|Alas, Trinidad is still waiting on that first batch of TaunTauns from Hoth.|
Browsing my usual diet of UK media outlets over the past few weeks, amidst the usual clutter of Murray-mania (yeah!) baby-talk (yah!) and cricket scores (yawn!), it’s becoming increasingly impossible to draw the following conclusion: Britain is having a summer-and-a-half.
The jubilation over George is all well and good, but the little lad isn’t the only thing that doesn’t come around in Britain every year. The sustained spell of sunshine has surely been welcomed with equal fervour. There’s no doubting it: the Americans have petrol prices, the French have port blockades, but the weather is surely our national obsession.
And that passion certainly doesn’t abate in a tropical climate. Indeed, I’ve visited the BBC Weather page more here than at any time at home. Because, being a true Brit, I must also be fickle.
Back home, the months of June, July and August are feverishly anticipated in the (usually vain) hope that, just for once, we might actually have ourselves a summer. And I can report from my rigorous research of the British population in Trinidad, Bolivia (Kenny and myself) that we too look forward to these months, only our longing is for a merciful break from those near-constant temperatures of 30 Celsius and over.
For at this time of year, the long-awaited surs (south winds which blow in from the Antarctic via Argentina) are due to make their appearance any day now. Only, just like in the UK, the results can be decidedly patchy. Not since 2010 had we been on the receiving end of a sur of substance.
But this week, for one week only, our patience was duly rewarded. 20mph winds began bellowing their way through northern Bolivia at around 6pm on Sunday evening, the mercury plummeting in the blink of an eye. Such is the power of a sur at its most potent: one minute you’re perspiring in shorts and a T-shirt, the next you’re making a beeline for your mittens. Indeed, hypothermia isn’t the only danger in this situation; one must be careful not to choke to death when donning winter woolies which have gathered a year’s worth of dust.
Such was the force of this particular gale that, unusually, the wind picked up in power over the next 48 hours. By this point, we were down to the low-teens. Now, no sniggering at the back. Our harsh, northern hemisphere winters are at least preceded by a few months of steady temperature decline. Not so here. We’re talking a difference of 20 Celsius within a 24-hour period in a climate where homes, if anything, are built to be as cold as possible.
Thus, we made our merry way to bed on Monday evening in about three layers of clothing (I find football socks particularly useful in such temperatures) and slept under a sheet, a two thick alpaca-wool blankets and a quilt. And we would have thrown more layers on if we had them.
Goodness knows how we’ll cope stepping out into that Paisley air in mid-December.
It was a bit much at times, but in those moments, we just shut our eyes, remembered what it’s like to live in an oven most of the year, and within a split second, all was well.
As it happened, a general strike had been called for Tuesday, requiring everyone to stay at home for the day. I doubt anyone was too bothered, to be honest. We watched Zero Dark Thirty on Sunday evening and clearly drew some sub-conscious inspiration, not venturing beyond the confines of our compound till Wednesday morning!
It all made for a weird old week, with the three available teaching days hampered by significant drops in attendance, with many hot-blooded locals seemingly fearful of their lives. However, the wind cleared the way for unsullied, sunny blue skies over the past three days and, though it’s taking a lot longer than usual, temperatures are slowly returning to their usual, dizzying heights. The only wind the Beeb are forecasting for the next few days is due to come from the north and I have little in the immediate-term to look forward to. Perhaps I could alleviate things by turning to cricket fandom.
Steady on there. I'm not that desperate.
- FT is once again running its course on ear and hearing care this week. It’s been highly publicised and will be held in a venue in the centre of town, so we’re hoping for big numbers. Amanda will be taking the Advanced course (she’s already sat Basic and Intermediate) so pray for success for her this week.
- Please continue to remember the family of Yoselín and Ailín in your prayers (see last week’s post). That’s a very delicate domestic situation.
- Taking advantage of Joe Sturman’s journey to Birmingham last week, we handed him a stack of letters addressed to Christian trusts in the UK, with a view to securing some funding for Craig’s studies next year. Pray that, somehow, support might be forthcoming in what are tough times for many of these trusts.
- For a refreshing (in a very real sense) break from the usual high temperatures this week.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda