The summers in Canada are incredibly short and even with a few hot summers days the killer isn’t the heat per see but the extreme humidity radiating from the Great Lakes that’s stifling. On days like we’re currently experiencing you’d think that we’re situated on the equator…seriously! Very sticky indeed. 🙂
Even with this I would take it everyday over the long, cold, grey winters that we have here. I had assumed (quite wrongly) that I’d get used to the cold winters once living here, but the opposite has actually occurred. I’ve become much more intolerant of the winters and the cold, even though I like to ski.
Perhaps it would be different if I lived in British Columbia where I could ski on actual mountains on a regular basis…
Growing up in a small country town in Australia back in the day, our house like many, was a small weatherboard house (approximately 650 square feet) with corrugated metal roof. And so typical of the types of houses in the bush, even today this is the norm. Our house, like many in our town it started off as a gold miners hut and was added to over the years, to form into a a house of sorts.
Mum would often tell me the story of when she first moved in and there was tar paper on the walls and the kitchen had a dirt floor. Strangely we’re not talking two hundred years ago either (hello, that’s your outside voice…I may look old, but not quite that old!) 🙂
The reality was that dad worked hard to make it liveable, partially insulating it, putting in a concrete floor in the kitchen, covering in the outside laundry and converting it to a bathroom. As I think I’ve said in the past we didn’t get a flush toilet until I was about 8 or 9 years old. Yep, rural living at its finest…or poorest – depending on which perspective you decide to look at it.
Anyway, back to the story at hand. A hot summers day with any temperature over 30C turned our house into an absolute oven! With air conditioning unheard of, at least in our family home mum had a couple of fans blasting the already hot air, but at least it was moving it which helped. She also pulled the dark blackout curtains to try and minimize any of the radiant heat from the outside. Some might say a dark, hot cave.
Summers before I was able to work were always a mix of time at the local pool, exploring the creek (although this was much more dangerous because of the snakes) and trying to stay cool. Although, as I said you became accustom to the extreme heat of the Australian summer as you didn’t know any different. Nothing but the sound of cicadas in the air and heat shimmering on the horizon…
However, once I began working on local farms I’d often leave home before dawn to get the small respite of a couple of hours of work before it became too hot. In retrospect it didn’t really matter as we still worked all through the day with a five to ten min break every hour and 30 min for lunch.
We’d find a cool, shady spot in the hay-shed and leave our lunch there, but always take our water jugs in the cab of the truck or harvester when we set off, often having to fill them from a trough or bore mid way through the day because you’d be sweating like there was no tomorrow.
Strangely we didn’t even wear hats, stripped to the waist with long pants (so as the straw wouldn’t cut your legs if you were carting bales), although you could wear shorts if you were on the harvester.
Hot and dusty is all I can say!
We’d come in at the end of each day sunburned with a new layer to add to our already dark skin, although this was often tinged with either a dark brown or black depending on the soil base of the farm you were working with long rivulets of sweat having run down your body over the course of the day, you’d often resemble a zebra, albeit a grubby one! 🙂
The first thing I’d do when I got home was have an ice cold glass of water, strip off my dirty and grimy clothes and jump under a scolding hot shower (as dad always said – you need to take out the heat of the burn with an equally hot shower, and its true it definitely took the edge off). The only way was to keep turning the heat up as high as you could stand it, the hotter and longer you stayed under the better. Crazy I know but it seemed to work.
The most difficult part was that the house was so incredibly hot it was often impossible to sleep so you’d start the day semi exhausted and just have to keep going. The good thing I suppose is that you’d have a run of a week or so of 35 – 42C days, then cool off with a big thunderstorm for a day or two before starting the build up of heat once again, so those days really were a godsend and lovely respite.
I think its your childhood that dictates your tolerance to weather extremes, a great case in point is that while Zach and Sam doing incredibly well in the winters, they absolutely melt in the summers, whereas I’m the exact opposite and personally live for the summer heat.
I must admit this summer is looking good so far, with lots of hot sunny days ahead in the forecast…just the way I like it!