Posts Tagged ‘hot’

The weather and us

We in Britain have quite an involved, emotional relationship with the weather. I imagine most countries have a dependence on their weather in some way but as a Brit, the reaction to this year’s weather has amused me lots.

It was cold. Very cold. For a long time. Now I’m not one to moan about the weather, mainly because it’s all over the place so I figure there’s no point being so attached to it as it’s bound to not be doing what you want it to. Also, as a generally quite hot person, I much prefer things to be a little colder so that my body temperature comes out somewhere in the middle! I love going for a walk when it’s cold and I can see my breath. By the time I’ve walked for five minutes, I’ll be really warm anyway.

So this winter, this long never-ending winter, when it was cold for seven months, I did not complain. I prefer swimming outdoors when it’s raining or cold too, because most people don’t like it so they go to the indoor pool. Which leaves the pool empty for little me and I don’t have to get mad because it’s so full and people aren’t following the Swimming Pool Rules. I like the comfiness of wearing a big cuddly coat, which I can only do in extreme cold because I get hot so easily. I also like dragging out the Downstairs Duvet while watching a film in the evening. The winter forces us to be cuddly and to cook hearty warming dishes like beef stews and cottage pies and apple crumbles. All the things, I like.

When the complaining about the cold continued on into May and early June, it became hard to defend my position, especially given that the garden was looking a little sad, none of the trees were bearing fruit and all the bees were dying. I felt sorry for the bees, as I like them. I’m all into the bee scene.

Small talk during the last weeks of this long winter pretty much only consisted of weather-chat. Whilst in work, when a customer entered the shop with their umbrella and their big winter coat and scarf, they would just look at me with a look on their face and we both knew that weather-chat was on the cards. It became unavoidable. And so I made polite small talk about the weather.

“It’s been too long now, hasn’t it?” I would say.

“I’m still wearing my winter coat, in June!” I moaned.

“Snow?! In May! Unbelievable!” I exclaimed, all the while thinking that I didn’t mind it so much.

When I got up first thing, dressed in my jarmies, and the cold hit me, I’d grumble a bit but it was nothing a cup of tea couldn’t handle.

And then it warmed up. We stopped moaning about the cold and rain and the sun shone. My goodness, did it shine!

And we, the British, we were excited! Brilliant! We sat out in parks and ate icecreams and acted like we were on holiday. We loved it!

Me? I was sweaty and uncomfortable. I was not really having fun. My new job required a half an hour walk and not very much shade along the way. So I arrive at work feeling gross. So I have to take extra clothes to change into. But then I work all day and get hot and disgusting. But I don’t have any more clothes to change into. So my walk home is in already sweaty disgusting clothes. Then I get hot on the walk home and by the time I arrive home, I’m just a mess. It doesn’t make for a very attractive Laura.

And then the weather got really really hot. Too hot. We spent a lot of time inside, hiding from it. We moaned. Yes, we moaned. Because it was too hot.

This time I joined in. I’m not mad for hot weather anyway, as you’ve guessed, so my moaning was genuine.

Then there were thunderstorms so we rejoiced! Ah, what a relief from this overwhelming heat! Thank GOODness! Phew!

Then we saw the forecast for this weekend said there are going to be more storms and rain… And guess what happened?

We moaned. We moaned because we had a weekend away at the coast planned and a birthday party outside down by the river and the damn rain had spoiled it all! Fist-shaking and despairing came into play. And we lamented the awful British weather again!

Are you keeping up with this? I’m not sure I am. Let’s go from the top.

1. It was cold. We moaned.
2. It was hot. We rejoiced.
3. It got hotter. We moaned.
4. It was stormy. We rejoiced.
5. More rain was forecast. We moaned.

Poor weather. When we seem happy about something, he does more of the same and then we moan!

(I personally, am always moaning about extreme heat. I think I was an Arctic explorer in a previous life.)

Things I learned in the kitchen

Yesterday was my first day of my new job. I learned a lot and I thought any aspiring chefs among you might appreciate my highly informative musings.

1. My fingers are definitely no match for a razor sharp knife.

2. When slicing the edges of your fingers with a razor sharp knife, there is no time to actually feel what has happened. You just notice the blood starting to rise and strap it down tightly under a plaster and keep going.

3. You will find these cuts when making dinner later and squeezing some lemon over your rainbow trout. You will also find a whole network of other cuts that you hadn’t realised were there. Plus the egg shell cuts from a few days before.

4. Crouching over a chopping board all day gives you a bad back so you’ll enter feeling a 28 year old and leave feeling like a 70 year old.

5. An hour of yoga will help but it won’t quite get on top of it.

6. It is hot in the kitchen. It is even hotter leaving your shift and walking into the mid afternoon sun while still in black jeans.

7. You can never quite chop/slice/dice fast enough. Not quite.

8. There is always something to do in a kitchen. Something to roast, something to put in a bowl, something to put back in the fridge, something to wash.

