In the UK, weather is still the hot topic

By Chris Peterson | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-06-27 17:41

As the whole world knows, Britons' two favorite conversation topics are the weather and football-soccer that is, not the American version.

But with the summer break there's not much to say about soccer, so thoughts naturally turn to weather, and boy, it is hot.

Naturally, the newspapers can't agree on whether it is the hottest in 20 years or 40 years-all I can tell you is I took great pleasure in telling my youngest, who lives and works in Dakar, Senegal, that on one day earlier this month London was officially hotter than Dakar.

We don't have air conditioning in our homes though, a fact I lamented trying to get some desperately needed sleep on a night last week where temperatures hit 31.5 C.

Trust me, for us Brits, that's hot.

In the UK, weather is still the hot topic

Chris Peterson 

Getting into the car in the morning is like climbing into a sauna, and of course, it's the day that the usually reliable BMW aircon unit failed to kick in.

There are certain rites of passage in the traditional media that have to be observed. For the serious broadsheets, it's the obligatory picture of civil servants relaxing on deck chairs in St. James's Park.

For the tabloids, it's a front page picture of the latest starlet wearing very little clothing, and headlines inevitably center around the words "sizzling" or "scorcher".

The Times (London) last week carried a half-page picture of three matrons of a certain age and size trudging up the beach after their seasonal dip in the water.

I can virtually guarantee that at least one newspaper will carry a picture of a wild bird soaking itself in a birdbath, or a picture of a tiger swimming in its enclosure at London Zoo.

I had a delightful few minutes explaining to a Chinese colleague why it was so dramatic that authorities running Royal Ascot, the five-day horse-racing meeting under the Queen's patronage, had announced it would be okay for gentlemen to remove their jackets. Attendance at Ascot requires top hat and tailcoats for men in the Royal Enclosure, and lounge suits for others.

I detected a look of astonishment on her face-perhaps she was still reeling from her exposure to Britain's sun culture in an east London park at the weekend where men, who we shall perhaps kindly say wouldn't make it to the Mr. Universe competition, felt the need to strip off tops and T-shirts.

Not, I grant you, a particularly edifying sight.

Of course, there's always some attention seeker who will try and fry an egg on the hood of his car-rarely successful.

My favorite story, and one that is true, is that a few years back, the owners of a walkie-talkie shaped office building were forced to pay compensation to the owners of luxury cars parked below because reflected sunlight from the angled glass buildings had melted the dashboards of the cars parked below.

They also had to put protective tinted shielding on the windows.

So the message is, enjoy it while you can-and inevitably it will end in thunderstorms and torrential rain.

It always does.

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