Getting down to Earth


With the heat of the last few days in retreat, I’ll try and revive a few more words. Words tend to wilt with anything over 26c. If not wilt, melt. Like butterfly into buterfy or wedding into bedding. Letters faint, drop off. In the meantime. Let me recall some of the last few days. Of course, the minimum requirements during heat are plenty of electric fans. The double glazing is fine when the nights cool off. Eventually everything gets hot and an itchiness develops to just survive breathing in and out.

One of the advantages of large shopping malls or even small ones is that they are air-conditioned. Dire warnings for elderly to stay well hydrated, avoid sun sugar seek shelter, stay calm. It wasn’t helped reading more people die of heat than drownings. We sought refuge in Aldi, just sauntering around the oranges and broccolini. It is amazing though that the the big ones such as Woolworth and Coles that advertise on the Telly, are losing custom. You won’t see Aldi on TV. Yet Aldi is taking away shoppers in droves from the big supermarkets. It are the Mercedes and BMW’s that now glide in and out of Aldi’s parking stations.

Svelte bouffant blonde ladies carefully going over the specials, bending over sweet potatoes, fingering the carrots that one is likely to encounter at Aldi now. Men in Country Road shirts, camouflaged shorts with many pockets lingering around the tool section, contemplating sets of spanners or paper shredders. It is so relaxing. An escape from heat. I wonder if taking a couple of easy fold-out chairs into the air-conditioned splendour of Aldi would be objected to? I mean a couple of oldies just taking it easy?

During one hot night. I took to extremes. A fold-out bed under the fan. Desperate measure.  The fold-out bed is about twenty centimetres above floor level. Pretty handy, I thought. A bit like going back to my camping days. But, again for each progressive move forward, a punitive counter move. With the much lower centre of gravity I could not get up when a call of nature beckoned. Let me tell you. Getting older is in direct proportion to toilet breaks. The less years ahead the more toilet breaks are engaged in. After a few attempts in trying to get up by using available leverage I found out my limitations.  Sitting up was achieved but not actually standing up. I felt helpless. I needed nurse. I considered just letting it just flow all out. Who cares?

The mind gets active in emergencies. I thought that if I rolled out onto the floor first I might just be able to get up by the help of the coffee table next to the bed. I managed to do just that. I first dropped my feet on the floor, followed by legs, than my torso, chest accompanied by neck and attached head. I rolled over and by arching my knees managed to get enough off myself  from the tiled floor to reach the top of the coffee table. The rest was easily managed. I felt so proud. Almost did a Tarzan’s jungle call but thought it would alarm Helvi. She slept well elevated above ground level in our communal bed. I went to the toilet triumphantly.

Another handy hint during the present heat-wave is for the elderly to seek shelter in the local hospital. We are living right next to not one but two hospitals.  A public hospital and a private one. The Public hospital use blue-tack and sticky -tape while the Private hospital  gives you a free pen to sign over your wallet.  One could just find some excuse or ailment and take a comfy chair in the emergency department. They often have lots of magazines. Many waiting patients can be engaged with comparing levels of ailments or the latest government pension cut backs. The wait for triage nurse always a thing to look forward to. Her soft caring hands wrapping the different bodily measurements equipment around your arms. I tell you, it is not a bad option.

Think about it!

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19 Responses to “Getting down to Earth”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    In search of some relief from the heat, I decided to sleep on a mattress on the lounge room floor. Bad, bad idea. I faced the same ungainly floundering to get up onto my two humanoid limbs as you did. Thank goodness there were no witnesses.

    Gone, gone our youthful agility.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. shoreacres Says:

    My first night in Liberia, I learned a trick that truly worked: sprinkle your sheets with water, then turn on the fan. Of course, on that night in Africa, there wasn’t even a fan, because the electricity had gone out, but if it worked in those circumstance, it ought to work for you.

    Another tip a Punjabi offered was to drink only lukewarm water or tea, rather than cold. I’m glad it worked for him, but I never could get my mind around that.

    It’s a fact that heat can kill, so those little excursions in to air conditioning are all to the good. In the summer, I’m pretty careful myself. If I’m out in the heat of the day, I’ll work for a couple of hours, then go buy groceries or something for an hour — then, I go back. Pressing in the heat, or forgetting to stay hydrated, isn’t good.

