It’s funny the things that come up in conversation, particularly at this time of year. Summertime brings sunshine, which evokes smiles and joy, visits to the beach, sandcastles, pool parties and in a holiday city like ours, hopefully tourists.
But that’s not all. With the tourism comes reckless drivers, people drinking too much and driving on the wrong side of the road, people turning off the motorway and then turning back on again without warning, cars cutting across lanes.
When I first arrived to live in Madrid in 1990 it was amazing to see how they didn’t have the culture of pulling the car aside when an ambulance came. I’m constantly reminded of this now as I watch ambulances wailing agonisingly as they struggle to make it through the traffic that is far too unaware.
Also please be aware of the cyclists! It is mandatory to leave at least one car width distance if passing; don’t pass otherwise!! Basically please don’t take risks and don’t unnerve them by honking your horn or driving too close. This goes for motorcycles and nowadays scooters and other wheeled devices that appear from all over the place. Also consider that when people are pushing prams, the pram is in front of the person and they might not be choosing the correct place to cross because they can’t see past the pram; same goes for kids and animals that live on either side of our main thoroughfare.
If you’re a parent be aware that there are people who come to holiday cities with a different mission than those that come to steal your handbag, your luggage and anything they can grab from your car.
Our children are direct targets too; there are those who are looking to take advantage of your distraction for just about everything. Never leave a child unattended; not even in the car whilst you’re next to them at the cashpoint.
We also have to look out for bugs, particularly the tiger mosquito that flourishes in any droplet of stagnant water. This is not just in a stagnant pond but also when the drops of water are left sitting in a child’s bucket or flower pot etc. These mosquitoes carry disease and are particularly dangerous to pregnant women.
It also came to my attention yesterday that toads’ spit is poisonous and it’s really bad for dogs. Also bad for dogs is taking them out to walk in the heat of the day or on scorching pavements. They are better off without a walk rather than burnt paw and a heat stroke. If they swim in the ocean the salt water will also make them sick. Please consider their needs carefully.
Our needs change in this heat too; keeping well hydrated is important, particularly if you’re drinking alcohol.
I realise today’s column is a little ‘preachy’ but I know that often we don’t do things right only because we didn’t realise it was wrong. Sometimes a gentle reminder just helps us be more aware.
Nicole King’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.