Thursday, July 20, 2006

ah to be English during a heat wave

Britain is in the midst of another hot summer.
Yesterday was the hottest recorded July temprature in British history at 36.3C.
In England last year at this time, I can attest to how un-prepared the British people are for such extreme heat.

You see lots of fans, huddled masses under shady trees, and are treated to the older generation remembering what a drizzy rainy summer day used to be like.

Growing up in Texas, I thought I'd be well adjusted to the heat and high tempratures, and for the most part I do ok.
(Not including the smell of many, many sweaty bodies on the tube during rush hour, or the British Museum's air conditioning breaking down).

Here are some of the news-worthy bits I've picked up regarding the heat wave-
I am particularly fond of the cows, and that blossoming flowers make the Brit news wire.

· London bus drivers were threatened with the sack for wearing shorts, despite on-board temperatures exceeding 50C. The Speaker in the Commons, Michael Martin, was more lenient, relaxing the dress code to let reporters in the press gallery remove their jackets.

· Train lines buckled in Birmingham, where temperatures topped 36C, causing severe delays. In the West Midlands and Staffordshire gritters were called in after road surfaces melted.

· Scores of schools closed early including 10 in central London, four in Merseyside and two in Birmingham. Hundreds of schools cancelled sports day amid fears for children's health.

· A jogger was hospitalised after a stampeding herd of cows in Dorset, thought to have been irritated by a heat-induced increase in flies, charged him. Tempers were wisely cooled in Colchester zoo, however, where lions were given blocks of ice, flavoured with blood.

· Large areas of the Peak District national park in Derbyshire were closed to the public amid fears that fires could be sparked in dry woodland.

· One of Britain's biggest ever heath fires, which began on Thursley Common, Surrey, on Friday, continued to burn. Hot, dry conditions had impeded efforts to quell the blaze, which has destroyed 370 acres of heathland.

· Gardener, Marilyn Jamieson, 71, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, reported that her primroses - which normally blossom only in spring - had flowered for a second time.

· The National Grid asked suppliers to increase electricity supplies following a surge in demand from air conditioning systems.

· In Cambridgeshire, members of the Spartan Rescue service distributed 400 litres of water to stranded drivers after an accident on the A14 by weaving through traffic on quad bikes.

They are due for some relief today-rain is in the forecast!


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