    And you’re right that words melt in the heat!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s right, Linda. Evaporation of water does cool. When driving in the heat people often used to hang a water container outside the car which was made of porous canvas. This would make the water cool. Now many cars have a refrigerated compartment and I don’t see that anymore.

      This Sunday 38c is predicted for Sydney. We are supposed to meet some friends but not when it is going to be so hot.

      Hopefully by next year we might have air-conditioning installed. At the moment contractors are all flat out meeting the demand.
      Varnishing in the heat would be a bit hard too. I hope you wear white and a good wide rimmed hat, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. jennypellett Says:

    So, so funny. I especially liked your triumphant toilet achievement. Don’t envy you the heat. I wouldn’t last- and I can’t bear air conditioning either…far too drying – makes my eyes itch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, all the past years the heat was less hot. With climate change, we will get more and more erratic weather patterns.

      Australia is now thinking of continuing burning coal to generate power. Hopeless, all so hopeless. May all politicians swelter in hell.

      We will continue sitting in front of fans sipping water with sliced lemon, with statements such as , ‘oh isn’t it hot,’ with sometimes the alternative, ‘oh, do you feel the fan alright, shall I put it on nr 2, dear?’

      Liked by 1 person

  4. auntyuta Says:

    Gerard, I reckon that was very clever of you to use the table to lift yourself up from the floor!
    When our bedroom stays at a ‘cool’ 25C we do not need the fan to go to sleep. The other night the bedroom temperature stayed the whole night through at 30C despite an open window. That was the night when we let for the whole night a fan going that blows right onto our bed and we slept through the night! Usually Peter and I both get up by 6 or sometimes even a bit earlier
    I need at night the toilet on average only once and usually can go back to sleep straight away, but before I go back to sleep I drink a glass of water that is always ready on my bedside table!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Uta. Survival during a heat-wave takes ingenuity. I remember my dad putting an evaporative cooler on brackets above the front door in Revesby. The thing used to rattle and used up the water so quickly. The noise was in a neck on neck race with the heat.

      One night I got so desperate I went outside to sleep on the concrete path leading to the outside-pan-toilet. It was a bit better and people just stepped over me on the way to the toilet.

      Our toilet breaks are more frequent and sometimes the traffic is so busy we bump into each other. Sometimes, the hot night-air is rented by a coarse shouting… , ‘lid down!’

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Christine Says:

    What a shocker you are!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Not sure about the last option, they might discover something serious and you’d never get out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s true, Hilary.

      On second thoughts and on a more positive note, clubs are also good places to enjoy air conditioning with the added benefits of playing bingo. There is the meat tray on a Friday night as well…

      I just thought of hospitals because we have two of them right next door. We even have the excitement of helicopters landing in the park dropping off patients or transferring them to bigger hospitals.


  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Weather has changed no doubt about it. Hot is much hotter than it used to be since the ozone opened up. We finally got the rain we asked for during the past 5 years. Along with some fairly cool weather. We used the air conditioner a lot some days during last summer. Charlie notices it too now that he is older. He refuses to go out when it is raining and during the hear waves he just camped out on the tile floor. Smart dog. Wonder if Trump has an executive order to control the weather? He seems to be trying to muck up everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad you got the rain, Kayti.

      Next week we will get a quote for installing air conditioning. The heating and cooling version, and through ducting above the ceilings.

      We never thought it would get so hot here in the Highlands. Today and tomorrow again above 30c.

      Trump is becoming a comedy show each night at 6pm our time, we scurry inside to the telly to hear the latest insult or abusive phone call. It’s not really funny and Milo scowls each time he appears. He is such a good boy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. CineMuseFilms Says:

    Great reading. I was in Bateman’s Bay last week and saw it hit 43 degrees. Its funny what that does to your awareness of the wrapping that separates our innards from the world. Just stepping outside an air-conditioned cabin was akin to an immersion into an alien warm broth that reaches every corner of your being to coat you with instant stickiness. Have not felt such heavy heat for many years; last memory in fact is Bowral in a heatwave, but the details have melted into time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you for commenting on this blog, welcome.

      This is the first time the heat has hit us. That’s why we are thinking of installing air conditioning. I don’t like using coal fired energy but will use power at the minimum at home and at the maximum at railing against this government who seem to delight in ignoring climate-change…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Patti Fogarty Says:

    This all sounds like such hard work! Hope it has cooled down for you by now.


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