.

Hot days, warm nights, the roar of the airconditioning in our bedroom and the smell of chlorine and suncream on the boys (which never seems quite to disappear, despite numerous baths). On the plus side, never having to put on more than shorts and a t-shirt. On the minus side, being bitten by mosquitoes every time I step out of the house - that is, without being encased in extra-lethal bug spray.

When I go out to give the garden some much-needed watering at night, there is still the odd beautiful firefly but these have mainly been replaced by the surprisingly loud hum of the cicadas and chirping of crickets. (My un-scientific observation, after three summers, is that cicadas must either eat or kill fireflies. Anyone know?)

We had the tail end of the Midwestern heatwave last week, but really it wasn't too bad. People from England kept emailing us to ask if it was unbearable. Well, no. Two years ago, we might have suffered, trying to keep the airconditioning to a minimum and going out Britishly for walks. But now, we have learned that if you keep the a/c running at home, head for the pool above all other activities, and don't exert yourself too much, it's actually fine. Much worse was the heatwave of 2003 in London, when I recall regularly having to stand in the fridge door and avoiding the Tube at all costs. (Although on the rare occasion when we did march around outside here , it did feel a little like being baked at 350 degrees in an oven).

While England has its silly season, America always seems beset by political wranglings in the summer. At the moment it is the talks over raising the debt ceiling. Will America default on its loans? Can Obama win over the frankly quite lunatic tea-party-ers on the right? As I write, The Doctor is watching CNN with the strapline 'Countdown to Crisis' across the screen. I ought to care more. I know it is important, but I have this slightly bored feeling with the the whole thing, suspecting that of course they are going to resolve it somehow. At the moment, whether or not it's gong to thunder tomorrow and if so, how much I need to water my hanging baskets seems much more pressing.

I think summer's heat must be getting to me....

13 comments:

Emma said...

Would love to see a firefly, they sound beautiful! Could you please send some of that heat over to Scandinavia, it has been such a miserable summer so far, and it's only two weeks before the children go back to school!! Thank you :)

MsCaroline said...

Ah, I miss fireflies - also known in the South as 'lightning bugs.' They are a very East Coast-y insect. We didn't have them in Phoenix and I have yet to see one in Seoul.
We have just survived tremendous flooding in Seoul with all kinds of destruction(not for us, thank God, but it has been bad.) We have had so much rain since moving to Korea, it seems like the long hot days of summer back home happened a very long time ago.
Best part of being an expat at the moment is that we are so far away from all of the ridiculous wrangling going on in Washington. Like you said, I suppose I should be paying attention to it, but I see no point in getting myself upset about something I have no control over. I know if I were back home it would be a constant topic of conversation.

Glad to hear you're enjoying what I think of as an extremely typical American summer....are you starting to gear up for Canada yet?

Expat mum said...

We have fireflies here in the mid-west although they don't seem to be around at the moment. Perhaps they have a particular season?
And yes, the politics here is so very boring, especially because oyu know most of what they say isn't necessarily what they mean or want, it's all just positioning.

SaintTigerlily said...

I love that sunscreen/pool smell on kids. When I put Nico's sunscreen on this summer for the first time it brought back this overwhelming wave of nostalgia. I grew up on the beach in Miller Place but I've spent a fair amount of time in the Oyster Bay area. That Long Island summer night sound and smell, of hot grass and sunscreen and the smoke of grills, with the cicadas making a racket...it makes me feel homesick in a way no other part of Long Island does, to be honest.

Iota said...

I love fireflies, but have mostly missed them this year and last by being in the UK. Each year, I did make a point of loitering outside at dusk, a few nights before we left the US, just to see them. One or two glimpses a year is better than nothing.

Knackered Mother said...

Reading this seemed to make me feel warmer because we have grey skies here, obv. Bet you don't miss the (non-English) Summer, hey?

nappy valley girl said...

Emma - I would gladly swap some cool Scandinavian nights for our hot, humid ones...

MsCaroline - Ah yes I saw awful news reports about the Korean rains (and thought of you). Hope everyone is managing to recover. Just a few weeks till the Canada trip now...

Expat Mum - Our fireflies are really at their best from mid June to mid July. When they go, the cicadas start up - that's why I think maybe there's a connection....

Saint Tigerlily - I've noticed living here that many people seem to have grown up on Long Island, moved to Manhattan, then moved back here when they have 2 or more children....

Iota - I love them and always time my garden-watering to coincide with them at dusk.

KM - actually a few days ago it was greyer and cooler and reminded me of England - and, just for a day, I loved it!

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

When we lived in Sri Lanka I used to love coming home to England for the summer for some respite. I felt bad too secretly relishing it when it was grey, cold & miserable. Heat, & humidity in partic, is very draining.

angelsandurchinsblog said...

Know nothing about fireflies, but wish we had them here.

Nota Bene said...

That debt thing? It was a cliff hanger in the finest tradition of American TV...

About Last Weekend said...

I know what you mean, I keep up with it on NPR while I drop the kids at their camps but it feel so bizarre and unreal. Wish the fireflies and heat would come over this way, that's the other bizarre thing. I have UGG boots on (still!) and the heating on...

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

I hate cicadas! No idea about whether there is a link to fireflies.

Tea party - argh argh argh.

nappy valley girl said...

Paradise - yes, it is the humidity that gets to you after a while, and the fact that it doesn't cool off at night. But I think I still prefer the summer here to England.

Angels - sadly I don't think they exist in the UK. Maybe I should import some when I come back?

NB - I think I prefer Who Shot JR....

ALW - Ugg boots and heating? That's not fair. Hope you get some summer soon.

Tanya - I don't mind their noise but I know what you mean - they are horrible looking. I hate the tea party more, though.