It’s 5 am, still too hot for sleep, and I find myself wide awake hearing the patter of welcome raindrops falling against the window. I feel both grateful for a respite from the heat and a pang of regret that I left the washing out all night.
I get up, go out into the garden, take in the washing, make myself a cup of tea, and return to bed.
The rain comes pouring now and I watch the lighting forks through a gap in the blinds and listen to the distant rumble of the thunder.
5.15 now, and further sleep seems unlikely.
“You look tired,” my son says.
“Yes, I woke up at 5, got the washing in, and couldn’t get back to sleep.”
He laughs and says, “Why didn’t you just leave it for the sun to dry again later?
Outside, it’s now 28 degrees and there’s a strong breeze, perfect for drying washing.
Moving back to my desk I walk past the huge blue cool mat I bought for the dog after last year’s episode with the vets when it cost me £180 to be told that my dog was, “a bit hot.”
Daisy is lying out flat on the floor asleep looking comfortable, right next to the cool mat.
Wherever I put the cool mat, the dog lies next to it.
“I’d prefer that you were scared of it.” I grunt at her and she gives out an especially long sigh without opening her eyes.
I have made a list of things I need to do today in between clients. It is a daunting collection of tasks, made when I got into bed last night with the heady confidence of a man who knows he doesn’t need to worry about the tyranny he has imposed on his future self.
“Have you got a lot on today?” I ask my son, imagining that everyone is carrying on regardless of how hot they get.
“Not much. I’m taking the afternoon off to sit in the garden,” he tells me.
His girlfriend is already in the garden on one of the sun loungers revising for an exam.
My daughter is still in bed.
The tasks on my list are nagging at me so, to escape, I go and open the fridge door and stand staring at the shelves.
It’s too early for cheese.
The turnips from two consecutive weeks veg boxes are sitting in the salad tray at the bottom, pushed behind some lettuce so that I don’t have to think about how to use them or feel bad that I haven’t.
Since the beginning of lockdown, I have found myself staring bleakly into the fridge frequently. I use it as punctuation, the way that smokers use a cigarette.
Today my sentences are full of commas, and semi-colons but I feel a long way from a full-stop.
After a couple of client sessions, I find myself back at the fridge with no further progress on my list of tasks.
The dog has moved from the floor next to the cool mat having been coaxed into the garden and is now sitting in the paddling pool waiting for a biscuit.
I sit down on the sofa and close my eyes resting my feet on the cool mat.