Tuesday 28 June 2011

How to cope with a heat-wave? Just say the Latin Mass, obviously!

Apparently we're having a heat-wave ("pic de chaleur") here. To be honest, it's hard to tell the difference, except that it doesn't cool down at all at night. Even though it's technically a heat wave, it's still not as hot as the normal weather in August, so we're coping admirably.

The funny thing here is that although the official temperature might be 32 or 33 degrees, at the meteo station near the coast, it's much hotter in town because the black basalt stones the town is built from retain and release stored heat all day. It's like living in a stone oven. This can make late summer heat - often reported as high 30s  - soar almost 10 degrees higher: and that is unbearable.

The UV index is high as well - 8 or 9 depending on the day and time - which means that the risk of severe sunburn is much higher than we're used to on even the hottest days in South East England. Luckily we live in a tall, narrow street where the houses shade each other and stay relatively cool. So we stay indoors in the cool until later afternoon, then head down to the sea around 5pm, to play and eat dinner on the beach (the water is lovely and warm at this time!), then head home at sunset. It means that our days start and end considerably later than they would in England, although we still manage to head out to Mass in the mornings (when there is one). Formal learning has more or less gone out the window since we've been here, although there have been lots of other sorts of learning opportunities (ever seen anyone catch a large octopus in a classroom?)

So what do the children do all day? Well, left to their own devices they say Mass. In the Extraordinary Form. With great seriousness and reverence. Several times a day. It's 11:15 and we're now on our second Mass of the day. As I started typing this post the strains of Faith of Our Fathers were ringing out onto the narrow street, and earlier a 12th C Alleluia chant resounded through the old town from our attic windows. Given that we live on a sort of fault-line between the Gitane and Arab areas that should raise an eyebrow or two. I used to worry about the children "playing Mass" but have been reassured by more than one sound priest that as long as their play is reverent, which it is, there's no problem. I suppose if we had a TV or hand-held video games they might find something more "normal" to do, but they're happy, I'm happy, and I suspect our local martyred bishop Saint-Simon is rather happy too.

No comments:

Post a Comment