Oh the last few weeks, months even have been annoyingly warm, even hot but this last week took the biscuit with scientific temperatures surpassing 40 degrees in London and quite a few other places in the U.K. though practicality, places like back garden were 47 degrees.
London is only fractionally under the temperature threshold for being classified as a Sub-Tropical city with some small neighbourhoods arguably attaining that status. One of my most popular posts ever is Busting the myth of London being a Rainy city and one look at any garden or park these days will show you just how straw like the lawns are.
Being a tour guide as others hide away or nominally work from home, I’m out on my feet for up to 14 hours a day not just walking but talking and energetically bounding up and down stairs often without any food or drink. Bad as that is, it is nothing compared to some of the infamously London Underground Lines, some of which have an average annual temperature of about 27 degrees Celsius, so you can imagine if it is 40 above ground, just how it is beneath it. Nothing says summer to me like that distinctive taste of the Central Line during warm weather.
Several of my tourists have quit mid-walk or cancelled before hand due to the hot weather. I find it is always people from supposedly hot places like Texas or Australia. I do my best and warn them and they find the idea that London might be too hot for them a little laughable but it turns out they only do hot weather if they are in air-conditioned surroundings in dry desert like heat, not walking around in our humid air. I’ve never ever had a tourist from Canada, Scandinavia or the U.K. even mention in passing the weather if it is approaching or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit whereas anything above about 90 degreesF/ 30C is getting into “I quit” territory for some visitors.
What I find worse about it all is the heat at night. My bedroom often doesn’t get under 25-27 degrees and after a few months of it never being near 20, it gets a bit much especially when you have asthma and related complications. In fact my old Georgian house with its low pitched slate roof tiles and small one window per room actually radiates heat overnight so much so it is actually often warmer at 5am than it is at 10 or 11pm when the sun finally goes down beneath the horizon.
I’ve been in temperatures over 50 degrees C / 130F in Egypt and Jordan during their heatwaves and it’s been much more comfortable than London at 25C / 80F a fact re-iterated to me as I was waiting for a bus at Harrow station when a man from Kuwait told me that in Kuwait, 40 degrees is good, 50 degrees is ok but in London 15 degrees is good, 20 degrees is good, 25 degrees is ok but 30 degrees is very, very no-no good. When I told him today was over 40 degrees he shrugged his shoulders and replied it is very, very, very no-no-no good good.
As it turned out Kuwait was one of only 2% of the world that was warmer than London that day (see map below) but I think we both would have preferred over there if only for reasons of comfort.
There is a saying that when two Englishmen meet, their talk is of the weather. Research indicates that on average, 94% of British talk about the weather at least every 6 hours and 38% of us have talked about the weather within the last hour. For once perhaps, it was quite understandable with such an impact it made on services and infrastructures. Londons fire brigade responded to more calls for fires than for any other day since WW2.
I’m not one who likes hot or even warm weather. If it could be about 10-15 degrees every day that would be fine by me. I don’t go and sit on sunny beaches or generally even go overseas. I’ve only sat in my garden once this summer and that was when it rained after a previous hot few days. I never complain about how cold it is and simply love the weather from around Halloween to Easter.
I remember reading and talking about Global Warming in the 1980s when I was giving my pocket money to save the seals in the North Sea and informing my mother she should be changing her hair-spray and similar products to stop acid rain and CFCs from destroying the Ozone Layer. What a shame that people back then didn’t listen to people like us, many still don’t. They’ve ruined the planet for nothing but money and convenience.