Here in Hungary we’ve suffered a long string of days well over 30°C and in a landlocked country there are few upsides to such relentless heat. But not content to sit around sweating and cursing, with a fan pointed up my skirt, I decided to find them. Here’s my list so far.
I’m getting to know my neighbours.
These days, my neighbours and I are on strikingly intimate terms. When I open my curtains each morning, the sight of Mr Kumar perched on his balcony in his underpants barely gives me pause. And I’ve found a new respect for Mrs Horvath across the courtyard in her short house-smock (but no underwear). After sixty or so years she doesn’t give a rat’s about public opinion; determined to keep cool and comfortable, out she goes, hanging her washing, watering the plants, having a quiet smoke. Bless her heart; especially when she remembers to keep her legs crossed.
I am updating my music collection.
The gift of everyone’s open windows just keeps on giving. Not only am I improving my knowledge of Hungarian curse words, the party animals downstairs have been sharing their extensive collection of popular dance music. It’s been nothing short of a treat and with the help of the fabulous music app, Shazam, I can identify my favourites and download them to keep for always.
I have an improved attitude to shopping centres
One thing Budapest has no shortage of is shopping centres. Whichever one you chose, it will be full of the same mediocre chain shops and throngs of heavily made up, underdressed adolescents. I hate the places, but at this time of year I undergo an attitude shift because they have one other important feature in common; air-conditioning! Budapest’s shops and supermarkets are for the most part, frighteningly unrefrigerated so this is more of a highlight than you might think. I’m ready to embrace my inner mall rat.
House plants get a chance to prove their worth
I’ve always been an enthusiastic, if untalented gardener and one of the fantastic things about summer is window boxes. I’ve gone all out, but knowing next to nothing about species my tactic is ‘I’ll try those pretty ones’. Thanks to the relentless heat, so far I’ve discovered that Platycodons are my friend. Begonias are not. By the end of summer, I’ll have a stable of plants that not even I can kill.
As if you need an excuse, but seriously, if you’re ever going to be able to justify frozen cocktails now is the time. And maybe the effects of last night haven’t quite worn off, but I swear it did help.
Make your own list, I think I’ve actually started to feel cooler.