x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Catching the last of the weather when being outdoors is bearable

The hot, hot, hot days of summer are almost here - and our columnist is determined to make the most of the last few weeks of weather in which being outdoors is bearable

Cool: catch it while you can

I'd been saying (read: complaining) that the air circulating around the apartment felt stale, all day long. These grumbles had largely been ignored. However, by the time I returned from the cinema late that evening, there was no denying it: the atmosphere felt heavy, close and hot. Much too hot. The air conditioning, which is erratic at the best of times (prone to juddering to a halt before spitting out clouds of ice), was clearly broken. So, wiping the first beads of sweat from my forehead, I resigned myself to a fretful night's sleep.

I'm not averse to a bit of night-time warmth. When you're on holiday and have spent the day dozing by the pool, there's nothing nicer than flinging the windows wide open and listening to the crash of the ocean as you're lulled to sleep. When you're very aware that you've got a long day at work ahead, with deadlines looming, spending the night tossing and turning, tangled up in damp sheets, it's a different story.

After a good few hours of clock-watching, I ended up driving to from Dubai to Abu Dhabi early, purely because at about 6am the lure of the fully functioning air conditioning in the car became too much.

The AC has been fixed, but this little episode made me acknowledge exactly what I've been trying to ignore: summer is fast approaching. Temperatures are already soaring above 40 degrees, and by my reckoning, (and I've been here for only a year, so am by no means a UAE summer veteran), we've got until the end of the month before being outside for any length of time proves unbearable.

So I've decided to take action. From this point onwards, as many meals as possible will be eaten in the open air (breakfasts on the balcony, picnics in the garden, dinner on restaurant terraces) and I shall be visiting various parks and beaches with unprecedented urgency. I've told my friends that if they need to find me, I'll be alfresco.

That is, until the inevitable happens and the heat defeats me.