Hot, isn’t it. No? Well, it is here, and everything has stopped because we can’t cope with temperatures pushing … well, nothing special to be honest.
For those of you reading this from somewhere other than the UK, we are currently enjoying our annual several days of summer. And we have reacted as we always do. Like flying ants, whose mass emergence is triggered by temperature and humidity, a threshold has been breached and we British have fling all sorts of behavioural norms to the wind, from our quiet reserve to any fashion sense we might have optimistically claimed.
Bodies of a pleasing variety of hues are draped across public areas of grassland, but it is the pasty white ones, wrapped as they have been for so long in water- and wind-proof layers, that stand out so that viewers of the inevitable TV coverage are moved to reach for the shopping list and scribble down ‘slug-pellets’ while they think of it. News reporters provide a list of exotic cities around the world that are, for two three-hundred-and-fifty-sixths of the year, cooler than central London.
Lidos – public open-air swimming pools usually frequented only by that ‘special’ type of person who thinks that breaking the ice to facilitate a few lengths is the way to ensure a healthy life of shivering, chilblains and pneumonia – are instantly so popular that no-one even seems to mind the faint hint of yellow in the water or the chlorinated eyeballs.
And in lounges all around the country, reserved, early-middle-aged gentlemen such as myself are sitting around with their knees out. Beer has been bought and cooled. Instant barbecues have been purchased, the search for supporting bricks has begun, and the novelty Michelangelo’s David apron has been brought out for the occasional but always hilarious display of its sculpted genitalia.
Plus, of course, we have a whole new subject to complain about. Up until now it has been the Call This Summer! moan as both temperature and rainfall hovered innocently close to the seasonal norm. Now, It’s Too Hot! and we yearn for the fresher days we were rubbishing 48 hours ago. We don’t have air-conditioning in our homes – for the same reason we don’t reinforce our roofs to be meteorite proof – so these rare hot summer days leave us sticking to our shirts, slumped in our chairs, and quite unable to do anything productive.
We’ll get moving again after the inevitable thunderstorm or two, only for everything to grind to a halt again in six months time when the next extreme weather event hits us: half an inch of snow!