Hysteria about the Heat

Sometime too bright the eye of heaven shines

Often is his gold complexion dimm’d

Livingstone and Lawrence – they could take a bit of heat

Hot? Call this hot? One warm day and the whole country flops down in a faint like a bunch of wilted pansies. I mean what’s got into us, eh?

After being AWOL for most of June, the British sun has put in a brief appearance, and at once our airwaves are jammed with portentous government doctors warning us to stay indoors, wear loose cotton clothing, turn off the central heating and above all to slather our skins with oceans of foul seal-blubberish suncream. We are warned of heatstroke, kidney failure, heart attack and – mystifyingly – cold sores.

Listen, my friends. Here is my own personal weather analysis. It is a lovely sunny July day. It is admittedly a trifle close on the Tube – but how on earth can that be an excuse for closing our schools?

On trains, passengers are continually interrupted by the guard warning them to drink water, bottles of which may conveniently be obtained from the buffet car at a mere two quid a pop. What next? Will they have to remind us to keep breathing? Have we lost all sense of proportion?

The Middle East is aflame. Our Prime Minister has been exposed in a posture of abject servility before the American President, summoned with a click of the fingers and the words “Yo, Blair”, as if he were Jeeves to Dubya’s Wooster.

I only refrain from calling Mr Blair a poodle because several correspondents have protested to me that this is an insult to poodles, who are, apparently, keen independent spirits.

The Labour Government is in a state of meltdown far more serious than any softening of the tarmac at Eastbourne, and in only a few days’ time we must endure the national agony of seeing John Prescott at the helm of the ship of state.

In spite of all this genuine global catastrophe it seems that the main news – the big, front-page news – concerns the efficacy or otherwise of sun gunk.

In order to terrify its poor benighted readers one newspaper has recruited two groups of warring scientists. The first lot says that you must baste yourself with two 5mm layers of sun gunk, being careful to leave it on the skin like war-paint, otherwise it will have no effect and you will get cancer. The second lot says that you must rub it in, otherwise it will soon wear off and you will get cancer.

Which is it? And isn’t the dreadful truth, frankly, that we would be just as well off using Mazola?

Let me remind you of one thing, all you local authorities which seize the chance to close the schools on a gorgeous sunny day. The parents of these kiddies save thousands of pounds to buy them holidays in the sun everywhere from Crete to Cancun.

Look up at the sky and every 60 seconds you will see another huge airborne cattle truck taking the British to be scorched in climates far fiercer than our own. We sit in our villas and our condos around the shores of the Mediterranean, like pale frogs about a pond, and when our own watery sun is so pretentious as to put on a Mediterranean performance, we go into a national spasm of alarm.

Is this the nation that built the Empire? When Lawrence was cantering his camels through the sands, was he pursued by health warnings about exposing the tips of his ears and nose to the desert glare?

When Livingstone toiled through the sweltering jungles of central Africa, did he have coolies toting bottles of Evian and government officials warning him of dehydration?

This is a nation whose imperial greatness transformed the world, and which disseminated ideas of freedom, parliamentary democracy and above all the English language, the language of the globe, polar, tropical and temperate.

We pulled it off because we were equipped with colonial servants who didn’t care whether it was as hot as a chilli on the back streets of Bangalore. They were pink of cheek and rheumy of eye, and when their French and German rivals were having a siesta, they were out in the noonday sun claiming the planet for the Crown.

How fallen, how changed we are from that magnificent ethic. Even since the 1970s, when we last had a heatwave and, interestingly, movies about Superman and the Poseidon Adventure, we seem to have softened like a strawberry mivvi in the sun.

Our footballers blub when they lose a match. The nanny state won’t let us take our T-shirts off in public lest we get sunburn, and from November all children under the age of 11 will have to be equipped with an expensive plastic booster seat banquette before you can take them in the back of the car.

We have become so wet that the Government has tried to intrude in the housing market and abolish the ancient principle of caveat emptor, and while I am on the subject there is one final point I want to make before I fire this piece off to the Telegraph and go for a well-deserved pint of beer with dewy condensation running down its cold, golden flanks.

No matter how great the hysteria about the heat, no matter how many scientists warn us about the risks of either applying or failing to apply sunscreen, we should not allow anyone to convert the current panic into legislation.

We don’t want any more of those directives that make employers criminally liable for failing to see that their employees are covered with gloop factor 15.

