Friday, July 3, 2009


The humidity and heat - 28 degrees and rising - bring with them a fretful quiet, a slowing of activity. Of necessity. Impossible to think clearly and quickly, to move at a pace beyond minimal. My office is up four flights of stairs, on the top floor of a converted 18th century townhouse. No airconditioning. The south facing sash window is jammed wide open in the vain hope of capturing a breeze, the sunblinds drawn. As an emergency measure we set up an electric fan on a folding chair between our two desks, taking care as we come and go not to trip over the cable. In spite of natural inclinations the work rate slows and I put off anything beyond the basics, the simple. My margins are very thin in high temperatures. The fan's turbulent air blows papers off the desk and dries the eyes.

My office colleague is American, born in the desert lands of the South-West. She loves this weather, flourishes in the heat, goes to the sauna regularly in winter for physical and emotional health. We manage our thermostatic differences and make allowances for each other - I dress in layers for flexible temperature control, she brings extra woollens. I sweat occasionally for her, she shivers from time to time to keep me happy.


A first appointment with a local shiatsu practitioner this afternoon in the ongoing quest for spasm-free muscles. Shiatsu worked miracles for my lower back in 1993. The first session was a Wednesday evening and I had to take the rest of the week off work, nose and eyes were running so much afterwards. A continuous stream. Not a cold, or flu. Detox.

Later in the year, in the October, a major life change occurred for which I am thankful to this day. I still believe an apparently unrelated series of events including the fact that I am alive now - a tad melodramatic but possibly true - were in some way triggered in a treatment room in a basement flat in North London that evening in May sixteen years ago.

In my book, everything is connected and in ways we can't begin to imagine.


Sky said...

wouldn't it be fascinating to discover all the connections, to connect all the dots in some kind of order so as to arrive at this very moment in time?

i am so much like you about the heat. we are in the high 80s F right now, and that is a bit too warm for me unless we are in the shade. fortunately, we are not too humid which makes a big difference. i need very cool temps to sleep comfortably, so we keep the A/C on 69 degrees at night, chilly but delightful as we pull the covers around us.

as always so good to see you here! hope your summer will be a good one and that you will post some photos of that lovely landscape you call home.

Dale said...

I know you're in the right place, but I can't help wishing sometimes that you were here instead :-)

Zhoen said...

I believe in connections. They can only be visible once lived, though.

The one advantage of living in a place with very hot summers, ac is pretty standard. It wasn't in Boston, those short, damp, overheated summers were miserable for sleeping.

pohanginapete said...

Plenty of cold over here. I'd gladly swap a substantial amount for some of your heatwave.

I agree about the connections. The trick is to work out which are important enough to act on; the problem is trying to comprehend that network, which seems, and might be, infinitely complex.

herhimnbryn said...

Connections, yes. There is a novel there waiting to be written, I think.

Re the heat. Am probabaly 'teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here'...Keep it out during the day. Shut windows and draw curtains. At dusk, open up the house and let it cool. Before we had air con installed, I used a damp piece of cloth that had sat in the freezer and then draped around my neck was bliss! Drink water.

den said...

dropped pebbles in the now, ripple out and onward forever it seems sometimes. It is interesting sometimes to unravel the tread to see how things began.
good luck with Shiatsu, that is a pebble for me to hold and decide upon. am on a similar quest.

Celeste Maia said...

I just "discovered" your blog and it is fascinating. The photos are great, your thoughts scintillating. Living in Madrid I understand what you feel about the heat. Madrid burns, the implacable burning blue overhead, relentless heat. And I am from Mozambique...
Come visit "my" world any time, I just started blogging less than a month ago.

mm said...

Thanks all. It's cooler now.

Sky: Thinking of you particularly at the moment.

Dale: A visit would be good.:-) One day perhaps - never been to the West Coast of the USA. Vancouver yes.

Zhoen: I spent some very chilly days in Phoenix once, in the height of summer. The AC was powerful.

PP: I'm pretty sure of the complexity .... Good to see you here.

HHB: Thanks for the greathot weather tips. Will definitely act on them the next time a heatwave hits.

Den: It isn't for everyone, Shiatsu. But it has definitely worked for me. Worth checking around on the internet maybe for more info .... good luck.

Celeste Maia: What a beautiful name! Thanks so much for the visit and the kind comment. I will call in at your place sometime.

20th Century Woman said...

Here in the Pacific northwest, on an island it is almost always cool. I am looking forward to some of your warmth when I get to England next week. I like your blog so much.

mm said...

20th Century Woman: Thank you - and I hope you you have a great time over here on the other side of the pond. Welcome!

Avus said...

I studied and practised basic Shiatsu some years ago and can vouch for its effectiveness - it goes far deeper than the mere physical.
Its effect on the actual practitioner is also strangely calming and beneficial. Our Shiatsu Master warned us that this could happen and not to feel "guilty" about taking that peace from our clients.

mm said...

Avus, I can believe what you say about the calming effect of a treatment on the practitioner. I get that with massage sometimes.