9. Not doing any washing up is a revelation. Kitchen porters rock my world! I must remember to be very nice to him. My hands are grateful for not having to wash up but they are yet to enjoy being sliced.

10. Working out when to use initiative and do it yourself and when to ask for guidance is a balancing act. I’m not sure I’ve worked out when to do which yet.

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(Don’t worry, I don’t go to work with no shoes on!)

My first bikram yoga class

I went to bikram yoga for a little while last year. Hands up who’s been to bikram yoga? So you guys know exactly what I’m about to tell you. For those of you who don’t know what bikram yoga is, it’s like yoga on acid. The first few classes, it’s mental. It’s a yoga class in a heated room, something to do with relaxing the muscles so you can stretch further in the poses. I thought I’d share my first experience of bikram yoga to make you aware of exactly what is involved in this intriguing new exercise class.

All I knew on my first class was that it was yoga in a heated room. Sounds interesting, I thought. I’ll go along for a trial class. Little did I know.

I was in a t-shirt and leggings, suitable attire for a yoga lesson. I entered the room, found a space for my mat and sat down. I noticed everyone else was dressed in barely anything. All the men were just wearing swim shorts, no t-shirts. The women were wearing little crop tops and tiny shorts. It was like being at a swimwear photo shoot.

I was wearing more clothes than anyone else in the room and suddenly was like, ‘What is wrong with these people? This isn’t a fashion parade. Why are they showing off their bodies? Have these people got no discretion?!’

And then the class started. The teacher entered and turned up the heat and for the next hour and a half, I was a complete mess. If you’d have asked me my name, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you it. My thoughts during the class went something like this….

OMYGOODNESS I’M GOING TO PASS OUT! What is she asking me to do with my leg? I think I’ll fall into a heap and disintegrate if I attempt that. Just keep control of yourself, keep control. I might have to sit down. Water! Water! Ok, let’s get involved again, whoops, stood up too quickly! Head rush. Sit down again. TOO HOT! I wish I hadn’t worn so many clothes now. O no, I think that tickling on my elbow is a bead of sweat which has run all the way down there from my armpit. Ugh, there is a sweat patch on my mat where I’ve been sitting. Ok, get up. Doing some kind of twisting leg and arm thing. Try to concentrate on one spot and keep my balance, the teacher is saying. How can I concentrate?! How can I concentrate when I’m melting? I THINK I’M GOING TO DIE! Can you die of too much heat? If no-one has before, I’ll be the first. I feel like I’ve been in here forever. How long has it been? Omygoodness, only 15 minutes. 1 hour 15 minutes to go still. I can feel delirium setting in. I think my brain is actually sweating. I’m starting to fear FOR MY LIFE. I’m being asked to balance on one leg and hold my hands in prayer position. I can barely concentrate on standing up, balancing is asking a bit much, don’t you think? Maybe I’ll just stand here, not fainting, and that will be my main achievement for my first class. Nope, not standing, sitting. I’ve never been this warm in my entire life….

After the class, I left the room, went into the corridor and leant on a window sill, trying to remember who I was. When I eventually stumbled into the changing rooms, I got into the shower, ran it on the coldest setting and stood there with trembling legs, holding onto the wall, trying to regain my composure.

My next two or three classes were similar to this but a little less messy each time. I eventually got to a point where I could go to a class without having to stop and sit down at all and I could still remember my name when I left the room.

For those of you who are thinking of trying a bikram yoga class anytime soon, let this post serve as a warning to you. Be prepared…!

A little game of Would You Rather

Ok, the rules of Would You Rather go like this. I ask if you’d rather do one or the other of two things. You pick which one. Simple. The answer ‘I don’t know’ is not allowed. ‘I wouldn’t pick either’ is also forbidden. There is a man with a gun to your head who will shoot you if you don’t choose one. There is no way to escape him. You MUST choose. If you need to ask questions to expand upon either choice, that’s fine. Ok, are you ready? Remember, you must choose one.

1. Would you rather… Have a five metre body and five centimetre legs OR a five centimetre body and five metre long legs?

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2. Would you rather…. Have a perfectly spherical body, like an orange OR have skin that is the texture of popcorn?

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3. Would you rather… Have hands that look like hooves OR hands that look like florets of broccoli?

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4. Would you rather… Be made of paper OR be made of jelly?

5. Would you rather…. Be always too cold OR be always too hot?

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6. Would you rather… Have a rare disease where you are allergic to everything except chicken livers so that’s all you’re allowed to eat OR have a skin condition where you have to apply face moisturiser made of drain water every day?

7. Would you rather… Bathe in the watery bit that you get on top of the mustard OR bathe in the water that chicken has been poached in?

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8. Would you rather…. Have a nose like cauliflower OR facial skin like potato peelings?

9. Would you rather… Be gored in the stomach by a vicious bull OR have your face eaten by scorpions?

10. Would you rather… Have a disease where you always fall over and smash your face on the floor OR have a disease where you grow thick curly hair all over your entire body?

