Our Marie ready to let them eat icy poles

LET THE HEAT BREAK: Helen Hopcroft cools off in her full Marie Antoinette regalia. She is seven months into the year-long project to dress as the French monarch in support of arts in the region. Picture: Max Mason-HubersAUSTRALIAN summer is tough on a French aristocrat.

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Seven months into her year as Marie Antoinette, Maitland’s Helen Hopcroft is starting to feel the heat.

“You turn into survival mode,” she said. “When the temperature gets high you have to ask yourself if five petticoats and a bumpad is really worth it.

“I’ve only got one wig and it’s starting to look like a mangyPekingese.”

With a 40-degree dayset to hit Maitland on Thursday, Ms Hopcroft has just one plan to survive the heat.“I think I’ll stay home and cuddle the air-conditioner,” she said.

Ms Hopcroft began the My Year as a Fairy Taleproject on May 1 –a year dressed as lastQueen of Francebefore theFrench Revolution in support of the arts in Maitland.

The year-long project has come with challenges though –Ms Hopcroft has had to attenda funeral and visit the GP, all in 18thCentury attire.

“It means you’re late for everything,” she said. “There are days you just do not want to do the supermarket run.

“Any sort of responsibleadult thing, it naturally sends it straight towards comedy. It’s absolutely ridiculous and that’s the whole concept.”

Newcastle itself will dodge the worst of Thursday’s swelterwith a high of 31 degrees due in the city and at Nelson Bay according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Despite the coastal relief,the city’s western suburbs will bear the boil.

40-plus conditionsare forecast in Wallsend, Maitland, Muswellbrook and Singleton on Thursday before slightly lower temperatures in the following days.

Showers will increase on Thursday into the weekend, with temperatures pegged to stickto the 30s.

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