It's hotter than a handbag in Hades.
At more than 40 degrees Celsius (that's way over 100 degrees Farenheit to the metrically-challenged among you) in the shade, you start sweating before you've stepped out of the shower, cats and dogs lie panting spread-eagled on the coolest spot they can find and ice cream melts before it reaches your mouth.
For the past couple of days, Greece has seen the mercury shoot up to more than 43 degrees in built-up areas, and even in the relative cool and leafy greenery of my in-laws' country house north of Athens, in the smallest hours of the morning, the temperature hasn't dropped below 30 degrees.
And we're the lucky ones, surrounded as we are by pine-clad hills sloping down to the sea that separates Attiki from the island of Evia.
In the centre of Athens, I'd have melted into a sad little puddle days ago. There, the tarmac on the roads sticks to the heels of your shoes, pigeons in Syntagma Square dive-bomb the fountains in search of a little relief and our (in)famous city taxi-drivers charge sweaty tourists extra for turning on the air conditioning in their cabs. Little wonder that those-who-can escape the capital for the nearest beach, or retreat to the artificial cool of their air-conditioned homes.
Our country sanctuary is within easy driving distance of the city, so we can commute between the relative rural cool and our air-conditioned offices every day (if you call a four-hour round trip by road, train and foot easy). Even so, trying to stay lady-like and well-groomed in such heat is a challenge to say the least.
Now, I'm not known for my grace and poise at the best of times. So the chances of me presenting a cool, collected image to the world when the heat is on are pretty remote.
Take waxing, for instance (if that's not too much for you on an empty stomach). It's generally accepted as the best way to remove the unwanted hairs on your legs (ripping them out from the root – ow!). But have you ever stopped to think what happens to the wax at 40 degrees? I hadn't - but I found out the hard way this weekend.
Picture the scene. There I was, struggling with waxed strips of cellophane, trying to slap them onto my hairy calves to rip them off in a smooth easy movement. The reality, however, was not quite like what you see in the adverts. The wax took on all the properties of treacle and ripping the strips off was more like pulling stringy cheese on a pizza. The stickiness that theoretically would remove the hairs from the root was everywhere but my legs – the floor, my hands, my nose (why did I have to scratch that itch?), the walls....
Naturally, the hairs on my legs stayed exactly where they were.
Any make-up you slap on your face in the morning is pretty much guaranteed to gradually make its way down your face by the time you reach wherever you're going (ever seen mascara in the place of blusher?).
And whatever you've done with your hair is bound to be undone by the copious amount of sweat oozing out of your scalp. Makes me wonder why we bother, to be honest.
They tell me that 'savoir vivre' says linen is the ideal summer fabric. Cool, natural, and elegantly crumpled. Unless you're me. I don't know what I do wrong – maybe I sit all wrong or perhaps I'm simply the wrong shape – but whenever I put on a linen skirt or trousers, elegantly crumpled translates into something with as much grace as a wrung-out dish rag. And by midday, the almost skin-tight linen trousers I pulled on in the morning have expanded to a degree of bagginess that would make Coco the Clown proud.
So, you'll have to forgive me if I'm a soggy bundle of sweat and crumpled clothes. Inside, of course, I'm as a cool, calm and collected as a cucumber sandwich with its crusts cut off!