Let us in conclusion remember the words of the poet. Sometime too bright the eye of heaven shines, he pointed out, and for some weeds out there that is the case this week.

But the key point, as he went on to say, is that Often is his gold complexion dimm’d. That is the way of the British sun, and that, if I read the forecast correctly, is what is going to happen this weekend.

My heatwave health advice is to jump in the delicious river Thames, upstream of Henley. And if you really can’t stand the heat, move to Scotland, where it seems to be raining already.

62 thoughts on “Hysteria about the Heat”

  1. Or Canada. We’ve got plenty of ice for the G&T’s.

    I’m not sure what this article is actually about, other than “please stop whining, and damn you, I had to get a babysitter!” but it’s plenty of fun to read. Boris obviously knows that blond looks good with a tan. Or a sunburn, looking at the top of the page.

    I am going to assume that is sunburn!

  2. Yes, it’s hot here, damned hot, and tommorow it’ll be hot, hot and wet.

    It’s the Boris Johnson effect.

    Unruly Son,
    Thy beames, so reverend, and strong
    Why shouldst thou thinke?
    I could eclipse them with a winke?
    But that I would not lose his sight so long:
    If his eyes have not blinded thine,
    Looke, and to morrow late, tell mee,
    Whether both the’India’s of spice and Myne
    Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with mee.
    Aske for those Kings whom thou saw’st yesterday,
    And thou shalt heare, All here in one bed lay.

    It’s great to curl up with a good book.

  3. If all you Southerners come to Scotland, you would probably use the A1, and a significant proportion might stop in my hometown in Northumberland. Now we don’t mind the odd foreigner; on the contrary they are hilarious. However, I’m not too sure about advocating a mass exodus from the South to, well, the North.

    Some of you guys would be welcome, some, quite frankly, wouldn’t. Boris, in this fantastic article, sounds like a Northumbrian that has washed his mouth out with soap. He’s quite right you can’t handle the heat. One centimetre of snow triggers a ‘severe weather warning’. This morning all the tubes on the Circle Line ended up at one end and the little man on the tannoy blamed it on the ‘red signal’.

    I had a protest smoke on the platform at Edgware Road, people kept saying ‘there’s no smoking’ to which I replied ‘there’s no trains either’. As for the cold pint of beer, you guys should check out Newcastle – pretty girls actually talk to you.

  4. Steven – The pretty girl I know from Newcastle would probably tell you off for smoking on the underground – she’s my mother.

  5. As the saying goes – if it’s too hot in the kitchen – get out! so get your face water sprayers and paddling pools ready and all will be well – it only takes a little commonsense to escape the heat – and we sure do talk about the weather here don’t we?

    I was brought up in Brazil where this temperature was the norm…. yet here I am fanning myself and feeling singed at the mere sight of a blazing hot day and clear skies— what’s come over us…

  6. this is why we are not citizens of great britain anymore, because everyone seems to have become a bunch of namby pamby’s, you do realise that we are no longer referred to as great britain, just britain.

  7. Back to the snow; snow is far funnier than sun in the South-East. I will always remember the time – on my placement year from university – when you had about an inch of snow in Kent.

    On the morning news there was footage of a man in his fast rear wheel drive automatic Mercedes saloon car who was at about 30 degrees to the road. Two other men were behind trying to push him whilst his wheels were spinning at about the equivent of 10 mph.

    Look you bloody fools! Put full lock on, hit the brake hard, stick it in drive and hit the throttle, once your wheels get spinning to the equivent of about 100mph you might start moving!

  8. Boris, somebody in Philadelphia is channelling you.

    4. Whatever you do, don’t sit in a room with the windows closed, wearing wool clothing and drinking beer. It is a recipe for disaster. At the very least, wear something that is light and loose fitting. A bedsheet will do.

    For those of us in the news biz, there is only one thing more exciting than heat. It is record heat.

    For record heat, we will remake the front page and use Pearl Harbor-sized type and write headlines that say:

    Record Heat Scorches Region!

    We will then proceed to tell you that it was hot yesterday.

    Television has us beat. It can tell you that it was hot today.

    Here are some more helpful hints:

    5. Don’t watch television. Watching those TV reporters standing in front of the cameras will only make you hotter.

    6. Buy two newspapers. Read one and use the other to fan yourself. It will help alleviate the heat. This is especially true if you insist on sitting in a closed room, wearing a bedsheet and drinking beer.

