As the weather turns colder my heart sinks. As I type, for the first time since May I am in thick trousers and a light jumper. I miss my summer lifestyle already!
The Hot Weather Finally Broke
Here in Italy we always have lovely long hot summers. Okay, so sometimes it can get a bit too hot, but mostly it is manageable. We have lived here a long time and we know all the tricks. For example, keep the shutters and windows closed on the side of the house facing the sun for example. A rookie mistake made by tourist visitors who think that flinging open all the windows will allow lovely cool air in. Except when it is nearly 40C outside the air coming in is like a hot hair dryer!
We spend so much of the day outdoors. Meals get eaten outside. The house is designed to have various terraces where you can sit in the sun or shade as is your desire. The animals spend most of the day outside on the terraces. In the dogs’ case, barking at passing birds. In Stevie Mouse’s case enjoying the sunshine. Stevie is an indoor cat because of her poor eyesight so being outside is a real treat for her.
As the weather turns colder, the options for sitting outside narrow down. If there is sun and you can find a sun trap you can enjoy the warm sunshine even in winter. I have sat outside and eaten lunch in shorts and tshirt on Boxing Day before now.
But there is always part of me that feels like I am trapped indoors for the first few days. As with all things, the feeling passes, but it is quite a strong emotion. And the animals are the same, asking to be let out on the terrace then coming back in because of the cold wind.
It Will Warm Up Again
At time of writing, the outside temperature is 12C (53F) but that is after three days of severe storms. That is low for this time of year, we should be low 20C (68F). I have lost track of how many times I have toweled the dogs dry after a walk. The temperature will bounce back but clearly not up to the lovely warm temperatures we have enjoyed. It really feels like autumn for the first time.
Arthritis And Hypothermia
I have arthritis and it is aggravated by cold. Oh the joy of the summer months with little joint pain. As the weather gets colder I can feel my body starting to respond to the change. Even in summer I have to be careful with extreme temperature change. I can get sick if there is a storm and the temperature drops suddenly. One of the joys of my autoimmune diseases. And hypothermia is a tricky beast because you actually feel hot and sweaty. The last thing you think is that your body temperature is falling. It is always a surprise after all these years. I end up with a heating pad and covered in a blanket or I can get really sick – and that can be in mid August! So the winter is hard for me physically.
It Is Not All Doom And Gloom
Once I acclimatize to the change, it is not all doom and gloom. Soon we will rearrange the room for winter so that we are facing our big log burner. Hopefully we won’t need to light that for another month or so but we are ready if we do. The chimney has been cleaned and we have plenty of logs. Winter evenings can be magical, sitting with my feet pointing towards the roaring fire, listening to music by candlelight.
The Daily Chores Change
It is amazing how quickly the chores change around the house to adapt to the change in temperature. With three terraces of plants to water, summer can be hard work trying to keep everything alive. The garden looks best in spring. Once the heat really starts things start to suffer. Thank goodness for the trees for shade!
As the weather gets colder we start organizing logs. We have logs on the front porch so that if we get really bad weather we can take them from there. There is a pallet at the bottom of the front steps with logs covered with a tarpaulin to keep them dry. We also have our log shed. At least this is the time of year Barnet Boy’s muscles tone up from lugging logs!
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!