Thursday, 2 July 2015

Phew, what a scorcher!

It got a bit warm yesterday. Okay, I admit it was hot, but it’s not like it’s never happened before, and didn’t they all make a meal of it? The warnings came thick and fast including some bizarre advice about how old people should be kept nice and dry and not use water to cool down, young people should be frequently doused and pregnant mothers should… oh, I forget. It was as if the soothsayers of doom were patrolling the airwaves, gleefully sounding the death knell for anybody not neatly fitting into the one rare body type that might survive the day without adopting extreme survival skills.

Lorries were stacked as they often are while the French engaged in the summer madness ‘en grève’, the trains closed due to the wrong type of heat on the tracks and the always hilarious Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s latest Marxman, called for an automatic right for workers to abandon their post once it got a bit sweaty. The we-are-killing-the-planet-mob were over the moon, cock-a-hoop, of course; here’s our global warming they shouted out; take that, you filthy deniers! Me? I hardly noticed, really as I did what countless others did and just got on with work.

Not for us, buckling in the face of a little adversity, or using the forecast to throw a sickie; we stalwarts of the tax-paying world just shrugged and said to each other “Bet it’ll be pissing it down, come the weekend”. Meanwhile the rest of the known world must have looked on at this peculiarly British madness with disbelief. The Spanish may have tapped their hundred-degree-plus thermometers and wondered how it is that an entire nation can obsess over what for them is a cool day in summer, in much the same way Canadians chortle each time a single snowflake crashes our economy. Entire swathes of drought-ridden African countries – had they the means to be thus informed – would marvel at how British citizens need to be advised about conserving water. And Australians, who have been slip-slap-slopping for generations must despair at their Pommie cousins who routinely forget that the ever present glowing orb brings dangers as well as light.

For the many fine qualities once embodied in the noble and enterprising mad dogs and Englishmen we appear to have traded some of the worst frailnesses of the human spirit. Where once we might have crossed deserts with nary a can of Tizer, now we mount logistically challenging expeditions merely to get in the week’s shopping. And while we’ve always harboured a fascination for the ever-changing and mostly benign British weather, adopting a how-hard-can-it-be attitude to surviving the occasional aberration, we now seem to need all of the technology of the modern age to keep us informed, minute by minute, what we must do to survive the latest spurious meteorological record event.

Are we ever ready for that barbecue summer?

Today, things are pretty normal for the time of year, but people of limited imaginations everywhere are already erecting shrines to remind themselves of the great one-day heatwave of 2015, an event to pass into the history of our nation until the next over-hyped wet/cold/dry spell drives us to take shelter once more. Make the most of your summer though; the nights are already getting longer and much as I derive no pleasure at all in reminding you of it, winters coming.     :o)

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