    And as for snow, Steven, we get snow every couple of years here in Vancouver, and the media immediately tells us to FORCHRISSAKES take our pierced earrings out, lest our heads freeze and drop off. Then they head out to make fun of all the drivers spinning their wheels (I remind you or inform you that North Vancouver is built up the sides of several mountains, giving them lots of targets). They invariably find that the most clueless drivers are the ones who cheerily say, “I grew up in Ontario/Edmonton/The Yukon. I can handle snow!” I think all knowledge of snow driving is smugly deleted from their brains the instant they get a condo in Yaletown.

  9. ‘4. Whatever you do, don’t sit in a room with the windows closed, wearing wool clothing and drinking beer. It is a recipe for disaster. At the very least, wear something that is light and loose fitting. A bedsheet will do.’ (sourced by Raincoaster)

    How surreal; I’m sitting in a room with closed windows wearing wool trousers and waiting for lunchtime so I can go and have a cold beer!

    In the hot weather the rich tapestry of life becomes a bit psychedelic.

  10. Johnson, have you pushed the cash from your latest book advance straight up your nose by any chance?

    The Middle East is in a tailspin toward all out war; Blair has been exposed as Bush’s London Correspondent; John Prescott’s had his hand slapped for possibly having it in someone else’s till and all you can think to write about is the soddin’ heat wave.

    Get a grip man.

  11. Lay off.

    I’m up to page 25 on Boris’s new book, it’s paperback, affordable and quite sobering, even if it is more cobbled together than a last minute episode of the Simpsons.

  12. A) why haven’t we had a nice blurb about Boris’ new book on the site? The ad is all very well, but there aren’t many chuckles in it.

    B) why is the guy on British tv talking to me?

    C) I get the sense Boris has been “encouraged” to limit what he says about foreign policy right now. In fact, not hearing much from any of the Conservatives. Cameron is still in the headlines for wanting to lay a Putin on every adolescent roughneck he sees, though, so it’s not as if the party’s not in good hands.
    From a socialist point of view, anyway.

  13. Be fair to Boris Goodly Tasks. It wasn’t only about the weather. He took a passing slash at the Government’s HIP scheme to streamline the housing market which now seems to be in terminal meltdown.

  14. Did anyone see the pictures from 1949 in the Mail today? So funny – one woman and child in bathing costumes lay next to a man on the beach – all sunbathing. Nothing unusual in that but he was not only fully clothed in shirt/trousers/socks but still had his boots on! Made me think of Peter Hitchens for some reason.

  15. I had a protest smoke on the platform at Edgware Road, people kept saying ‘there’s no smoking’ to which I replied ‘there’s no trains either’. (Steven_L)

    Well done! Wherever I see a smoker these days, I see a kindred spirit.

    I was in a bar a couple of days ago when a man started loudly declaring that we should have the right to smoke where we liked. And, from several tables away, I applauded.

    “They’ll be banning alcohol next,” I said, as I landed in the seat beside him. “Passive drinking and all that.” And he replied that in Scotland that had already started, with a maximum of three pints of beer per person.

    We talked animatedly for some time, and I beamed and smiled as he informed me that the Iraq war was all about the clash of Christianity and Islam. I believe no such piffle myself, and prefer oil as the proximate cause of our engagement in that benighted land. For in truth he could have voiced any opinion he liked, up to and including a penchant for cannibalism – because sitting at the bar with our cigarettes, we were brothers.

  16. I was coping quite well with the hot temperatures, as God, in his infinite wisdom, usually provides a light breeze in North East Hampshire, for those like myself and that Austen tart who need to stay refreshed so that our compositions inspire our many fans.
    However, you’ve done it again, Bozza, with your glamourising of the British empire. Name one indigenous people who benefitted from being slaughtered. You silly bugger, you deserve to be sitting in a grade 7 classroom listening to some social reject waffle about Boyle’s law or differential calculus or whatever trite piffle is being foisted on young people these days. And, if I were sir, you would be made to keep your tie and blazer on too, until you learned something from history.
    Move to Scotland? Yes, tell them that Boris sent you, and he is a great admirer of the duke of Cumberland and Edward I and other great imperialists.

