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Nellie Knows : The Wokingham Paper : 28 June 2018

Nellie Knows is my weekly column in The Wokingham Paper.

From July 2018 the column will be on the first and third Thursday of the month.

I love this weather. I spoke to Granny Valley in South Wales and she said she hated it, for all kinds of reasons - namely she can’t sleep at night as it is so hot, it’s too hot to cook, she’s got no appetite, the dog is too hot and she will be glad of the rain. I agree that it’s not easy to sleep when it’s hot but by opening windows and closing curtains during the day allowing a current of air to circulate through the house helps, if it’s too hot to cook at the conventional times then do some food preparation when it’s cooler and then live out of the fridge, don’t eat like it’s winter but do keep the fluids up as there is nothing worse than a weather induced headache. As for the dog being too hot I agree, my dog has a full thick black coat, he wanders outside and sits in the sun, then finds a bit of shade only to return to the sunniest spot as he clearly has a case of FOMO (fear of missing out).

To make it more comfortable for him he has access to a bowl of clean water in the house (always), a bowl of water in the shade which is changed regularly and the old water thrown on the nasturtiums, I add water to his dried food, fill his toy with natural yoghurt and freeze it, walk him when it’s cooler and never ever ever would I leave him in the car with the window down a smudge. Over the last few days I have been repulsed by images across social media of people leaving dogs in hot cars getting hotter and very poorly. It’s just not right. I sat in the car with the dog yesterday whilst the driver nipped into the shop (literally nipped into the shop) and I had the doors and window open and even then it felt too hot, so we got out and stood under the shade.

I was glossing around Facebook and Lynne Allbutt who writes a column in The Western Mail (which Granny Valley reads) and The Abergavenny Chronicle talking about ways in which to look after our pets. Someone had a very natty jacket called Easi Dry which you soak in water and it keeps your pet cold and wet for about 3-4 hours. Of course it is not only our house pets that need looking after in this weather: keep your water buts in the garden covered as fledgling birds can drown, leave water out for the birds, leave out some bread soaked in water as well.

Also keep an eye out for your elderly and vulnerable neighbours and family, they might think they can carry on with the Blitz spirit but they might just appreciate a concerned visit, phone call or text. I saw an old lady struggling with the heat, her walking stick and trolley so offered to push her trolley for her. Of course the conversation got round to the weather and she said “this weather I love it, it means I don’t have to cook and can spend my day eating choc ices”. I must phone Granny Valley and tell her that’s the way forward!

There’s much excitement in the house as To Provide All People airs on Thursday 28 June on BBC One Wales and Saturday 30 June on BBC Two. It’s a film written by Owen Sheers starring Michael Sheen, Eve Myles, Martin Freeman, Jonathan Pryce, Siân Phillips, Celia Imrie, Michelle Collins, Meera Syall and others to mark 70 years of the NHS. The book of the film is published by Faber Books this week and the play salutes the NHS with nurses from each decade sharing their experiences.


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