I think I might be turning into a nudist. It is ever so liberating. The cool air rushing over every part of your body. Uninhibited by clothes. As naked as the day I was born.
Yes, August is upon us and I am melting. This has to be my least favourite month in the year. The sun is just punishing, the crowds frustrating, the traffic disastrous and the heat at night unbearable. Who would go on holiday in August? Maybe only to Finland or Siberia.
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it, once said the writer Russell Baker. Well Mr. Baker I am not really liking it at the moment. It seems strange an Englishman moaning about having too much good weather but I am really missing rain. I have never been one for lying on the beach. It seems a wholly pointless exercise. Maybe I have some Asian blood in my family tree. For the Japanese rubbing your body with sun cream and then frying in the sun is simply off limits. They hide, rather sensibly, behind umbrellas and flowing white clothes and do their best to stay in the shade. Now that is a clever nation. I would prefer to spend a day under the air-conditioning than a day under the sun on the beach. And there lies the problem.
We are currently in our summer residence, yes like the rest of the city we rent out our apartment in the summer and move. Now whilst our summer residence is charming and spacious it lacks one vital ingredient – air conditioning. Our only form of cooling is a fan that blows constantly. In fact, it is just circulating the warm air around and around in circles, so far from cooling it is really a free-standing hairdryer. This means that we aren’t spending too much time in the apartment, or as my wife says “our oven”, but living an al fresco lifestyle.
And that got me thinking. The air-conditioning, although it has its obvious advantages, has killed some of our social interaction. Whereas before, especially in the Old City, families and neighbours would gather outside their homes on summer evenings, now they are locked in their homes with the doors and windows firmly shut. It would seem that many life’s modern technologies are forcing people apart. The mobile being thee absolute worst example.
So with a lack of air-conditioning I had to invent a way of helping us sleep at night. It involved a hose pipe, a sun umbrella and a pallet. I fixed the hose to the tap of the shower in our bathroom, ran it out through the front door and then I needed some height. So the sun umbrella had more than one use for keeping us cool. I wound the head of the hose over one of the arms of the sun umbrella and then took an attachment for the hose which would normally be used for watering the grass and “hey presto” we had an outside shower. The temperature of the water could be controlled from inside and the shower head could be twisted to turn it off. This was showering “au naturel” as the French would say. We stand of the pallet so that the water from the shower runs away into the grass. We even hang the shower gel and shampoo from hooks on the umbrella. And I have to tell you it is bloody lovely, truly refreshing.
Of course the advantage that we have is that nobody looks directly into out garden. Otherwise they would think that a nudist camp, or a swinger party was being held in Zupa. At least I hope that nobody looks directly into our garden. And if they do please remember that the water is normally quite cold (if you know what I mean.) And yes I sing under the outside shower. Covered in bubbles from head to toe and completely naked I often spark up a tune. This could all prove rather embarrassing if a visitor turned up unannounced.
But I must say that being a nudist, well a nudist in my own garden, is therapeutic. And when the water stops and the cool air whistles around the cooling effect is better than any air-conditioning. And yes the whole family is enjoying the shower, even the dogs. No more sleepless nights. I am now a night-time nudist and I love it.