Wednesday 25 July 2018

The Perils Of A Long Hot Summer


The Perils Of A Long Hot Summer

I'm a grandmother and can remember the last long hot summer in the UK. It was 1976. I was twenty and had not long moved to Wales after spending a year in Greece. All the summers of my childhood were long and hot, I can't remember a cold wet one before I moved to Wales. I grew up in Hertfordshire, in the East of England just north of London. It has warmer, dryer summers and colder winters than the west.

1976 was just another long hot summer as far as I was concerned. We had water shortages and a standpipe in the road. Water would be turned on for an hour or so each day and we would fill our saucepans and the kettle, flush the toilet and have a shower. Those were the days!

Fast forward forty two years and we have another long hot summer, of course Cardiff isn't as hot as London but it is as dry. The lawn is yellow, my garden is parched. The plants are dying, it's just not possible to water them enough to keep them going.

Us Brits can't cope with extremes of weather. Snow or heat grinds the country to a halt. We can talk about them, we definitely can moan about them, but cope? Not at all. Roads are melting and fires rage across our moorlands. Many deliberately started by arsonists that have no regard for other peoples lives or property.

My beloved Greece is suffering, at least eighty people died after fires raged through their town and villages. Only those that made it to the sea were safe. The stories on the news are breaking my heart, I can't imagine the fear and pain.
There is also mention that the fires may have been started by arsonists, people setting fire so they can loot the homes that would inevitably be abandoned. Eighty lives! Not even worth the loss of one life. Totally unbelievable.

So while the people of Greece mourn and others, especially the Japanese, suffer extreme heat, we can enjoy the summer. Days out can be planned and picnics taken without the risk of getting washed out.

This morning we ventured out to our local park that has a great playground. It was full of hot, happy children enjoying their first day of the school holidays.
Children could be heard laughing, or some screeching as their frazzled parents dragged them away from the playground to go home for lunch. I had taken a few treats to keep us all going until lunch and had put Bee onto a picnic rug. He was happily eating veggie sticks when I noticed he had a mark on the back of his hand, it looked like a puncture wound and his hand was red and swollen. Bee has multiple food allergies so our first thought was he was having an allergic reaction to some insect bite. Panic was trying to take over, but we both kept our cool and quickly packed everything away.

We made a hasty retreat and went to the nearest pharmacy whilst I was trying to recall all the first aid and baby resus that I had been taught. It was so scary, I wouldn't have worried if he didn't have allergies but we just didn't know how he would react.

The pharmacist was lovely and reassuring. I felt so much better even though we hadn't actually done anything. His hand lost the redness by the time we got home and after lunch and a nap the wound was almost gone too. His little, chubby hand was still a bit swollen but he was OK. If only we knew what bit him. There was nothing on the rug, no ants or spiders and Bee didn't seem bothered by it at all.

I love long hot summers, I am one of those that would not be upset if I never had another autumn or winter, but with the hot dry weather comes all sorts of perils. Stay safe in the heat.



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