Before moving to New Zealand we lived for 3 years in Qatar in the Middle East. The average annual temperature is around 35℃ and it can go up as high as 50℃. It rains so rarely in Qatar that when it does rain it becomes such an event that it supersedes everything else happening at the moment, it doesn’t rain torrentially (like the Indian monsoon) but splutters apologetically creating streaks in the dust on windows and on cars, but never heavy enough to wash them clean, so rain is more of a nuisance. You don’t notice the heat really (unless you are a construction worker) as you journey from well-chilled homes to freezing cars to equally cold work or shopping malls. When you do go outside away from AC the heat is utterly indescribable.
When I up-sold the idea of moving to New Zealand (my paternal homeland) to my sceptical wife. I told her of becoming very sunburnt and of long days of heat looking at the balmy south pacific….. The day after we arrived here from Doha (in the middle of the New Zealand summer) we had to shop urgently for thermal underwear so that the three of us could withstand the ‘balmy’ summer temperatures. In all fairness 2014 WAS a bad year for sun and 2015 little better, 2016 was exceptional and it got so hot that I recall having to turn the heat pump (AC) to cold and open all the doors at 10 at night in order to get some air through the house….
So, ms…. In Qatar with its constant heat, I managed to get around pretty well, not needing even sticks (most of the time) and would happily push a trolley for support around shops to mask my stumbling about. We even went to India in the middle of their summer and ditto for getting about…. One thing however that I have noticed with ms is that after any medical issue the effects of the ms seem to become more pronounced and don’t ‘reset’ despite working on them. In India I had a medical problem (not ms related) that required surgery and afterwards my mobility decreased by 20% to the point that i needed sticks constantly – precipitating our leaving Qatar. After 3 years in New Zealand, I now need a walker to get about with, I have to have it as my balance is abysmal. Recently I hurt my back and had to hunt down a back-brace to give it some support. As my legs have become weaker, so I rely more on my lower back muscles for movement strength and support, and with a recovering back, I am now really staggering about…. The plus side is that my upper body is stronger than ever and all my shirts are tight across my shoulders and sleeves. After I hurt my back, I decided that it would be a brilliant idea if I exercised the injury ‘out’…..big mistake. I just made it worse. Anyhow so we learn.
This is a view over our front fence at a hill 3km away…yup invisible. It has been constantly wet for 2 days because we are now all at cloud level (300m above sea level) last night the wind gusted to 120kmph and the rain was horizontal.


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