Saturday, July 6, 2013

5 months of sun.

This morning I logged on to facebook and was greeted with about ten different status updates regarding the weather. Rain is predicted, and everyone is very excited. I don't know if it will actually materialize, but currently it is wonderfully cloudy.

The idea of too much sun was an alien concept to me until I was 14. That was the year we took a trip to China. The thermometers never went above or below 39 degrees c (because if they went above the workers would get a government mandated holiday) but I'm pretty sure the majority of the time it was above that. There was at least 90% humidity so it certainly felt hotter. Born in Britain, the land of drizzle, and despite summers spent in Upstate New York I wasn't used to that kind of heat. I remember smearing my whole body in deodorant in an effort to be cooler (doesn't work by the way.) I promised myself I wouldn't complain about the cold again. I kept that promise until very recently when so many years in Turkey finally took there toll on me - I've adapted. I am still wearing sweaters when visiting tourists aren't bothering to put on shirts anymore. When I visit the UK, even in midsummer I spend at least the first week shivering. Which is nowhere near as bad as Rafey, my youngest, - his lips actually turn blue. I would prefer to visit in winter - at least then the difference in temperature is not so great and we don't look like a family of idiots wrapped up in coats whilst everyone else is in T-shirts and flip flops, but of course there is no school holiday and so no opportunity.

Whenever I do visit the UK people illogically but regularly greet me with the question "why didn't you bring some sun back with you?" There are so many reasons why this is a dumb question it is hard to answer concisely. I usually settle for a weary snigger, my standard response to unfunny-not-quite-jokes I've heard a thousand times before. What I really want to do is grab the person by the shoulders, stare hard into their eyes, and by some kind of magical process of transference make them really understand what living in a hot climate is like. Stifling comes to mind first - we aren't holiday makers, life doesn't revolve around getting a tan. It is simply too hot to let the kids out for the majority of the day. Ever been at home with a grouchy cooped up kid? I've got two, and the summer holidays last 3 months.

There is a point in July when it is just so hot that if you leave the house your eyeballs feel like they are drying out. Weird in a bad way. You hang out laundry and as you touch the cool cloth you seriously contemplate putting it on wet - a pointless longing as within half an hour it will be bone dry. You feel like you are a bad parent all the time because hugging your child between the hours of 9 and 5 is so uncomfortably hot you'd really rather not do it. You consider the practicalities of going out with a packet of frozen peas in your knickers (a nappy bum no-no.) When you see someone watering the garden you are filled with a desperate longing to lie under the hose pipe. Its not just that clothes feel uncomfortably hot, your very flesh is too much. There is not enough ice cream in the world. I to the market the other day, I was fine, not too hot, but the British holiday makers surrounding me were in pain - bright white flesh, burning red cheeks, so much sweat they looked like they were melting. I guess I have acclimatised more than I realise.

And unless you have experienced it  - seriously contemplated keeping your flip flops in the freezer, marvelled that all your laundry is dry before the second load has finished spinning - you just can't get it. Summer days in Fethiye are not like summer days in England - if you want sun like that visit in April, or October, or even November. This sounds like I am complaining, but I'm not exactly - I don't waste my time wishing away the heat. I've managed to stop myself actively dreading July and August. It is more I'd just like people who don't live here to get it a bit more, to appreciate that although their weather might be pretty miserable, it is rarely debilitating. And when it is it is a freak occurrence not an annually scheduled event.

Update: Apparently it rained in the next village over, it did not rain in mine. There are still a few clouds, so I still have hope.

Update 2: Other status updates from the UK include a lot of people excited that their thermometers are going to hit 25 degrees celsius. I think that was the weather in March here, I'm pretty sure I was still wearing a sweater. Keep hydrated people!

Update 3: I realise you are not supposed to measure the temperature in the actual sun, but as it is impossible to wander around only in the shade, and so "in the sun" is what the weather actually feels like, I thought I would anyway. The top number is the time, the middle number is the current temperature, the bottom number is the day's maximum temperature. The thermometer was on the balcony:


  1. according to BBC News online it's hotter here today than Tokyo and Madrid, and the same temperature as Turkey and Nigeria

  2. The temperature in Turkey varies by about 20 degrees depending on where in the country you are. I added 'update three' (above) as an example of our current weather.