Monday, October 13, 2008
England is having a very late Indian Summer. "I'm wearing white trousers," said my mother brightly on the phone yesterday, "I was putting away my summer clothes and thought why not?" I have no idea how hot it is because my mother always speaks in Celsius (she is European, you know) and I mumble my way through a sympathetic/positive/taciturn "ooooohhhhmm" in response. One of the great joys of our childhood summer holidays was pulling the thermometer (which was only Celsius) from the icy Oslo fjord, where it sat on a length of fishing line, weighted with a small rock, and did the multiplying by 8, dividing by 5, adding 32, or whatever it is, math, which took ages and involved many family arguments ("No, you divide by 8 darling.") before coming to the conclusion that it was still bloody freezing and yet swimming in it was nevertheless inevitable ("It's so refreshing!" said my father, through blue lips). I'm already feeling neurotic about her Christmas visit, and making sure her room is warm enough. "Your house is the coldest house I've ever been in" she says, which is brilliant really, coming from a Norwegian living in England, visiting Southern California.