The heat of the Australian summer can be pretty tough during the days, but the nights can be even worse.
You kind of accept that where there is a hot glowing ball beaming out of a cloudless sky, but once the ball has dipped over the horizon, it seems unfair that it leaves so much residual warmth behind.
Yesterday had been pretty hot and I whacked the aircon into action as soon as I got home. There is a running battle in our house around the aircon and the person who wins is generally the person who stays awake longest. My husband hates the aircon and would, I suspect, rouse himself from Glascow Coma Score of 8 if he sensed that it was operating while he was under the roof. He works early, so usually goes to bed earlier than me. The last thing he always says is, ‘Remember to switch the aircon off.’
To which I always reply, ‘Of course; will do. Night!’
It is one of those charming exchanges that take place between couples that grease the friction of constant company, because what is actually being said is:
Husband: ‘Don’t think for a minute that I am going to let the temperature stay at a live-able level for the duration of the night.’
Me: ‘If you think for a minute I am switching the aircon off you are nuts.’
Last night, I climbed quietly into bed so as not to disturb my husband, who was asleep UNDER A DUVET BECAUSE HE IS MAD. Casting aside all covers I lay gently on the mattress beneath the almost silent purring of the overhead vent – I had dropped the fan speed down so it would not attract his attention.. I mean, disturb him.
My side of the bed is next to the window, which was open. After what seemed like quite a long sleep, my eyes snapped open. The clock beside the bed confirmed it was only just gone midnight, so I had not been asleep for long. The tree outside the window stood silent – there was not breeze to rustle the leaves, just inky black hotness.
The room was silent – the aircon was off, and it was stifling.
I lay for a minute of so, listening to my husband pretending to be asleep. One of the dogs had moved from his bed to the corridor outside the bedroom door. Maybe my husband was hoping I would think that the dog had done it, but I knew better. Airconditioning and farts may have air movement in common but that is where it ends. There is no way the dog had been out to the kitchen, opened the control panel and switched the unit off. My husband had been up and fiddling with my climate control.
I considered my options. I could get up and switch it right back on again, which would give me a window of about half an hour before he got up and switched it off again. I could try and ignore the heat, or I could go for the old fashioned mechanical method of wrappping myself in a sarong which I had wet with cold water and going back to bed on top of a towel.
The problem was I was at that point of the sleep cycle when anything is too much trouble. The same thing happens when I hear a mousquito. Yes, I could turn the light on and sit, poised with the spray can in hand until I spotted the tiny assassin, or I could hide under the sheet, or just lie there and let the bugger feast on me, risking whatever diseases it had to offer.
In the end I got up, worried that the dog might need to go out for a pee, but when I opened the door to the backyard, all he did was go out and lie on the cooler paving stones. I lay on the couch beside the door for a while, deciding to give him a minute while I made my mind up about the sarong. As a method, it certainly works, but the problem is it wakes you up a lot, so it can sometimes take a while to get back to sleep anyway. Maybe it would be just easier to come up with a longer-term plan, like grinding sleeping pills into my husband’s food.
I woke up when the dog came back in. I have no idea how long I had been asleep – not long I suspect – but it was enough to persuade me to have a go at getting back to sleep unaided. I climbed back into bed and the dogs jumped up and snuggled their warm furry bodies against me.
I was so hot last night, and boy did I have a hot time.