  17. Melissa – with the poisonous pomp occupying the government front benches, it warms my heart to know there’s a beautiful nut and a tasty bit of Turkish delight in Westminster too, fighting for us.

  18. Boris is brilliant as usual and gives me a little solace after reading all the hype.

    The BBC gets quite hysterical about the hot weather, this is a copy of an e-mail I sent to the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2. Examples from
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/booty.weather/climate/histclimat.htm

    “Dear Jeremy,

    If yesterday was the hottest since 1911 and it’s down to global warming, what caused it back then?

    What caused it in 1252? The summer of 1252 was outstandingly dry/hot, with the ensuing drought ruining crops & many people died from the excessive heat.

    And in 1516? HOT & DRY More generally, there was a DROUGHT with very little RAIN falling for 9 months .

    1538-1541? These four years experienced DROUGHT, with 1540 & 1541 particularly dry – in both these latter years, the Thames was so low that sea water extended above London Bridge, even at ebb tide in 1541. Three successive fine / warm summers from 1538-1540: the weather in 1540 was so fine that picking of cherries commenced before the end of May and grapes were ripe in July.

    General WARMTH over Europe summer of 1540. (The next warm summer of equal worth is possibly that of 2003!)
    ” 1540 is described in contemporary chronicles as the ‘Big Sun Year’; the lower part of the Rhine from Cologne into the Netherlands is ‘dry’ – it didn’t rain over Italy, with Rome dry for something like 9 months. Forest/city fires, with many people dying of heat stroke, heart failure etc.”

    1558 Very HOT summer
    1568 Excessively HOT with DROUGHT
    1583 DROUGHT, very HOT / DRY summer
    1598 Great DROUGHT & very HOT
    1651-1654 Four successive fine (i.e. often dry / hot) summers

    Summer 1666 27th June: heat wave began: mostly dry in London since the 12th.
    On 5th July, 1666, Pepys writes: “extremely hot … oranges ripening in the open at Hackney”.

    July 1707 “Hot Tuesday”: many HEAT-WAVE deaths in England

    1718, 1719 Fine summer weather gave a good crop of grapes at Richmond in both years, and the summer of 1719 was claimed to be one of the HOTTEST for some time. Generally WARM across the whole of England & Wales (using the CET series), with 1719 notably warm.

    June – September 1741 Prolonged heat/drought set in around 12th June and lasted until 2nd September

    July 1783 was a notably WARM month (in the CET series), not only for July but for any summer month. The value of 18.8degC represents an anomaly of +2.9C over the all-series mean, placing it second warmest in the July lists, and also making it the fourth WARMEST any named month in that series (which starts in 1659.)

    July 1808 Notably WARM month (using the CET series since 1659). With a value of 18.4degC, it is in the ‘top-10’ of such-named months for warmth.

    It was undoubtedly a VERY HOT spell though, as deaths (people & animals) from heat exhaustion were recorded, particularly from the agricultural areas in the east and north of England. One report at the time (from farm records in the eastern Fens), says that the TEMPERATURE in the shade near London was 96 (degF), which converts to just over 35degC: the same reference notes that this spell is the “hottest day ever known in Eng’d
    13th: ‘HOT Wednesday’: shade temperatures 33 to 35degC in E. and SE England, 37degC (99degF) reported in Suffolk .

    1868
    (early & mid
    Summer) Persistently WARM weather by CET series over period May to July. The summer of 1868 was very HOT & DRY, with some of the highest temperatures recorded in the second half of July that year. There was a remarkable spell of hot days, with temperatures over 30degC in England.
    The maximum temperature recorded on the 22nd July, 1868 at Tonbridge, Kent is still remarkable: 100.6 degF/(38.1degC)
    Notable drought May to July over England & Wales in particular: somewhere around 40% of long term average.

    1881
    (July) HOT weather affected much of northern Europe through July, TEMPERATURES reached 35degC at Camden Square, and around 32degC at other locations across SE & CS England.

    1899 (Summer) Notable DROUGHT with extended HEATWAVES. The total RAINFALL for the summer months amounted to roughly 65% of the long-term average, coupled with the high-heat, and the fact that the previous year (1898) was very DRY, extreme distress resulted. The summer (June, July & August) TEMPERATURE in the English lowlands are said to be on a par with those of 1995.

