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Britain’s day of burning hell. Survivors’ eye-witness accounts

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Britain is enjoying a spectacular heatwave and I don’t know about the rest of you but I have been enjoying it immensely.

I love the sunshine. I love the way it fries your brain so it feels like you’ve been smoking weed even when you haven’t. I love the gazelle-like legs of all the nubiles in their summer dresses passing me just now as I sipped a flat white on Kensington High Street. I love the fact that, when you’re wearing sunglasses, you can perve freely without anyone realising where your eyes are looking…

But enough summer sunshine fun. It seems that not everyone feels quite as enthusiastic about this glorious mid-90s heat as I do.

This young fellow on Twitter for example who thought it would be a good idea to send me this tweet.

I wonder if Ollie is being sarcastic.

Anyway, I’m grateful to Ollie for at least two reasons. First, I absolutely adore the idea that he imagines me to be so powerful I am in any way responsible for the thing we used to call in the old days “lovely weather.”

Second, because he sweetly included a link to the Guardian which I might otherwise have missed.

It seems that the Guardian has been live-blogging this marvellous sunny day we’ve been having, providing regular updates, in much the same way newspapers more normally do when covering say a breaking story about some hideous terrorist atrocity or some terrible natural disaster.

Here, so you can enjoy it yourself, is the link.

It includes invaluable tips on how to cope if you’re fasting for Ramadan (as so many of Guardian’s white liberal metropolitan readers are, right now, of course): break it and seek medical attention if you’re seriously ill, advises Shakyh Abdul Hussain of the East London Mosque – though presumably other clerics would disagree strongly with this dangerous liberalism.

There’s a short interview with a devil-may-care couple of pensioners who have recklessly decided to ignore all the Guardian’s invaluable health-and-safety advice and expose themselves to the sun’s deadly rays:

Soaking up the rays on a bench on Gordon promenade, Veronica Josh, 70, and her friend Jean Reay, 71, say they took no notice of the health warnings urging people to stay indoors between 11am and 4pm.

Who says the spirit of punk is dead, eh?

Meanwhile the UN is seizing the opportunity to advance its nannyish, finger-wagging agenda.

The United Nations has urged countries to create better warning systems as a heatwave sweeping western Europe saw temperatures reach 40C.

People with lung problems are basically as good as dead.

Vicky Barber from the British Lung Foundation Helpline said sufferers should avoid going out in the midday heat. “During hot weather, the air we breathe has lower moisture levels than usual, which can have a drying effect on our airways,” she said.

“As a result, people with respiratory conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or severe asthma may find it harder to breathe, feel more tired, or find their lungs feeling heavy or tight.”

Astonishingly, there has been a rise in sales of sun cream:

Superdrug has seen sales of suncare rise by 26% (compared to this time last year) and is predicting sales to rise by an additional 20% this week. The drugstore’s own brand Solait SPF50 suncream is the best seller, with the retailer announcing that it is selling a bottle every 30 seconds.

There has been a mass outbreak of unrepentant sexism:

The ASA said: “We considered the claim ‘Are you beach body ready?’ prompted readers to think about whether they were in the shape they wanted to be for the summer and we did not consider the accompanying image implied a different body shape to that shown was not good enough or was inferior. We concluded that the headline and image were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

And it’s the hottest July day on record. (Well, at least if you count one data set from one weather station as being symbolic of EVERYTHING).

Just like that, the temperature has soared at Heathrow to make this the hottest day in July since records began. That’s 0.2C higher than 2006’s record.

All of this makes me feel very ancient. I’m old enough to remember a time when sunny days were something to celebrate, not panic about or to cite doomily as yet further depressing evidence of man’s refusal to change his selfish carbon-guzzling lifestyle.

Is it just me? Or am I in fact the only surviving refugee from the Summer of ’76 who can remember headlines like “Phew! What a Scorcher!”?

 

 


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