I’ve just been to see some clients in one of the holiday villas I run and as usual, they were draped over the sun-loungers in pools of sweat, sun-cream and sangria (actually it was beer and wine but I’m a big fan of alliteration!). They are 5 couples who said they were coming to the area to play Boules - but as far as I am aware, they haven’t moved since they arrived. And who can blame them, as it is very very hot.
Nobody really knows how hot it is. Is it 40 degrees in the shade? Does it include the ‘wind-chill’ factor? What does ‘feels like’ mean? Either way, it feels hotter than the sun on my terrace, any wind is similar to a fan-oven and doing anything other than swimming and sticking my head in the fridge feels like hard work.
Apparently it is officially a heatwave and we are on ‘Orange Alert’. This weekend temperatures will not drop below 31 degrees, people are being advised not to go out between 11am and 5pm, the Town Halls are providing ‘air-conditioned’ rooms for people to go to if they need to cool down, and bus drivers are officially allowed to wear shorts (following a protest in Nantes where the drivers turned up in skirts to prove a point!)
I have never been the sort of person to say it is ‘too hot’ –I chose to live in the South of France specifically for the sunshine and the heat, but this week, it is ‘too hot’. Luckily I don’t have a ‘proper’ job – so don’t have regular hours where I have to spend time in a office – but there are still clients who want to view houses, or rental clients who need something so there are occasions where I have to leave the pool and venture out…
… which brings me back to my visit to the rental clients. They had called to say that one of the fans in the bedrooms didn’t work – so I went to deliver a spare one. When I arrived, every door and every window in the house was open. No, No, No, No, No! There is a knack to surviving the heat in the South of France and here are my ‘top tips’ (some of which I even heard on Woman’s Hour during my siesta):
Morning – close all south-facing windows/blinds/curtains.
Midday – stay indoors with everything closed, put the fans on, take a Siesta (and listen to Woman’s Hour).
Evening – As soon as the outside temperature is cooler than indoors, open doors/windows and let the cool air arrive inside. Basically keep the house open at night/closed during the daytime.
So stay cool, and remember the important difference between "J'ai chaud" and "Je suis chaud" - the latter is a different kind of 'hot'!