Veering West

Stop kidding ourselves and admit we’re just not built for this heat

July 25th, 2022 11:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

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ON a scale of one to 10, where one is the boiling chip oil in the Rossa Grill and 10 is the temperature in the bowels of Mount Vesuvius just before Pompeii was destroyed, how hot were you this week?

For much of the week, I was at least a seven or an eight.

I am currently writing this from the darkest room I could find in the house, hidden away like Count Duckula trying to dodge the treacherous UV rays stalking the outside of the window.

I have tried to take on board all those helpful threads on Twitter to the tune of ‘I used to live in Australia and here are 100 life-saving tips for surviving face-melting temperatures (1/367).’

I’ve pulled down all the blinds and opened all the windows. I’ve got towels stacked in the freezer and I’m ready to apply them liberally to my armpits should we drift north of 28 degrees. I’ve filled the bath with factor 30 and I’ve taken to dipping the children in it every half an hour, like sheep.

We never used to panic like this about every single weather event.

Then again, we didn’t have a looming climate crisis.

We Irish are just not built for these temperatures, are we? Sure, we might have Mediterranean temperaments in how we behave at sporting occasions or how we interface with the property market. There is extreme emotional volatility there beneath the many layers of duffel coats.

But our poor Celtic bodies cannot keep up with the searing sun. Our pale translucent skin is not designed to thrive under these circumstances. We’re designed to eat flowery spuds and sup warm milk from a hot mug in the middle of the day, not lounge around in the shade of a lilac tree, napping under a hat after a single glass of rosé.

Over centuries trapped on this remote outcrop at the edge of Europe, the Irish psyche has evolved to survive overwhelming greyness, unrelenting wetness, and vast elongated omnibuses of Fair City that go on for weeks. Our necks and foreheads have become adept at absorbing mist at Olympic levels. Our eyes have become narrow from watching raindrops slowly trickle down the inside of holiday caravan windows.

The Lord did not mean for us to while away our afternoons casually cartwheeling into infinity pools with budgie smugglers on.

No, we were designed to sit in dark places like pub snugs and confession boxes, worrying.

The tragedy is that we all like to fool ourselves that we are built for the sun. The merest glimmer of sunlight in May and we’ve all rocking the Bermuda shorts and iced cappuccinos like we’re on the set of Home & Away.

Many of us carry surfboards around these days, spend ridiculous amounts of money in Decathlon buying snorkelling equipment and boast about how we are developing an outdoor culture on a par with New Zealand.

But we’re only pretending.

The Irish don’t truly tan. Not like the Greeks or the French tan. We can only do it in dangerous and unsightly ways, like Pat Spillane in a 1970’s Munster final, sizzling away in the summer sun like a rasher on the right-hand side of midfield.

I know it’s not nice to hear the truth. Don’t @ me.

Now, I can already hear you all shouting at me here in my dimly-lit labyrinth. ‘Don’t be repressing us with your crass stereotypes, Colm! We’re an Atlantic, seafaring nation. We eat mussels in a white wine sauce and enjoy wild-swimming.’

But I see you, with your walrus-blubber wetsuit and your nuclear-proof sea socks waddling out towards the waves for your 30-second dip. You may think you are ‘sea swimming’ but really you are merely constructing a temporary neoprene veneer to ward off the freezing Atlantic waters and the vicious jellyfish.

Sometimes we just have to accept who we are.

I will be taking no further questions at this time.

More open talk needed

THERE were some extremely sensational headlines in some national newspapers last week with the announcement that a section on pornography was to be included in the Junior Cert curriculum.

Not very helpful headlines, to be honest. A little bit of research would have confirmed that the only mention of ‘pornography’ in the 27-page document was to investigate its influence on young people’s understanding, expectations and social norms in relation to sexual expression.

Anyone with any knowledge of the online world, which is absolutely rife with these websites. knows that promoting understanding and open discussion amongst kids is far healthier than burying your head in the sand and pretending there isn’t a problem. If anything, there needs to be a much bigger discussion about this.

Preserve Johnny!

I MADE the decision to plump for a sports day package for €12 to watch Ireland take on the All Blacks last weekend. It turned out to be the correct call. What an occasion. What a team!

And how great to see a West Cork player in the mix in the reserves too. Of course, there are the usual, understandable questions about whether Ireland has peaked too early in a World Cup cycle.

This feels different though - you’d fancy us to beat them again if we played them today. Now, we just need to keep Johnny Sexton in some sort of cryogenic chamber between now and next summer.

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