In a Man's World
I’ve no intention of creating the impression that I think of myself as in any way enigmatic – indeed, I feel very much the opposite: I’m quite a simple soul.
When it comes to the summer, however, I think I am something of a paradox – or, as my wife prefers to call me, a ‘cantankerous ***!’. Like most Brits, I have a very dim view of our summers; I’m not surprised when the rain belts down, nor when the cricket ends as a draw because the outfield is flooded – although I was taken aback by the fact golf’s Open Championship went into a fifth day. Nor, conversely, am I averse to putting on my shorts at the first sign of the sun breaking through the clouds in mid-April.
Yet no sooner does the temperature actually rise to a level we would normally associate with ‘high’ summer than I’m off seeking shade, complaining that it’s simply “too hot for me” and bemoaning the lack of air-conditioning in everything from offices and homes to public lavatories. I have a fan on my desk and, while it does distribute the air in my general direction, creating a welcome breeze, on hot days it feels merely that I am downwind of the famed scirocco and in need of a siesta.
I have to admit I am not sylph-like – in fact I probably have the same gravitational pull as a world of sylphs – so there is a very small window of temperature I consider acceptable. Too cold and I moan; too hot and I moan even more. This is either cantankerous or paradoxical, depending on your viewpoint.
Most of my summer holidays – regardless of where they’re taken – are spent seeking shade, either by a pool or in the shadow of a large (often historically significant) building. I will enter shops only on the understanding they have a decent airconditioning system and I will book hotel rooms only on the same proviso.
It would appear the ideal temperature for me to sit out in the garden, in shorts and T-shirt, with a cold beer and without the need for grumbling is around 21degrees – which is, coincidentally, the same temperature at which I set the central heating in the winter. I told you I was a simple soul…