Phew! What a Scorcher!


ONE moment we are wearing lifejackets and swimming for our lives with an umbrella strapped to our backs and the next it’s so hot you could fry an egg on Uncle Bernard’s bald patch.

Temperatures are soaring to the heady heights of more than 28 Centigrade (83F) and ordinary people are developing a yo-yo complex.

They just don’t know whether they are coming or going with miserable, cold and blustery weather one week and scorching conditions the next.

Current weather favours blazing sunshine, so that means gardeners wearing knotted handkerchiefs on their heads can be seen hauling cans of water about drenching vegetables and flowers to stop them from wilting in the heat.

All those brimming water butts are not so brimming now and many gardeners are having to dive into their sheds and rummage about for the garden hose ready for when butts run dry.

You wouldn’t have given a bent penny for the chance of seeing that a few weeks ago, but the dramatic change is not just affecting gardeners but beach life as well.

Barely a fortnight ago you needed a thick winter anorak to risk walking along Weymouth seafront in Dorset, grey clouds scudding overhead as a gusty wind whipped sand or a light drizzle into the faces of those hardy enough to be out for a bracing stroll.

The beach was virtually deserted then but the current heatwave has brought thousands out on to the sands to worship the sun and get a nice third degree burn tan.

The range of beachwear is startling from the Victorian full body costume complete with fake handlebar moustache jokingly worn by one man to postage stamp bikinis worn by young women as they ran squealing into the sea.

There were Panama hats dotted here and there, long legged shorts decorated in everything from tigers to tomatoes, sedate one piece suits for the more genteel lady and extravagant flounced affairs for women whose waistline had gone further south than Portland Bill.

It was all there to see, men’s physiques ranging from Hercules through Mr Ordinary to Could-do-Better and women’s vital statistics coming in three sizes – eggcup, teacup and Challenge Cup.

And through it all runs the quintessential characteristic which makes the English what they are – that little bit of strangeness.

When it was freezing cold, miserable and summer was just a myth you could still see perky gents out shopping in shorts and open-toed sandals and when the sun beat down you could still see people wearing thick jackets, top button undone of course. There are limits.

All that remains now is to look forward to winter which will probably be cold with variable amounts of rain, cloud, sleet, snow, hail, fog, frost…..and sunshine.

Which bits we get and when is in the lap of the Gods, but we’re ready for anything the elements can throw at us because we’re English and weather is in our blood.


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