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The moron’s guide to dealing with heatwaves

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Strewth! Alf Stewart is not happy, you bunch of flamin' whingers.
Strewth! Alf Stewart is not happy, you bunch of flamin’ whingers.


At the risk of getting all Alf Stewart on you, I’m flamin’ sick of the media hysteria generated by this heatwave we in South Australia and Victoria find ourselves in the midst of.

As a Western Australian ensconced in Melbourne, I find the city’s heat-phobia borders on the ridiculous. A temperature higher than 22 degrees Celsius is sure to send blokes wandering about shirtless as if they’re in Ibiza, while train drivers crank the AC to Arctic proportions.

Melburnians are, if I may be so bold, a bit bloody soft when it comes to hot weather. If media companies are so interested in heatwaves, why don’t they fly some reporters up to Marble Bar or Birdsville, where the poor blighters manage to suffer one all year round with no histrionics?

So, as someone who lived in Scotland until the age of 10 before being cast into the furnace of a Western Australian summer armed with only his wits, let me share with you my moron’s guide for coping with extreme temperatures.

1. Turn off your televisions, phones and computers

The only thing worse than a heatwave, is knowing there’s going to be a heatwave. I don’t need to see a Channel 7 reporter sweating like Rafael Nadal to know it’s warm. I like to adopt a view of uninformed optimism — I try to ignore the weather forecast at every opportunity. I believe a seven-day forecast is a tool of the anti-Christ. If you cast your eyes to a long-range outlook and see multiple days of over 40 degrees, it’s only going to get you down. Wake up every morning thinking to yourself ‘cool change might come today’. You’ll be amazed how far that attitude will take you, while the poor miserable buggers who know it’s not due until Friday afternoon will be trudging about like the damned.

Smarter than the average dog owner? Greig Johnston's dog shows how he chooses to beat the heat.
Smarter than the average dog owner? Greig Johnston’s dog shows how she chooses to beat the heat.

2. Reduce your activity level

Do as your pet would do. Whenever I look at my dog in weather like this, she’s invariably lying in the coolest corner of the house in a coma. Even when I jangle her collar and lead, she gives me a look as if to say: “You serious mate? It’s still 35 degrees outside. Yeah, I need to crap, but let’s get real here — I’ll hold it in for another hour and we’ll reassess, ok?” I like to run. But if I stick my head out the door and it feels too hot, I’ll settle for a stroll. Or, more likely, a good book and a bottle of Little Creatures. To borrow a line from Glen Jakovich, it’s not rocket surgery.

3. Stay hydrated

So, you sweat more in hot weather. You’ll need to drink more water. On really hot days, I’ll head to the tap and pour myself a pint and chug it. Maybe a pint and a half. The time to do this is when you are thirsty. I also try to avoid hot drinks on hot days. I find I feel hotter after them.

4. Put a wet towel at the foot of your bed

Now we’re getting to the real gold people. This is especially for those of you sans air-conditioning or fans. This one has got me through many a sticky night. You can put your feet on there for an instant hit of cool, or perhaps swaddle your legs in it. Maybe you like your bum covered, or perhaps you’re an arm guy. Roll it up and stick behind your neck, or drape it over your chest. Wherever you like it, the wet towel has you covered. It’s the summer’s most versatile accessory. And if you still can’t get off to sleep, just Google ‘Melbourne heatwave’ and start reading — you’ll be slumbering peacefully in minutes.

• Got your own (semi-serious … or not) remedy for beating the heat? Leave a comment below. 

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