Considering anger management

I went swimming again this morning. I just got back and am feeling relatively calm again. Today’s swimming session wasn’t calm. It made me irate. It shouldn’t have. But it did.

As I approached the pool I saw that it was mostly empty, just the lap lane was full. The front crawl lane and nice and easy lanes were both empty. Also, the massive end lane which can take about four people only had one person in it. So I got in the nice and easy lane and thought I’d just have a relaxing swim today because my shoulder was aching a bit. I was about ten lengths in when it started. It all fell apart.

A lady approached the nice and easy lane so I moved from the middle of the lane to the side of it, to make space for her. She also moved to the side, the side I was on! She stood there fixing her goggles then just started swimming!

This picture shows the situation. I’m in the end lane (the top one). The next lane, for front crawl, is empty. The next lane is full and the end one is almost empty. The lady has approached the nice and easy lane, lined herself up with me exactly, leaving the other half of the lane empty and set off swimming straight at me! Doing front crawl!

DOING FRONT CRAWL! She’s come to share the nice and easy lane and is doing front crawl, when the front crawl lane is free! I quite literally went in to shock. I know it’s irrational but I was livid.

I just kept swimming straight, even though I know she must’ve expected me to move. Don’t people get it? When you’re new to the lane, you fit in with the people there, you don’t come in and shove people out of their space when they were there before you! Is it me? I’m worried about my anger, maybe I’m making up rules that are silly?

Anyway, I kept going, thinking she’d surely move. Surely. But she kept coming, doing a really clumsy version of front crawl, her hands kept splatting on the water like the noise you make when you belly flop. We eventually got so close that I had to stop and just tread water until she saw me. She did, obviously. She must’ve known I was there the whole time. She just looked at me like there was no problem.

“I guess¬†I’ll¬†move then,” I said, when it became clear that she hadn’t noticed anything wrong. I waited for the penny to drop and for her to go ‘O, it’s ok, I’ll move over here.’ But no. It was unbelievable. We were near the stairs so I just got out and moved to the large end section and started swimming but I was all out of sync and couldn’t concentrate.

I noticed the indoor pool was emptier so I went inside and started swimming. After about two lengths, four people came in together and squashed themselves into the lane I was in. One man was just standing at the end, holding on to the side, not moving. He was at the end of my section and didn’t move away when I approached. So I had to swim around him to get to the end then swim back around him to start my next length. He just stood there.

By this point, it was getting silly, I hated everyone in that pool and wished they’d all just bugger off and leave me to swim. It was time to take myself out of the situation…

After I got out, I tried to work out what was wrong with me. I’ve had a bit of a toothache and have a dentist appointment fast approaching. Has that made me angry? When it was quite hot yesterday, I struggled to not get grumpy with everyone, so maybe it’s the leftovers from that? I can’t work it out. People do silly things at the swimming pool all the time and are constantly stealing your space, so why was I so angry today? Maybe the Swim Gods are punishing me for missing Wednesday by stealing the Fun Factor from today’s swim? Or maybe I just shouldn’t be around people…?

I’m going to drink some herbal tea and do some yoga, I think.

Coffee

I’m a bit worried to say this because I know how passionate people get about this issue. But I think it’s time to finally say it. I don’t want my readers labouring under any illusions about me.

So let me just say it.

I don’t like coffee.

In fact, I think it tastes quite horrible.

I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. I’ve worked with coffee for ages now. Sometimes I make a drink wrong by accident. So I think to myself, rather than waste the cappuccino, I’ll drink it. And I always regret it. It’s just not tasty. Sorry, coffee lovers. I just don’t get the coffee thing. It’s not tasty.

I used to go to a nice restaurant in central London sometimes, before an evening class I was taking and I would order a black coffee. I loved sitting in the window watching life go by and drinking my black coffee. Like a real grown up. I was not enjoying my black coffee at all. I’m useless with super hot drinks anyway, so it took me forever to take my first sip. Then I’d add sugar so I couldn’t taste the coffee so much. So the entire exercise was essentially pointless, the only real point being to make me feel a bit sophisticated and, really, who was I kidding.

If I’m in work and I have a coffee, I go a bit mental. I talk very fast and run around trying to do everything all at once. It’s not good

Recently, I decided to get into coffee drinking again. But my order ended up being so complicated that I could feel how annoying I was when I was asking for my drink. Because I don’t like coffee, I thought I’d try decaf. I also thought that if I’m going to drink coffees often, I should at least limit the damage and get it with skimmed milk which, incidentally, steams much better than semi or full fat, it goes really smooth and silky. So I’m decaf and skimmed, awkward central. Then I’ve noticed that when I get latte or cappuccino most places, the foam on the top is really dry and I don’t like that. I like it when it’s creamy and got really fine bubbles. So I get a flat white.

A decaf skinny flat white.

Ridiculous.

I stopped ordering it after a little while because I could hear how stupid it was.

So that has been my interaction with coffee. I make it. I do NOT drink it. I wish I was more grown up and loved it. But I don’t. I just don’t.