It’s July. Traditionally this is a time when the sun shines, the temperature rises and after having just spent the previous 48 weeks complaining that it’s too cold and wet, we instead complain that it’s too hot. Personally speaking i’ve been well prepared for this type of weather condition and have developed a whole load of common sense coping mechanisms over the years after learning the hard way why I shouldn’t lay out in the sun for hours without wearing sun block. Also when the weather gets cold I put a jumper and the heating on and when it gets wet I wear a waterproof coat. When there is lightning I tend not to stand in large open spaces holding metallic objects and when it snows I go out for a drive in my car just to be disobedient. However there are a great many numptys among us that haven’t been bestowed with the same amount of common sense that I’ve been blessed with so for them help arrives via the nanny state, the bbc and the ministry for stating the bleedin obvious. Or the met office as they’re also known. Nature has a way of allowing only the more intelligent of species to flourish and evolve while the less able and least adaptable die out. Having said that, it must annoy the hell out of mother nature that humans have found a way to bypass the whole evolution process and have developed a system where the more stupid you are the more the more likely you are to be looked after and cared for. For example, as an extremely fair skinned kid with ginger tendencies, it was observed by my parents that there was a strong possibility that if I was exposed to sunlight for more than about a minute the chances were that I would end up with sunburn or spontaneously combust. Even these days it is still best practise for me to sunbathe in a coned off area whilst wearing a hi visibility vest to warn fellow sun worshipers of the danger I represent. Knowing how useless at tanning I am allowed us to adapt successfully to the scorching summers we had in the 70’s where sometimes it wouldn’t rain for literally hours, and I’d go out to play with my friends in full length clothing and a hat to protect me from the elements. However What long sleeve shirts, trousers and a panama hat failed to protect me from was the ridicule of my friends, who’s laughter and ridicule were ultimately more painful than the sunburn I’d probably rather have had in the first place. Nowadays though what happens is that people who haven’t had the benefit of growing up with a sensible parent or two or haven’t bothered to develop a single jot of common sense, can rely on the rest of society to devolve down to their level so as to make them feel included and not unhappy.
As I got older and reached the age when I should have known better, had I of returned home with sunburn my mum would simply call me an “eejit” which for those not in the know is the Irish word for ” you should have listened to your mum you idiot”. But it seems that these days it’s all a bit different. For the last week or two we have had some of the BBCs most stern faced newsreaders and weather people taking on the parental role by giving us some glum expressions while telling us that the “heat wave shows no sign of abating” and offering us advice on how to survive it. Last nights national flagship news at ten broadcast showed images of an elderly bedridden man in a care home being given an ace lolly to help him feel cool. The poor old chap featured in this “news” item had a vacant stare about him and looked as confused as hell when a news crew arrived in his bedroom to film his lunch being given to him and the look on the poor old fellas face was actually quite disturbing when he realised that far from getting his usual hot meal all he was getting was a rocket ice lolly. On a paper plate. The (lack of) care worker providing him with this joke of a meal looked delighted to be on the telly and no doubt will have it recorded for all time but are we really a country where rather than having care homes with air conditioning we thank old people for winning the war for us by taking away their meals and giving them flavoured frozen water on a stick? The journalist who’s article this was then took to a helicopter to fly over the shore line of Hastings in order to provide a birds eye view of what a beach looks like and to show some parents standing ankle deep in the English Channel while he told us about the perils of the sea. Then we had a story where we were told that local hospitals were being inundated with a 10 fold increase in sunburn cases in the last month. This I would suggest is largely down to the fact that last month it was so wet that the chances of getting sunburn were about the same as the chances of an uninterrupted flight on a Boeing Dreamliner. Also, I’d be too ashamed of myself to have to go to the emergency room for sunburn treatment. It’s a bit like going to hospital for treatment for a hangover or bad haircut. Although talking of ashamed, step forward the latest contestant for the title of Britain’s most useless parent whose 4 week old baby was admitted to hospital suffering from extreme sunburn after having spent four hours on the beach and leaving the child laying there without adequate protection.
And it’s precisely because this country seems to be jam packed with utter fucknuggets that some people need to be repeatedly told some of the most basic survival skills to get through some of life’s most gentle of challenges. Last night the news presenter Huw Edwards found it necessary to advise us that in order to avoid over heating we should stay indoors, keep the windows shut and drink plenty of fluids. During the 1980’s we were constantly under the threat of a full scale nuclear attack from the Russians and the advice given then was to stay indoors, keep the windows shut and drink plenty of fluids proving that the best way to avoid any kind of injury, accident or bad fortune is exactly the same whether it’s surviving a full scale thermonuclear attack or just a nasty bee sting. Why don’t we all just go one step further and stay in bed all day?. It’s also the tone of the advice that we are given that annoys me. When we’re not being treated like idiots we’re being told that should we step outside for too long the possibilities of certain death become probabilities instead and the met office give us these heatwave warnings graded from 1-4 in the following way:
Level 1) Go outside and stop being a wimp. Although try not to die
Level 2) It’s going to be warm but you should be alright. Just avoid doing anything dangerous like crossing the road or breathing out for too long.
Level 3) Bugger me it’s hot. We don’t recommend you go out but if you absolutely need to, make sure you say some prayers and make the sign of the cross first.
Level 4) You will die.
So here’s my advice instead. This is England. Normal service will soon resume and the weather will go back to being grey, cool and boring so take yourself out and enjoy it. I don’t give a single damn if you wear sunblock or not but I will insist at laughing at you if you burn or go out wearing a silly hat.Get out of the house and go to our wonderful parks, forests and lakes to chill out and relax and have a well earned break and make sure you take plenty of beers with you. Also take as many family members as possible and if you need to,take a ball or a bat and play some games and make some memories. Take lots of pictures to remember the occasion by and if you feel like it share them on Facebook so that in September when river levels return to their usual flood level status you can remind yourselves of the great summer we had. Take some music with you too.There are some songs that cry out to be played on hot days, songs like Don Henley’s ‘Boys of summer’ and Bryan Adams ‘ Summer of 69’. Enjoy the splendour of a summertime and make the most of it. Lay down in the sun and close your eyes while you feel the heat of the sun warm your soul and I guarantee you’ll feel nothing but positive. So because nobody has ever had a fulfilling life by sitting indoors and avoiding danger, get yourself outdoors, stick two fingers up at the health and safety fanatics and enjoy it while it lasts and if you get stung by some wasps or end up slightly browner as a result of it then my message is a resounding good for you. And with that in mind I’m off to lay on the sofa for the day to watch the golf on one channel and the Aussies getting beaten in the ashes on the other.