    1906 (Summer):
    1. A fine summer. It ended with an intense HEATWAVE at the end of August 1906. TEMPERATURES reached or exceeded 32degC widely on four consecutive days from the 31st August. Of note, the September record MAXIMUM of 35.6degC was set at Bawtry, South Yorkshire on the 2nd September.

    1911 (Summer):
    1. Notably WARM summer: one of the top 7 or so of the century, and just in the ‘top-10’ all-series summers (as at 2004). 2. MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE on 9th August at Raunds (Northamptonshire) and Canterbury (Kent) 36.7degC (98degF). Until the Augusts of 1990 & 2003, the highest known / accepted in UK).

    1933 (Summer):
    1. Notably WARM summer: one of the top 7 or so of the century. Regarded as extending from Jun through to September:

    1947 (Summer):
    1. Notably WARM summer: one of the top 7 or so of the century

    1949 (Summer):
    1. Notably WARM summer: one of the top 7 or so of the 20th century.

    1949 (Annual):
    1. A notably VERY WARM year: almost equalling the years 1989 and 1990 about which so much fuss is made. In the CET record in fact (which roughly represents the central lowlands of Midland and Home Counties England), it is the equal warmest in the entire series at 10.62degC, equal with 1990.

    1959 (Summer):
    1. The summer of 1959 was one of the FINEST/LONGEST of the (20th) century; some of the highest temperatures occurred in July.
    2. July, 1959, was the sixth consecutive month with ABOVE NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURE.

    1975 (Summer):
    For England and Wales, it was one of the six WARMEST of the century (to that date): with 1911, 1933, 1947, 1949 and 1959.

    1976 No previous HEAT WAVE in Britain, nor any since, has ever come close to the duration of the late June/early July 1976 HOT SPELL. From the 22nd June to 16th July, the temperature reached 80 degF daily. Even more remarkable, from 23rd June to 7 th July, a period of 15 consecutive days, the temperature exceeded 32 degC somewhere or other in the country.”

    Summers have not been getting hotter on average, although we are in a warm series at the moment. The CET summer average for the 18th century is slightly higher than for the 20th century. Temeperature in the UK has not risen above 1990 levels in the last fifteen years and is currently declining slightly. These are verifiable facts, not computer modelling, but the global warming train runs on out of control, unlike the weather which is just cyclical.

    Needless to say it didn’t get a mention.

  19. Certainly, Steven.

    I was brought up in Brazil where this temperature was the norm…. (Melissa)

    I spent years of my childhood there too. In Salvador, Niteroi, and finally Rio de Janeiro. Blistering sunshine for days on end was the norm. One learned to keep to the shade, and walk slowly, and drink frequently, and eat water ices. I retain these tropical habits to this day – except you can’t get water ices for love nor money.

    So whatever they say about you, they’ll have to say it about me as well.

  20. Sex first thing in the morning in this current hot weather is a BIG turn-off, according to 99 percent of ACTIVE people in a recent survey including me.

    Now Blair says when having sex in this hot weather a wet towel should be placed between the two naked bodies. I’m not joking, folks.

  21. If yesterday was the hottest since 1911 and it’s down to global warming, what caused it back then? (Dennis Ambler)

    Exactly the same thought crossed my mind when I read that bit of news.

    The truth of the matter really is that nobody understands the weather. It’s one of those developing sciences, much like genetics or plate tectonics, which is in rapid development. In such sciences (if that is the right word for them) dogmatic conviction regularly trumps rational analysis.

    Not all climatologists agree about global warming. A few months back I read somewhere online a discussion among some of the dissenters, who were saying that the climate seems to alternate between warm and cold states. During this century, up until 1941, Europe enjoyed a warm period, and then flipped into a cold period which lasted until 1976, and has since been followed by another prolonged warm period. The 1941 flip from hot to cold resulted in the German army being halted in the depths of an unexpectedly extreme Russian winter without winter clothing – probably the single greatest cause of their subsequent defeat (not unlike the great storm that wrecked most of the Spanish armada in 1588).

    And throughout my childhood in the 50s and 60s, I can remember regularly trudging though winter snow sometimes 2 feet deep. But since the hot summer of 1976 (and I remember it very well, if only because the heat drove me nuts) I can hardly remember a winter where the snow has been deeper than an inch or two.

    I take all ‘experts’ with a large pinch of salt, myself. And I suspect they’re all really only after lucrative research grants.

