Monday, August 13, 2012
CHASING THE CHILLOUT FACTOR
I’m doing my best to cope with the heat and humidity that have had the thermometers shimmering for weeks now.
I suppose there are people who enjoy it, but our cat is not one of them, though he looks pretty comfortable in the photo below.
Kat does, however, set an example on how to cope with great heat. He pretends it isn’t there and slinks from one patch of shade to another, pausing for a sip of water, mooching from one meal to the next, no longer bothered by his hormone-related instincts since he had the chop. He is apparently not in the least put out by having to wear a black and white fur coat that covers him from nose to tip of tail.
Young humans, however, seem to find the heat a massive turn on, and Corfu’s beaches and clubs throb with bare, tanned bodies and pulsating music and 24-hour displays of plumage and agility and whatnot that rival anything the animal world can come up with.
I envy their energy and stamina. I had it once too.
Now, however, I tend to cool down with a good book.
I like ‘cool’ titles and I am currently reading ‘Arctic Chill’ by an Icelandic writer called Arnaldur Indridasin. I’ve recently read ‘The Ice Princess’ by Camilla Lackberg and ‘The Snowman’ by Jo Nesbo. ‘Northern Lights’ by Nora Roberts was set in Alaska in winter, and the Inspector Frost books are a must-read. Canadian writers are, as you might expect, up there with the best when it comes to writing snowy crime novels – a favourite of mine being Giles Blunt.
I heard somewhere about something called ‘cold reading’ and of course visualised a list of cool books, but according to Wikipedia : Cold reading is a series of techniques used by mentalists, psychics, fortune-tellers, and illusionists to determine or express details about another person, often in order to convince them that the reader knows much more about a subject than they actually do. Without prior knowledge of a person, a practiced cold reader can still quickly obtain a great deal of information about the subject by analyzing the person's body language, age, clothing or fashion, hairstyle, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race or ethnicity, level of education, manner of speech, place of origin, etc.
This of course led me to think about our very own Mentalist, aka Simon Baker,
But thinking about this rather hot man melted the ice in my frappe coffee so I quickly desisted.
My own favourite film featuring snow – and the wonderful Frances McDormand – was ‘Fargo’ but for sheer silly snow-filled fun I always loved Dumb and Dumber, that needs no other description other than the fact that it starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels and Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team’s attempt to get into the Canadian Winter Olympics – hilarious.
Frances McDormand in 'Fargo'
(What about those Jamaican sprinters though – it’s no joke, winning at the London Olympics.)
Daily Mail photo
Phew! All this mental effort calls for a cold drink and the choice is between a perfect gin and tonic, in a tall class dripping with condensation, having been kept in the fridge, along with the gin bottle itself. And a tall glass of coffee frappe, The secret with frappe is not to drink it too quickly – as the ice cubes melt and the foam turns back to liquid, the frappe satisfaction level lingers on.
Meanwhile I’ll listen to some chill-out music – plenty of choice there, including the slightly unlikely combination of African, Indian and Asian chill-out tracks.
I have very few wardrobe problems in August – retired, I don’t go far, and literally live in sarongs and flip-flops. Knickers are optional and depend on whether I am expecting visitors or not.
Yes – it really is THAT hot!
Think cool food – salads, iced soups, fish, water melon. Greek food has a surprising number of cool dishes and the fact that several of them are based on summer vegetables cooked with olive oil means they can be eaten cold or tepid without the horror of congealing fat. Lemon squeezed over everything is another cool move. Think briam and tzatziki, horta and lemon, fresh green bean salad. Think feta and water melon salad, cheddar and grapes. (Hey – reminds me, you can now get fantastic English Cheddar in Corfu – cheaper than many other cheeses, tangy and crumbly - I* will just pop and check the fridge..)
One of the grandchildren had his sixth birthday this week. There was much head-scratching over how to keep the energetic kids (who in a few years will be leaping about the beach-bars and clubs) amused but not out of control. How to entertain them without permanently alienating the neighbours?
Water was of course the answer in this weather and we set up a kids’ slide and a large paddling pool and let them loose. Huge success!
I read a web article on how to keep cool at home in great heat. It suggested covering all fuzzy surfaces like carpets and upholstery with white cotton sheets and abandoning clothes entirely inside your own house. At night, use a small pillow that has been in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Also sound, if chilly, advice. Other tips I have followed have resulted in me typing this blog wearing a wet tee-shirt with my feet under the desk, in a bowl of cold water.
Hey! It works!
Stay cool everyone.
You didn't think I would show you my own tootsies in a bowl of water, did you?
Having 'penned' a blog about the heat, chances are it will now rain. It's like washing the car or watering the garden - a guaranteed rain-dance!