The nights have been like those of a claustrophobic Deep South melodrama. A ceiling fan whirring in the moonlight. You half-expected Jessica Lange to be on the verandah, smoking. “Cain’t seem to sleep in this damn heat. How ‘bout you Sugah?”
Met Eireann issued alerts for good weather. For a population starved of good weather, that was like issuing alerts for happiness. They are colour coded – yellow means it’s acceptable for ould lads to wear a yellow polo shirt, orange indicates that we should get more Fanta and Red for The Grand Colour You Got That Will Turn To Tan After A While. Productivity is almost impossible to maintain. Already the country has indicated to the IMF that we won’t be making our quarterly targets because OMG HAVE YOU SEEN THE WEATHER LADS?!!!
The duration of the good weather has led to some unusual sights. At one point last week, I saw people on a terrace outside a hotel acting like It Wasn’t A Big Deal. This level of outdoor insouciance is almost unknown. It’s just as well that Game Of Thrones isn’t being broadcast at the moment. You’d get short shrift telling anyone now that Winter Is Coming. “White Walkers my EYE; and the butter running out the door.” There are reports coming in that on a number of farms around the country, the decision to make hay instead of silage has NOT caused a 40-year, 3-generation family split. It’s just resulted in some round bales of sweet hay.
This kind of attitude can lead to delusion as well. It’s not hard to drift into the belief that this type of weather is the natural climate and therefore will never end. Scam artist were on the prowl offering to take the gas boiler off your hands in exchange for two choc ices.
Apart from beach-riots, misspelt tattoos in the smalls of backs and discarded Mr Freezes dying in the pavement , the other sign of Summer is of course The Barbecue. During previous fine spells, the first step in barbecue preparation was blind hope, followed by a disregarding of the weather forecast and admirable insistence in having the cook-out. This led to situations where guests stared out the window at the hapless barbecook as (mainly) he cooked in the rain like a bedraggled sorcerer. Our two heat-waves this summer have seen barbecues planned for days in advance. Many people are doubling up on barbecues. They’re eating so much red meat their diet is similar to that of a fat Tudor King.
Barbecues afford men the opportunity to make the Big Male Fuss about something. They will stand observing the flames take hold as if channelling the spirits of their Neolithic ancestors. The burgers have become pieces of elk carved out of the still warm carcass of that noble animal following a chase through primeval forest. Although the sausages are bought. It’s handier.
Tisn’t a bad little country all the same. When it’s like this.
This article was first published in the Irish Examiner on July 15th, 2013