  22. Does Boris have any lobster in his family tree or is my PC screen due for renewal?

    (see picture at top)

  23. La Bach – you have to forgive my ignorance on this subject but firstly 1> the government has no right being in anyone’s bedroom, and now the shaky bit; 2> why is sex first thing in the morning in summer heat not good? Why is sweating together an impediment to good sex? Now, correct me if I’m wrong but… I thought it was all about mixing bodily fluids. And, well, if you’re going to be all stuffy about the fabulous pheromones in this heat becaue the other person feels a bit damp, or moist, I mean, don’t you want to get it on you? Don’t you want to get it on?? Right well, there’s this amazing thing called ‘FOREPLAY’ and for a woman it starts…. somewhere around yesterday evening. It’s all in the head. Think about it! Get to a certain level and I assure you, you’d walk across hot coals to get more.

    So I’m told.

  24. If I were having sex with Blair’s wife I wouldn’t settle for a damp towel between us. I’d prefer something more substantial, like the Atlantic Ocean.

    Steven, you said

    Channelling is the work of the Devil Raincoaster! (or so some strange guy on TV said)

    So naturally, I wondered why he was talking to me when I don’t even watch tv.

    Melissa, I have no idea what you’re referring to. I was only supporting a fellow commenter and remarking on the deterioration of the comments section.

    Vicus/Mark, you’ll be delighted to know that here in the former Colonies there’s a saying: “The reason the sun never sets on the British Empire is that God wouldn’t trust an Englisman in the dark.”

    I think it was a Scot that said that.

  25. Johnson you spineless git, there are other things going on in the world apart from inflating your already massive ego.

    Make a statement about the Middle East. I dare you.

    You’re a worthless human being and pointless as an MP.

  26. You won’t wring a statement out of any of the Tories, unless they’re dumber than I take them for. Right now they are sitting on their hands watching Blair’s government get picked off one by one. “Never interfere with your enemy when he is destroying himself” is a key political strategy.

    Politicians don’t particularly care about Lebanon, because there aren’t any British votes there.

  27. “We sit in our villas and our condos around the shores of the Mediterranean, like pale frogs about a pond…”

    Ay Boris! no like pale frogs, rather like red prawns as we say in Spain! 😀

    Nice article, the problem is that of creating sensationalism where there isn’t.

  28. Archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler announced his intention to excavate in the Indus Valley in August. Interviewer: ‘But Sir Mortimer, August? The climate!’ Sir MW: ‘I propose to ignore the climate.’

  29. To be perfectly frank with you, raincoaster, Vicus used to give me unmeasured grief in the early days…. but now I see the stardom in him I can see he’s quite a demon with incisive thought…and I truly [gulp] welcome his comments

  30. «a href»Yo,«b»Boris,«i»Baby,«br/»Yo,«p»de,«strong»man,«em»man,«ul»an’,«ol»that’s,«li»de,«blockquote»way,«pre»it goes

  31. LaBach – Me? I’m ice cold at the moment – I’ve chided someone who’s been extremely kind to me and they won’t know why. I’ve got a point but been a bit…… female about it. You know, she goes off like a rocket then half an hour later you find out what the hell she’s mad about. You know what I mean, we all do it. Now and again, when the kids are fighting and you haven’t slept for days, then someone lights the blue touch paper and whoosh!
    Bit of a mixed bag being passionate.

    It’s definately the heat.

  32. Jaq, I know exactly what you mean by Melissa’s Brazilian roots, even if the others don’t. She drives men nuts 🙂

    But, as we all know, she’s either Boris in disguise or Bozza’s mate Dennis, a former KwikFit tyre fitter who also answers to Heidi at weekends.

    On to less serious matters: Ape tells Boris “there are other things going on in the world apart from inflating your already massive ego”.

    Well I’ve got news for Ape. There is nothing more serious than (some) “not serious” matters. Boring people like you cannot see the power of illustration by example or allegory. What we have in this heat alert nonsense is a whole rotten world of litigation mania, arse-covering, blame avoidance, health scares, brainwashing of an increasingly dumb public by big companies (ever seen Lucozade products, preposterously hyped and overpriced water with a farthing’s worth of chemicals?) and the emergence of a new kind of pseudo-science on which some world-changing decisions are based. To be honest, I find all this more frightening than the Middle East issue, on which you won’t find any shortage of debaters.

