Level 3 Action and Tinderbox Britain
This is worth writing if only as a reminder to be read again in August when Prof Stephen Belcher's calculations come true and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation restores our weather to its now familiar wetness. He is from the Met Office and is "excited about this work, it's a new thing that we didn't really know about." I will then be able to cast my mind back a few weeks and soak up the memory of the lovely July we should never have had.
This afternoon the thermometer of my van said 32 degrees. In town it was some three degrees warmer. Nice! We have reached Watch Level 3 – Heatwave Action – or in my case inaction, slumped on the sofa with elderflower champagne, watching Chris Froome winning the 100th Tour de France. Sandra made this champagne from flowers she picked up the lane and I can vouch it's as good as the French. As a matter of fact, this week, I have cycled the equivalent of a whole stage of the Tour, and not a time-trial stage either. However, I haven't cycled between the hours of 1.00pm and 4.30pm because that's when it's on TV. I will be glad when it's over and I can get back to normal life (I watched Wimbledon as well).
Of course I am in favour of warnings for children not to swim in reservoirs (those that still contain water) and checking that elderly neighbours are ok. I hope firefighters are not put at risk when the 'tinderbox' (not my phrase) ignites in forests and moorlands. On the whole though, I take the view that it's better not to talk about it too much; the same principle by which a hill is easier to cycle up when you think about something else (this really works).
(I am referring to the weather only for the sake of posterity) One thing I have not yet heard mentioned is hose pipe bans. Some reservoirs are looking pretty empty so it can't be far off, despite 2012 being the wettest in the UK for 100 years. I am hoping Prof Stephen Belcher is wrong and that we don't have to wait another ten years before Atlantic cooling and "the contrast of the warm and the cold sits in the right place, kind of steering the jet stream" into its correct position. Right now the jet stream is fine and I like cycling in warm weather. On the right terrain the breeze as you move along is a good way to keep cool.
So is shade.