I’m going back to work. It’s my first day in the office and on leaving the house I bump into a neighbour. In the terribly British way we have, we talk about the weather. “Isn’t this sun great?” he says. “It’s like being on holiday. I wish it was like this all the time.”
I think about the nursery thermometer, glowing red and showing over 26 degrees. The little screen even displays a sad face, as if to point out how truly awful it is that the room is so hot. I think of my 6-month old son, unable to regulate his own temperature, cranky in the heat. I think of the lack of sleep we’ve had, trying to get him comfortable at night. My neighbour and I have such different expectations of summer – the same situation interpreted two completely different ways and seen through the lens of two completely different sets of experiences. I can’t wait for the heatwave to be over.
“Yes,” I say, “it’s wonderful.” Because it’s too difficult to explain why it’s not, and because I don’t want to be late on my first day.
Work is fine. In many respects it is as if I have never left. The walk to the sandwich shop at lunchtime is the same; the commute home on the tube is as stifling as ever. I am, however, incredibly tired.
“You might want to get out clean pyjamas,” says the voice from the kitchen as I am getting ready for bed. “There was an emergency this morning and I used yours to mop up some sick.”
We repurpose things all the time. At work, a risk log is adapted to become an issues log. The charter from the last project is edited for the next one. My old schedule is tweaked for someone else’s new plan. At home, a pyjama top becomes a muslin cloth.
I put my old pyjamas in the linen basket and realise how much washing there is to do. There are adult clothes, baby clothes, cot sheets, towels. Tomorrow, if I have the energy, I’ll do the washing.
Maybe it is a good idea for the sunshine to stick around for a little longer. At least until I get a couple of loads of washing dry.