Manchester, this morning (artistic reconstruction)
#Summer time and the living is queasy.
We wake up drenched in sweat. Take off our inch thick fleece pyjamas and climb out from under the blanket, the 13 tog duvet and the other blanket. Look out the window. Heavy sun hangs fat in the sky, hazy behind just ten or eleven clouds. Think about what duffel coat to wear. Then think, god it’s Hot. I’ll just wear what the one jumper over my shirt today. Fuck the duffel coat.
Dress, feel Italian in the heat. 10 degrees and it’s only 8am. Incredible.
God pours gloopy heat onto us and we melt. Swelter in the shade, ice cream for breakfast. Think about buying some fresh orange juice, even, now we’re tropical. Ten minutes later, though, the heat hasn’t abated. A remorseless climb. My phone says it’s 15 degrees, but then it crashes. Panicky phone calls to NHS Direct about sun stroke.
It’s like end of days. City is a ghost town; who can move in this heat, let alone commute on a Magic Bus? Everyone in Manchester paralysed by the heat. Plants panic and wilt. Only 2 days of solid rain on their leaves
I talk to relatives on the south coast who claim it’s been hot for two whole days. Snorting in disbelief, I hang up.
“God, It’s hot” I say, but then it starts to rain. Phew. Two languid hours have passed. People will remember 2015 as the year of the long hot summer. Thankfully, we’re back to normal now.
That tea time, we huddle around the fire and reminisces about that morning, about summer.
My kids are arrogant with youth, believing every summer will be this hot – 17 degrees – and this long – two whole hours. Mrs Gin and I share a moment, a silent look. She arches her eyebrow.
That night, cold descends again and my kids moan that they wish it was still summer. What are they on about? We’ve got the heating on, it’s nearly double figures and the rain for mid June isn’t that bad
To resummon summer, I go to the shops and get this bad boy.
Zoflora Summer Bouquet
I mop with it. Memories of summer come flooding back. Zoflora Summer Bouquet is summer in a bottle. A bottled chemical sun, a sun made in Huddersfield.
Immediately, the house starts to treacherously feel warm again
“Remember that time the butter melted it was so hot?”
We reminisce. You had to have been there, it was incredible.
I slosh some more Zoflora onto the floor.
“I wish it was as hot as that every day” my eldest says sadly. I ground him for sedition. But the smell, oh, the smell from Zoflora. It’s the smell of summer, the treacherous smell.
Even though it’s only 7 degrees my son comes downstairs in shorts. The scent of the Zoflora has done this to him. Its too heady, using this stuff in June. I should be used only October, when ice frosts on the inside of windows and the roads are flooded from three months’ rain. Using it now, just after those two hours of summer is too reckless.
I mop over the summer bouquet with Zoflora Cinnamon spice. The house feels damp again and I put the heating on. That’s better.
“Can’t wait for Christmas” My eldest son says the next morning. “It’s only the end of June” I say, but he can’t hear me underneath his wooly hat