It was 33 degrees on Wednesday. In London terms – that’s Armageddon.
I am now sitting in a pub, drinking a cold beer. This is the current status.
People are sitting here in shorts (with very white, skinny legs on show), wiping their brow and trying not to faint.
This is somehow even more amusing, because I was recently in Alicante, Spain, where the temperature rarely got below 30 degrees. The average bar was filled with at least as many Brits as this pub currently is, mixed in with few Germans and Russians.
You can tell the Brits a mile off. When the Brits turn up at the beach, they strip off their clothes with reckless abandon, and run towards the brightness. There is no thought to body grooming ahead of this plan. I mean – why bother to cut your toenails? Your feet have been in shoes for 10 months, and never seen the light of day, so I’m sure they look great.
And then they get confused. This sun thing – it’s hot. It burns. It’s all very confusing.
So they lie in the brightness all day, all the time refusing to acknowledge that the sun is very very hot, and burning them. They then stagger to the bar with 3rd degree burns.
Which beggars the question. Why then, as soon as it inches above 20 degrees in London – do they run back to the dark corners of the pub, like cockroaches?
I’ve worked it out. Brits like brightness – not hotness. They are all for sitting in the twilight until 10pm drinking their beer. No worry that it is only 10 degrees outside – that is not the point. Let There Be Light.
Put them in The Tube, with other people very close to them (God forbid), and a temperature where they may need to take their jacket off… well I’m sure you can imagine. It’s not pretty.
But with their stiff upper lip reserve, and their absolute commitment to being strong, and resolute, and showing no emotion whatsoever – I’m sure they’ll see it through.
They’re a tough bunch. They may be confused, disorientated by ‘the heat’ and without their bottle of water – but they will never let on. They will stagger to their pub, where the beer is good and their friends are waiting, engage in witty repartee, and regroup to face the world.