It’s been sweltering recently, and with predicted global warming, the trend is for colder, wetter winters and drier, hotter summers.  That said, I wonder if the UK will go the route of central air conditioning.

After weeks of attempting to rectify the car problems, the mechanic thinks the head gasket has gone.  Luckily, he passed us on the road, shortly after he had fitted in a new hose pipe for the coolant.  We were on our way to the gym.  It was lucky for us that my daughter had insisted on going to the gym that day (she refuses to go sometimes).  Otherwise, we might have been heading a different direction with disastrous results.  We had to turn around and made other arrangements for the girls to attend their afternoon activities with Stagecoach.  We took a couple buses to town.

As we waited for the kids to finish, my husband and I lunched under a tree in the church cemetery.  Afterwards, we decided to go to the library, expecting it to be cooler.  Whew!  It was sweltering in there.  We decided to go back outdoors and spent the rest of the afternoon under a tree at the school.

I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t air conditioning in the library.  And, if there is, why wasn’t it on?  I can’t believe that anyone could possibly work in such conditions.  I know many public buildings have air conditioning, so why not the library?

My husband then commented that school examination halls were like that.  He recalled taking exams in hot, stuffy halls.  What were they thinking?  In the US, examination halls tend to be on the cool side.  We’re always reminded to take a sweater, just in case.  The heat makes people sluggish and it’s well documented that people perform worse on exams in the heat.

Well, we’re renting a car right now and it has a functioning air conditioner.  What a difference in this heat.  Our car didn’t have air conditioning and I was constantly sweating.  And when the sun is beating down on you through the windshield, it burns.

And, as I’ve complained before, we have screenless windows, so if we must open the windows to air out the house, we have to accept the herd of insects that we openly invite inside.

Much has been discussed regarding English weather.  The typical non-British person assumes that we get lots of rain and fog.  I won’t disagree with that, but I will say that after having lived in areas in the US that get lots of rain, I don’t find the amount of rain here as excessive.  But I find the howling wind is unusual.  I understand that this is a common feature around England, especially in areas near the coast.  This being an island, there must be many areas affected.

I never lived in the windy city, but we did visit a few times.  We never experienced the infamous winds, so I cannot compare it to here.  The last few days of extremely windy weather has forced me to comment on this.  During the winter months, when darkness came early, and you can see the full moon through the branches of the bare trees, the howling wind added to the eeriness and I swore it was the perfect setting for a gothic novel.  The broken doors on the worn down little sheds in the back that kept banging at intervals and our creaking gate getting blown shut added to that effect.  And, if you were lucky, you might get the blood-curdling screams of the fox’s mating call.

I remember one particular night camping out in the early autumn when we were afraid the tent was going to get blown away.  The next day we went up to Devil’s Dyke and couldn’t open the car door long enough to get out.  On a cold day, the wind really bites.  But, even as the weather was improving this spring, the wind kept a chill in the air.  The last few days have made me forget that summer really is just around the corner.  One mother commented this weekend that she had cleaned her winter coat, ready to be packed away, yet she is still wearing it.

Because of excessive draught, we covered most of our windows and the side door with a thick plastic sheet.  We have still not removed them.  Yesterday, as I passed by the door, I felt a wind blowing on me.  The sheet is bursting with the draught, but I still felt the wind.  Of course, it is good for hanging up the wash (unless it rains as well).

I normally don’t mind the wind much unless it really bites or makes it hard for me to see (because I have to squint to protect my eyes, or my hair is blowing around my face).  But when I have a headache, the wind makes my neck and shoulders stiffen, exacerbating the pain.  I’ve been having to do a lot of stretching out to loosen all these joints.  (Is it because I’m getting old or is it the way I sleep?)  Anyhow, I think it may be time for that paracetamol.

There is the stereotype of London fog – perhaps bolstered by those Victorian images of Sherlock Holmes walking through London. I think many people in America have this image that England is perpetually surrounded by rain and fog. Perhaps it is also why England, or I should say all of Britain, is the perfect backdrop for a Gothic romance novel.

Nowhere in the States did we ever experience a deep fog that lasts for a long time. Usually, you would get fog early in the morning, which lifts by mid-morning at the latest. Of course, you’d find it with driving blizzard conditions and other storms. Then, of course, some cities were so polluted you would get some smog – a very dirty fog.

But here, it seems so natural to have a fog that does not lift until well into the afternoon; then the sun comes out bright and warm. It provides such a contrast in temperature. Visibility is poor on the road and as you’re driving through the country, it does give you an eerie feel. It’s the kind of thing that is perfect for Halloween.

Today, as we walked through a town in the fog, there was a smell of wood-burning. It inspired images of a log cabin, though you wouldn’t have found that in this medieval town. Mixed with the scent of some of the flowers, it was very nostalgic, but I had difficulty in recalling where I had felt and smelt the sensations.

Interestingly, the fog does not give me the feeling of gloom, as an overcast sky does. Somehow, it is invigorating and exciting. Again, it may be my love of the dramatic and gothic.