Monday, 4 June 2007


The days when a hot summer was a pleasing prospect are long gone; we all know now that summers are going to get hotter and hotter, i.e. worse and worse. But even before we were told that we must get used to the idea of being burnt to a crisp, we had begun to find out that sunny weather is not always fun. In 1995 we had one of the hottest, driest summers for 200 years, and August was the hottest ever recorded.

An article in the Evening Standard at the time noted some of the effects, good and bad, which were considered newsworthy then but would be unremarkable now:

300 sheep and 80 cattle had to be shipped off the Isle of Lundy because of a shortage of water on the island.
Free bottles of water were delivered to thousands of homes by Welsh Water after tapwater from the reservoir at Llandegfed turned green.
More that 17 million people were hit by hosepipe bans.
Swarms of ladybirds drove sunbathers of beaches in the west country. They even bit people in their search for moisture.
At London Zoo, rhinos Jos and Rosie had to have sun cream rubbed into their hides to stop them from burning.
Fire burned slowly beneath the surface of peat moors near Wensleydale, and five fire engines had to soak the ground to stop it spreading.
Radio weather forecasters got tired of saying the same thing every morning and wondered how they would fill the bulletin when the whole country was sun, sun, sun. Not so a TV forecaster, however, who said, “It’s not a bit boring for us, because records are tumbling right and left. This is sheer naked excitement for weathermen!”

Even this excitement will pall after a few decades of boring, boring summer sunshine.

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