Evidence that Fran is looking forward to winter

I'm writing a short story called 'Heat'. I haven't finished it yet because I can't decide how it ends but it's about a couple in conflict and begins, 'They say domestic wrangles are usually about sex or money but whoever they are has overlooked thermostats.' 

The story features two people who marry and move in with each other, never having shared a house with a partner before. They are about to find out that there are 'three of them in this marriage': the woman, the man, and a little white dial fixed to the kitchen wall.

It's categorically not based on personal experience  the story of my whole life. 

It's summer now, though, which is a welcome break from the thermostat friction between me and my spouse. Instead, we replace it with light-hearted talk  bitter confrontations about whether drawing all the curtains in the house, locking every window tight and sitting as silent and still as death in the eerie darkness really does keep you cooler than opening everything possible and letting the AIR, which God invented for this very PURPOSE and gave freely to the WHOLE world, circulate throughout the house.  

My next short story will be called 'Ventilation'. In fact, right now I'm wondering about a whole series. Heat. Ventilation. The Washing Up Cloth. The Cutlery Drawer. Duvets. Crumbs in the Butter. Toothpaste on the Mirror. 


Fran and her husband calmly discussing how a washing up cloth should be hung up to dry


Everyone's talking about the heat, though, in the UK. We've already had some screaming-hot days that punished us all with their fearsome UV rays and apparently there are more to come this week. I and my wardrobe are not prepared for this heat as I own 362 cardigans and 3 teeshirts. There's not one dress in there; I haven't worn a dress since about 2005 unless you count the one I tried on just before my daughter's wedding last May in an attempt to be conventional. It had frills and fripperies. I looked like a drag queen and took it off before anyone in the changing room saw me, took a photo, and uploaded it to TikTok captioned 'The New Seventh Wonder of the World'.   

I am grateful, however, to be working from home now, because when I was teaching in schools, I often, in heatwave temperatures, had to do 'corridor duty' at break or lunch time. 

In one particular school, the corridor was a glass-roofed affair which, in other contexts, would have acted as a tropicarium, a sauna, or perhaps a giant saucepan whose contents bubbled and boiled, only in this case the contents were me and 300 girls queuing up for lunch and gradually melting like hot toffee and merging into each other. 'Behave yourselves!' I would shout impotently above the noise of hundreds of braised teenagers. 'You'll only make yourself hotter.' Meanwhile, my own body failed to recognise itself, dehydrating by the second, and my feet swelled like bread dough on a fast rise. 


Fran's tongue after lunch duty


I've set my new novel (out next March with Legend Press - yay!) in 1976 which was a heatwave year for the UK, resulting in drought, hosepipe bans, communal taps in the street, and high profits for anyone who had shares in Ambre Solaire. 

The novel features sibling rivalry in a foster care situation and explores what happens when the foster child turns out not to be the dysfunctional one in the household. The heat doesn't help as conflict increases within the family, as you can imagine. Here's a link to the press release about the novel in 'The Bookseller'.  Soon, I'll be able to share the cover with you and I hope you'll look out for it and let me know what you think.

While I wait for the cover reveal and for proofs to be prepared, I should finish my 'Heat' story, once I can decide what will happen to them. I am tempted to melt the husband and have him re-formed into candles, I won't lie. 

STOP PRESS: The title of my novel has been changed from 'Checking for Snipers' to 'Cuckoo in the Nest'. 











Comments

  1. When I first heard about the heatwaves you are all experiencing 'up north' I was a little too gleeful with my "ha! now you know how we Aussies feel for nine months a year", but then it went on and on and fires began happening and I soon felt sorry for all of you experiencing Aussie style heat month after month.
    Congratulations on the book!

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    1. We're all pretty wimpish about the heat in the UK. No one has air con in their houses and we're just not set up for it. I guess that might have to change ...

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  2. Hahaha!!I love this post so much! The same things my OH and I also have circular conversations about. These are my favourite lines ''Behave yourselves!' I would shout impotently above the noise of hundreds of braised teenagers. 'You'll only make yourself hotter.' Meanwhile, my own body failed to recognise itself, dehydrating by the second, and my feet swelled like bread dough on a fast rise.' I LOLed greatly. I'm sending this post to at least 3 people who will also LOL.

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    Replies
    1. I am very happy to have made you LOL and thank you for sharing with others!

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  3. Anonymous8/8/22 11:29

    Too brilliant and far, far too accurate!!

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    1. I don't know who you are, Anonymous, but I'll take that nonetheless! Thank you!

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  4. Oh Fran, you've reminded me of the circular dance my mum and I used to play when I came back south for vacations college in York: having acclimatised to the North, I would go round the house (in January) opening windows and turning off radiators, while she followed me, shutting them and turning them back on!

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    1. Yep, circular dance is a very good way to describe it. We did it this morning but with opening and shutting curtains against the sun!

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  5. Anonymous9/8/22 05:43

    With this heat you do keep rooms cooler by closing windows and curtains during the heat of the day then opening them all later on when the sun has gone down. I don't know which side of the argument you were on but your CAPITAL LETTERS suggest you were on the 'fresh air' side of the argument. I suggest you do what I'm doing right now - sit out in the garden under the shade of shrubs and trees all day! In the Med they have shutters on the windows and in Australia ceiling fans. That's what we need here with further heatwaves predicted in the future.

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  6. On the sunny side - draw the curtains, lower the blinds, open the windows a little bit for airflow.
    Shady side - open everything wide to draw in cooler air. Shady is good but must have fresh air!

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    1. You've clearly got it all down to a fine art, Diana!

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