We’re having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave, the temperature’s rising, it isn’t surprising … somehow, I think that, were Marilyn to be alive and high-kicking, even she would have looked at what England considers a heatwave, and have given a bit of a pout. It wasn’t a heatwave. It was quite hot. It was eat-ice-cream weather. It was a day for saying ‘Looks like the summer will soon be over’, which is the default position with the English (and I do mean the English). If it is hot, the news automatically switches to stats about how many elderly people drop dead. More than normal, apparently. The problem with this is that, if there is a flood, it shakes the fabric of civilisation, and the news automatically switches to stats about how many elderly people drop dead. How many? More than normal.
What, though, if it is cold. Yes, automatically switches to stats about how many elderly people drop dead when it is a bit shivery. In fact, the self-styled ‘extremes in temperature’ are so pathetic that they out-number the times of the year when everything is temperate, i.e. the weather is overcast, a bit, as a result of which the news automatically switches to stats about how many elderly people drop dead when it is normal.
The fetishisation of weather forecasts is a weird national characteristic. I mean, do we actually need to know what the weather will be doing? Do we need to have meteorological proof, for heaven’s sake? I propose that, for one calendar year, all weather bulletins be stopped. Completely. On the radio, on the television, on web-sites, on Twitter. Let’s just pack it in, and get used to the idea of a bit of a surprise. The Met Office (in Exeter) has certainly brought great employment to Exeter, and has in the process pushed up the price of my house. I am eternally – well, not eternally – grateful. But I think they need to be given a fifty-two week paid furlough. Yes, paid. As a taxpayer, I would fork out for there to be no news about what the next day held in store. And that’s largely because I know: same as usual. We do not have floods, snow, cold or heat in this country. Not really.
We have overflows, flurries, chills and slightly uncomfortable warmth. Plainly, we need to get out more. Or perhaps I mean, stay in.