Sunday 7 July 2013


It's all very well for the rest of you but I hate the heat. There you are, I have registered it in black and white. I do feel guilty. After all, we have been waiting for summer for about a year. In my case, two years because I spent the last one in hospital. I feel guilty that I begrudge all those near-naked bodies on Hampstead  Heath their sun-worship while I cower in my air-conditioned bedroom at a fixed 19 degrees. I thought myself slightly crazed when I had the air-conditioning unit installed. After all, on this side of the Pond how often was I going to need it? Never mind how often, just think how cool. I also had one in the room where I worked. That one stopped working and I stopped working, too, rather than spend the obscene amount of money it would have taken to mend it. My lodger, who is from a consistently warm place in Continental Europe, is more or less permanently miserable because of the weather. Not today: she is positively shining with delight and has gone off to picnic in the Park. The world is a different one, it seems, in the warmth of the sun.

Now,  at my age in the heat there are sartorial considerations to consider.Which is not to say there were'nt always such considerations. But there is a world of difference between which sleeveless linen dress or floaty skirt and which long-sleeved garment will be the coolest in the wardrobe.  No-one over let's say fifty, should display upper arms unless they are beautiful and toned and blemish free. Mine are not. The answer is to wear a sort of vest in fine cotton with a jacket-type garment over it. That does mean two layers of fabric over the back but a combination of vanity and a fear of frightening the horses stiffen one's forebearance considerably. I do rather miss the clothes of my youth, though. A day or so ago I again had the privilege of listening to the Big Swing Band   that had me as-if tripping round Trafalgar Square a blog post or so ago. This time we were also treated to some period dresses, you know, if you are old enough or have seen "Dirty Dancing", tight waist, voluminous skirt, stiff petticoats underneath. Even if I had kept mine, mysteriously, I am a stone or so - fourteen pounds if you are in Mountain View California - heavier than I was the first time around. (Confession: the 'or so' is nearly another stone.) However, the young lady wearing such a dress,(frock) bright red with white polka dots and layers of black tulle underskirt, had bottomed it with a pair of red and white trainers and  black pop socks -  stockings to the knee if they are dubbed something else over there in M V Ca. The effect was ludicrous. We hadn't even progressed from gym shoes/plimsolls in the fifties. We would have been wearing genteel heels to our court shoes, not more than two inches high, I should guess, and a stocking was a grown up, right to the top of one's leg,  fixed with a suspender hanging from a pretty band around the waist - not the same as a man's braces supporting his trousers, (pants) as seen , again, in M V Ca.  It was not a juvenile, stopping half way up. Think of it: " a glimpse of stocking was thought of as something shocking", enchantingly so, whereas a glimpse of pop sock is simply unattractive and bad taste not to mention out of period.

 This post shows signs of being a lesson in translating from the English to the American. In which case I have bitten off more than I can chew. My repertoire is almost exhausted, as am I , in the heat. Prynhawn da.


Unknown said...

I love the idea that "(Confession: the 'or so' is nearly another stone.)" I think we are all prone to this. I agree the pop socks thing is quite horrible, I see it on girls going to and from secondary school all the time too. But they are not trying to please the older generation and will soon be mortified by photos of their younger selves. I envy their courage, or rather the fact that they do it so naturally without needing any.

Anonymous said...

I am a sun worshipper and the result of over 70 years of exposure is a face that resembles a prne and upper arms that flap and slap against my drooping boobs. Not a pretty sight and I still persist so today I have a striped face and body because only the tops of the folds and creases catch the rays now.

Anonymous said...

I love the sun, but one can have too much of a good thing. Here in the Bay Area of California we sometimes run between too hot sun and too cold fog, but the transitions are marvelous! Then there are evenings like yesterday, with a beautiful cool temperature, and you sit and sip Chardonnay and all's right with the world.