  33. wow 1858 was a hot summer(my daughter reckons i remember it well.. cheeky.)the year of the big stink at the house of commans!!! global warming at its best with all that rear air from humans(and cows) ha ha.

  34. again on this heat thing… isnt it amazing how the weather gets people goin… i think its a function of general boredom.im glad its hot.. the hotter the better.and this water leakage thing in the heat.. answer me this… whats the differance between a water leak.. and wen it rains!!!!?? the water flows somewhere…does it not.and in this heat… try drinking bottled water.. with a sell by date of nov 2007.. when its been in the ground for a 1000 million years ha ha… its a strange world…

  35. Keep ’em coming, Ape! [Ed: had to delete it alas]Your insight, your forensic attention to detail, your powers of analysis and deduction, and your wacky sense of humour are a joy.

    In fact I haven’t had such a good laugh since JP was caught with a mistress.

  36. Now that was funny. Which one?

    I don’t mind the trolls as long as they either A) make hilariously vainglorious remarks or B) viciously attack me on my own website.

    Flamewars are AWESOME for hits!

    Ape still apparently hasn’t figured out there’s a Higher Education section on the site. Wait for it, someone might tip him off…

  37. Oh come on, Dennis. Leave it in. One of the many good things about this site is that troublemakers get slayed more effectively than any censor could manage. Boris does not seem to have a censorial urge, which makes him all the stronger.

    At least you had the guts to say it had been deleted, Heidi.

  38. Mr. Grumpy speaking.

    Why do millions of otherwise sensible Brits spend two days, one at the beginning and one at the end of an interlude called a ‘holiday abroad’, travelling via ghastly airports to places where the temperature is 40+, lie around all day like beached whales and say how glorious it all is, and then when the temperature hits 30 in God’s own country suddenly say how horribly hot it all is?

    This is a question in a book I am compiling called Ramsey Wonders Why which includes others such as why do petrol stations seldom catch fire.

    I’m hoping to link up all the answers in a definitive solution to the questions of who killed Kennedy and did the Yanks get to the Moon.

  39. For your perusal

    1) Diced carrots (ever popular mystery) in vomit even if you’ve never eaten a vegetable in your entire life

    2) If you put a square foot of concrete in the middle of Antarctica during winter there would be a cat’s footprint in it when it dried.

    3) If you put two perfectly straight cables 12 feet apart on the bloody moon they would be tangled if you ever came back to look at them.

    It are a miracle

  40. Jaq
    Of course, I know what you mean! (giggle)
    But you made it sound like 9 1/2 weeks there !!! (giggle, giggle)

    The heat is still going strooooooooooong……..

  41. Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg, the young fogey recently chosen as Tory candidate for North-East Somerset, has a new party trick to trounce the EU-loving Lib Dems.

    When Jacob comes across a Europhile, he denounces the EU ban on curved bananas. Invariably, the Europhile will claim there’s no such a ban and that it’s a Euro myth. He then triumphantly produces a note from his wallet detailing EU regulation 2257/94, stating that bananas must be “free of abnormal curvature” and should be at least 5.5 inches long !!! (gasp)

    I wonder if this EU rule also applies to all EU men’ as I don’t like to be short-changed ?

  42. I’m enjoying the hot weather. Sorry to be a bore and come screeching back to the best of British topic.
    I think the key, as always, is adaptation.

    What with the hosepipe ban the lawn has died and turned to dust so I’ve planted pumpkins instead which are hugely entertaining. From a tiny shoot they have become vast spiky viney things that grow about a foot a day, have big tropical yellow flowers and obvious plans for world domination – I have christened the largest one Goldfinger. It’s heading for the house at a rate of knots. I have never seen a plant with so much innate personality. I suspect them of eating cats. The snails zoom over there with great enthusiasm but apparently, on arrival, are too afraid to actually try eating them as the splendid leaves remain resolutely unchewed.

    They do take some watering but lugging the watering can back and forth is doing wonders for toning my upper arms and I am planning a fine Halloween party if I get any actual pumpkins in the course of time.

    Other than that I’m working three feet away from my Cinni fan at all times, swimming in my local pool when I can get there and sunbathing (admittedly while wearing Australian strength sunscreen as I’m a redhead with tendencies to lobsterhood) in the early evenings with a spritzer.

    It’s a hard life, but you know, we struggle on!

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