The heat of battle


You’d think that with all these overseas jaunts I’d be fit and ready for the hot weather, but you’d be wrong. The weekend we’ve just had? Hells bells. On Saturday I walked from Tooting to East Dulwich to a barbecue. It was with serious misgivings, but my flatmate is doing a walking marathon at the end of September and needs to put in the training. This is the ONLY reason that I agreed to it, despite being a demon walker as a rule. So off we set, 30 mins before the sun reached its zenith, and scuttled our way, zig-zagging via all the shade we could find. Of course we arrived horribly thirsty two hours later, and attempted to slake it with lots of mid-afternoon booze, thereby ensuring we both had copper-bottom-guaranteed splitting headaches with which to walk home again. Argh. Here I am, hiding in the Dulwich shade, with a small and adorable boy.

One of these people peed very soon after this, but fortunately all over his own towel.

Sunday was even hotter and I spent it bored and fretful, having retreated from the garden. Finally, in the cool of the evening, we set about igniting the barbecue I’d bought in a mad dash to Argos on Friday evening – along with 10kg of charcoal that I’d ill-advisedly loaded into a taxi while wearing a white T-shirt. The barbecue was a beast. It was far bigger than I’d expected and capable of chucking out such heat that it burned the bones – the bones! – of the chicken joints to cinder and all the hair off John’s knuckles.

Serve us right. We’d laid the food on the grill then closed the lid and retreated a few metres, beerily chuckling that with its three legs, poddy shape and smoke gently escaping from the sides it looked less like a barbecue and more like a shit-awful special effect from Thunderbirds. Karma, bang to rights: we mocked it; it vaporised our dinner. We won’t be making that mistake again. But we will be buying some tongs. And possibly an asbestos housemate.


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