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Urzila Carlson: Burning up

As she swelters this summer, Urzila’s still seeking warmth.

We’ve had some amazing weather all over the country, from the tip of the north to the bottom of the south. I watch the weather report each night and it makes me smile, sigh and thank goodness for the blue plastic pool we have in the front yard so the toddler can cool off. I’ve laid down myself in the 7cm-deep water and tried my best to get my entire body utterly submerged.

It’s not worked yet but I’m not above using the hose or running through the sprinkler if that will help to get me soaked.

The heat of the summer is very welcome. I try not to complain about the heat and discourage others too. I blast the A/C in the car and at home I simply sweat in the Auckland humidity. I daydream of ice cream and long cool drinks, and when the time is right*, I even spoil myself with an ice-cold beer – say after I’ve mowed the lawn or when I’ve sat still long enough on the couch and just feel I’m deserving of one. The very last thing on my mind at the moment is anything winter related. I don’t want to think about thick stews cooked in the slow cooker all day, electric blankets, hot-water bottles or yelling, “CLOSE THE DOOR” to visiting rellies running in from the cold.

And although I don’t want to think about firewood yet, somehow I am. I’ve been “burned” before by wet firewood bought too late in the season. I normally buy my firewood with the first cold snap to hit the country, and it’s never worked out well for me. I’m left in the bitter cold, packing away two cubes of wet firewood ‘til late in the night so it doesn’t get wetter in the awful weather.

My father-in-law stepped in a couple of years ago. After a few days’ visit in the freezing weather, stuck in an old villa with wet wood, he said, “This is ridiculous, you need to be more organised!” So here I am in the height of the Auckland heat, building a firewood box to hold my two cubic metres. I’m finally ready to get my firewood early. I’m prepared! However, if the sweat that I’ve dripped into that wood box doesn’t dry before the wood arrives, then I’m afraid we’ll be having wet wood again this winter. I’ve promised myself that if the wood is a nightmare again this year, that’s it. Never again! I’ll simply learn how to knit and make thick wool onesies for everyone.

*The time is almost always right for a cold beer when you’re hot and working hard, or not working at all.

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