OK, it only lasted for about 20 minutes. But what sheer bliss to stand under this sudden, violent downpour. Then sadly, the rolls of thunder moved onwards and the rain slackened and stopped.
The rain has – hopefully – brought to an end one of the most uncomfortable ten days of my life. I’m used to heat; we have it every summer here and I have memories of writing school reports in Nigeria, wrapped in towels so I would not drip onto the reports.
But this has been the most overwhelming heat I have ever known. If you didn’t get things done before midday, then forget it. The afternoons and evenings have been relentless furnaces, with temperatures topping 40 degrees and accompanied by a cruel, stormy heaviness. Everybody has been overcome, locals and incomers alike. Yesterday I bumped into a market stall holder I know and he said all they were doing was existing – putting up the stall, taking it down, going home and collapsing.
I have been struggling with the additional burden of compression stockings and corset, a bit like being dressed for winter in a sauna. I wander round the house, sweating, unable to settle to do anything, looking for just one corner of the house that is is not stifling. Yesterday I actually felt ill, and wondered how many more days I could last this.
Because of my hospital stay and then the corset I have not had a shower since 17th July! The result is that I now have problems with the skin under the corset. A nurse comes once a day to wash the skin and treat the angry red patches – I have to have no infections by the end of the month if the op is to go ahead. The four nurses come in rota and are all exceptionally nice. Today Jessica laughed sympathetically when I said that that brief period when she undid the corset and washed my skin was one of the highlights of my day.
Today Odile helped me set up, rather belatedly, a sprinkler system for the flower bed in front of the garden. We got it working just as rolls of thunder announced a possible storm. Usually the storm clouds are just there to tantalise us, and to make the air even more oppressive. But this time, magic. Suddenly there was hail, turning quickly to fierce rain.
The temperature dropped down to an acceptable 30 degrees. The weather forecast from now on looks like more hot days followed by thunderstorms, and not returning to the unforgiving 40 degrees.