Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of sun. Or rather, I love that it’s not rain. Rain gets in my shoes, frizzes my hair, fogs up my glasses and drowns my miniature strawberry plant. Rain is not for dancing or romance, like they tell you in the movies. It’s for drenched socks, slippery stairs and soggy newspapers strewn on the streets of London like leaflets for a storm.
Right now though, after I’ve managed about three hours sleep because my room is (and I know this because my radio is a thermometer) over thirty degrees at midnight, I can’t remember the last time it rained. Hydration feels further in the past than dinosaurs. Sun cream and a suffocating tube carriage have blocked out all memories of anything other than sweat.
It calls for an emergency remedy. But this is no time for water, sunglasses and climbing in the freezer. It’s time for a list of the daily dilemmas that impose themselves on us unaccustomed Brits every time the heatwave strikes. This is for everyone trying to be a functioning adult in the heat, as opposed to a millionaire blogger, small baby, or anyone with their own swimming pool. This is for everyone trying to remember a life without crotch sweat. Because we all know the only way you survive change is by stalking the internet for lols, right?
So where are we at?
Well. You’ve sweated so much between your boobs in the last 48 hours you’re about one hour away from wedging a Calippo in the middle of your bra and calling it a day.
You’re on Twitter approximately every 12 minutes missioning through #Britishheatwave hashtags because sarcasm is the only relief.
You’re afraid to sit down anywhere that isn’t the shower because you’ve left an imprint of your bum on every seat in the city and it feels a little bit like unprotected sex.
You have spots in places you never knew possible because it is impossible to stay grease-free in buildings that were made for the Ice Age.
You’ve spent most of your working days trying to overcome your seething jealousy of girls whose make-up stays on their faces, as opposed to seeping down cheeks, onto clothes, so you look like a picture a five year child drew for their school tea towel.
You’re thinking about starting a petition for free sprinklers in all London Underground stations. And free journeys to Antarctica.
No matter how hard you try to sleep on top of the duvet, there’s still a part of you that needs to keep some part of your body under the covers for safety, so you melt in your own predicament.
Sun burn will come for you, whether you like it or not. It will find a way in, like James Bond, and it will leave strange shapes on the underside of your arms and in between your toes, and suddenly you’ll miss your chilblains.
You’re so unbelievably bored of salad but it’s the only food you can eat without feeling like your insides are boiling.
Blow drying your hair has become as unrealistic as paying off your student loan, so you’re wild like Mufasa and hoping no one will notice.
Hayfever’s back. That bastard of a sidekick to any increase in temperature, where sleeping with the window open is a death warrant, and you’re one sneeze away from asking for an induced coma.
Physical contact has become impossible. You try to kiss your partner goodnight and they flinch, roll over and mutter “Are you trying to kill me?” You lie together, but apart, staring into the void, alone in the dark.
But it’s not all bad news. Every sun has a silver lining, right? Right?
For example, my cactus is thriving. It’s literally never looked so good. I swear – in my slightly hallucinatory state this morning – I saw it smile at me. Another brilliant thing about heatwaves – we have a medical reason to eat ice cream on the hour and not wear a bra for the next two months. When you add in the joy of freckles, no need to carry around a coat or umbrella, the fact that we Brits all love to complain about everything anyway, and the valid excuse to go up to dogs you don’t know and give them sips from your water bottle, it might just be the best time of year.
And just like that… as my sunburn from twenty minutes outside at lunchtime fades and I grow accustomed to this new climate, I check the weather app on my phone and see rain is forecast for seven days next week. It was nice while it lasted.