What do you do on those hot, sultry nights in the bedroom?

"I'm melting," said the Wicked Witch of the West. (That's you, isn't it, Lynne. ED)

"I'm melting," said the Wicked Witch of the West. (That's you, isn't it, Lynne. ED) - Credit: Archant

I give in... I’m going to talk about the weather. I promised myself I wouldn’t but, what with the heat, I haven’t really done much but be hot. And, by the way, it isn’t as fierce as 1976 when, even as a red-blooded 21-year-old woman, I couldn’t bear the idea of being touched. It was far too hot for any of that nonsense.

I’ve been managing as well as a menopausal woman suffering night sweats can, in overnight temperatures equivalent (most years) to a British daytime heatwave.

You might think, ‘if you’re already a bit sweaty, how much can it hurt to sweat a bit more?’ You’ll be sorry you thought that when, after a sultry night of Streetcar Named Desire-like humidity – minus the soothing presence of a young Marlon Brando – you find a shrivelled little woman the size of a walnut on the mattress. You can’t lose that amount of moisture without suffering dehydration.

Short of standing outside in a thunderstorm, I’ve been doing my best to take on enough liquid to survive the seven-hour overnight journey. WC Fields (old actor; ask great grandma) would be appalled by the amount of neat water I’ve been knocking back.

The hope is, I shall be able to sweat/perspire/glow copiously without running dry and without running to the loo every half-hour. It’s not easy to strike a balance.

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I’ve tried taking my nightie off...

“Oh, you’ve got no clothes on,” remarked my husband, arriving from the bathroom.

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“Sorry,” I said.

“No... you look like the Rokeby Venus.”

“Uhuh,” I said and waited.

“... Maybe the Ropey Venus,” he said after a moment.

Meanwhile we keep the bedroom windows wide open, the blinds closed, and train a fan on our feet. The theory (which we may have made up) is that if the soles of your feet are cool you won’t overheat.

There are a few inevitable consequences. Things fly in through the window, work their way round the blind and settle somewhere to wait until I am nearly asleep before flying buzz missions past my ears. “What was that?”


“Didn’t you hear it?”

“No. Go to sleep.”

It is then only a matter of time before my husband exclaims: “What was that?” We switch the lights on and wait. Nothing. We turn the lights off, lie down and... “What was that?”

We don’t know what it is but it’s still there somewhere, lurking.

Meanwhile, the draught from the fan gets on my husband’s nerves. “Can you sleep with the fan going?” he asks.

“I could until you just woke me up to ask me about it.”

“Is it all right if I turn it off?”

Say no, and he will toss and turn and sigh. So I say, yes. He turns it off and immediately the soles of my feet heat up and within seconds I am bathed in perspiration again. But I won’t complain (Are you on new tablets, Lynne? Ed).

Being menopausal is bad but it’s not much fun having to wear a nappy and suffering with a headcold either... that’s not me, by the way. Not yet, anyhow... give it a couple of years.

It was our grandson, baby George (the commoner), aged 10 months and nearly crawling, who spent two nights with us, last week. He can now clap his hands in appreciation of his own achievements, bounce up and down with the squiggle stick tune on CBeebies (don’t ask), play ball and deposit a spoonful of baby food on his head with startling accuracy. But he has had a cold and one of the skills he has not yet mastered – and probably won’t until he’s a teenager – is blowing his nose. Consequently, his otherwise perfect little nose was encrusted in an unsightly coating of green stuff.

Occasionally another layer would be added by the simple expedient of blowing a bubble of nose lava from his nostrils. “Don’t do that, George.”

Any kindly attempt to remove the crust was met with extreme dissent; crying and so forth. We resorted to sneaking up behind him while he was playing with his (very annoying) baby’s first busking set and dabbing his nose firmly with a wet flannel.

He still yelled but at least he wasn’t able to apportion blame. No one wants to be the nasty grandparent.

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