As I write it is ten am and the temperature in Dublin is 23 degrees. Now we all know that in Ireland temperatures of 23 degrees are unusual at the best of times, but this is about the fourth day in a row that we have reached such scorching heat. And in Ireland when the sun shines it changes everything.
Dublin sparkles and dazzles and looks like shiny, happy place. In the countryside, our beautiful scenery which is so often clouded in, well cloud, reveals itself in all its stunning glory. We have a blue roof to our world and it is much higher than the more usual grey one that smothers our spirit and strips away the colour from our lives.
But the good weather doesn’t only change the landscape it also changes the Irish psyche. We may be northern Europeans but our souls are all Mediterranean. I actually think at some stage Ireland floated north and got anchored beside Britain as opposed to once being joined to our (very definitely Northern European) neighbours. This explains why we go a bit mad in the good weather. In fact, could this be the reason why our Taoiseach got a bit too giddy on the steps of 10 Downing Street yesterday? It was all that sunshine! But I digress.
Anyway, it’s not surprising that many things are just so much better when the mercury rises and the sun shines. I have made a list:
Ice Creams. And I am referring specifically the old fashioned whipped stuff, dripping over a cone and topped with a 99. We are experts at eating these particularly fabulous treats in the rain and the wind, but when the sun shines and the ice cream runs in rivulets over your fingers. Oh man. Nothing like it.
Bird song. With doors and windows thrown open and clear blue skies our native birdies sing their very best songs. And suddenly we become aware of how beautiful it is, especially in the evening as the light fades.
White wine. Sunshine is so rare that its appearance along with some heat gives us all a huge urge to celebrate. And that usually means alcohol, often before midday. So that’s a given. But white wine, served chilled to the max, really comes into its own in the heat.
Bare feet. When I visited Australia, I was somewhat amazed at how acceptable it is to rock along to your local supermarket in your bare feet. But now I know why. The freedom of not wearing shoes in the heat is so delicious. I can almost hear my feet sigh in deep contentment.
Long evenings. Being able to sit in the garden as the sun slowly sinks but when there is still light in the sky at midnight is one of the few advantages of Ireland’s mistaken northerly location. In this we score higher than our Southern neighbours when the sun shines.
Reading. You can’t watch telly in the sun, but you can read and read and read.
Dining al fresco. And I am not talking necessarily about BBQs but just being able to take your dinner outdoors really does make it taste better.
Getting out of dodge. Much as I love Dublin, when we get a spell of good weather (dare I say heatwave?) I am consumed by an urge to throw a few things in a bag, the dog in the boot and hit the road for Connemara or West Cork.
Watching aircraft. Ok, so bear with me here. This is a bit niche. But clear blue skies reveal just how busy the skies over Ireland are. As I lie in the garden I am mesmerised by the streaks of vapour, ripping the blue, as aircraft sail 33,000 above me. I may or may not have an app on my phone which allows me to identify each aircraft, the airline, its origin and destination to further enhance my wonder. I know, I know. I am a bit mortified. But just a bit.
Anyway, imagine if the weather was like this all the time in summer? Would we get used to it? Would we lose the run of ourselves altogether? A chance to find out would be indeed a fine thing.