It’s summertime. Today is the longest day of the year. Thus the shortest night too.
As I write it’s almost ten pm and the sun is just about still up, around the front of the house, donning its pyjamas, brushing its teeth, getting ready to retire from my view. But it won’t be asleep for long.
And neither will I.
Although I love this thick, feather quilt heat which descends upon my back and shoulders as I step outside, it tires me out, making me shuffle about my business rather than strut through my day. I’m lifeless, dopey and dull.
But the heat of the day isn’t the problem. It’s the heat of the night which eats my energy, spitting it out in the morning, leaving me stumbling along, searching for somewhere to snooze.
Because when it’s this hot (38° Celsius today) we have to do something at night-time that we never do. Open the windows.
We would die if we didn’t, so that is not an option. Reluctantly we throw them wide open and let the noisy night rush in.
We hear cars in the distance. Motorbikes racing on the empty motorway. Cats wailing. Dogs barking. Hedgehogs scratching. We hear the trains to Paris chugging quickly along the tracks on the other side of town. Soon the party-goers return home, pull up and park, shout goodnight, then beep goodbye.
At three in the morning we sleep at last, the hum of the city outside like a sea shell held up to our ears.
But at four thirty the newpapers are delivered. He stops his car at every home, steps out, steps back in, slams the door and drives another foot.
Then the trucks start up again on their way to work. Hundreds must go through and around our town, unloading our breakfast, lunch and dinner to the markets and stores in the surrounding streets.
And at five o’clock the singing begins. If I weren’t so tired I would love their chirpy tunes. But what on earth do they have to say to each other at this time in the morning? Does anyone know? Or are all the birds in the world just delighted to waken us well before our alarm clock rings?
The sky is still blue now but edged with pale yellow and streaks of pink.
It’s almost time for bed. But it will be hours before we sleep.