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Heatwave

June 27, 2007

Right now we are in the middle of a heatwave. Mid morning today it is 40 degrees celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) outside, and a fairly warm 36 (97 degrees Fahrenheit) inside the house with all of the doors and windows wide open.

We are now on about day 5 of this with the temperature not due to drop for another three days, and only then by about 4 degrees. For us the killer is that we have no air conditioners. Last week, as the temperature started to rise we gave in and bought ceiling fans for a couple of the bedrooms. We hoped that these would move the air and keep the bedroom cool at night. Well, last night it was 37 degrees just before midnight as we headed to bed. Overnight the outside temperature didn’t fall below 30 degrees all night.

The weather is being talked about with a mixture of bafflement and outrage. This is August weather! seems to be the chant of the moment. August holds a special place in the hearts of all Cyprus residents. The temperature and humidity are significantly higher, no surprise there, but people change much of their behaviour to deal with the heat. For some it is just too hot and they leave the island. Many offices and government departments close for a large part of the month. All building work stops and all tradesmen down tools. The end of July is a time to get jobs finished off, or cross your fingers if your new-build house is close to completion, because if it’s not done by the start of August then it’s going to be a long wait.

The locals cross the road to walk in the shade. People get up early to get shopping and other errands done by 10am, before it gets really hot, and then siesta for a few hours in the afternoon. Normally quiet and peaceful neighbours, including some of ours, invite family round and sit outside on the balcony or patio in the spot with the best breeze and drink coffee until 2 or 3 am when the temperature drops. Whole families head to the beach for a day, or the whole weekend, complete with the obligatory plastic chair. The chair is essential … it is taken out into a foot or two of water and positioned carefully. Granny, fully dressed in her ankle-length black widow’s dress, is then led out into the water and sat on the chair. She will sit there quite happily all the day, cool at last.

But that is August weather and this is still June! According to the press one person died on Monday and a number more ended up in hospitala yesterday. We retreated to the beach – not to get a tan but because the sea breezes usually drop the temperature a few degrees. We spent the day alternating between enjoying the shade of the beach umbrella and the light wind and swimming in the sea.

At six pm we finally came home and wilted on the breezeless patio just waiting for this to break. Our entertainment for the evening was watching our, Cypriot, neighbour installing an air-con unit for the master bedroom – at 11pm. While he was perched on a step ladder on the upstairs balcony measuring and drilling fittings for the brackets his wife sat downstairs in the garden, tapping her foot with impatience.

Reading the reports of the weather in England just makes our weather seem even more strange. Hopefully only a few more days of this, for us and for them.

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One comment

  1. […] has truly arrived, in fact we’re in the middle of a heatwave according to the government, not unlike last year. This year’s heat is made more challenging […]



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