It happens every year, yet the UK never seems ready for it: a heatwave.
In fairness, we don’t get many heatwaves around these parts. We go from cold and wet to blazing sunshine – frankly, who can blame us for overreacting? We have to cling to every drop of sunshine and heat while we can, storing the memories away for the long, cold months of winter.
Given that we usually get one or two good heatwaves a year, it’s inevitable we all have our traditions when they hit. There’s a few you can rely on from the country as a whole. We lose our collective minds when the sun is shining, but we do it in surprisingly repetitive ways…
#1 – Newspapers Will Proclaim The UK Is “Hotter Than” Various Hot Countries
It’s as if they don’t quite believe anyone can understand a temperature as a number; we have to “beat” hotter countries to truly comprehend how warm it is. It happens every time; UK is hotter than Spain, UK is hotter than Africa… etcetera etcetera.
What these forget to mention is that we’ll be back to the default grey and rainy while those “beaten” countries still enjoy their heat.
#2 – People Will Buy Desk Fans (Even Though They Don’t Work)
Here’s a fun fact: desk and pedestal fans actually make the room hotter. It’s been proven time and again. So why do we rely on them?
It’s probably because we don’t have a huge amount of option. Unlike most other major countries, the variable UK climate has meant very few people have made the leap and invested in home air conditioning. That means that we’re stuck with useless fans and being too hot to sleep for nights on end.
What’s more, there will usually be some kind of rush on desk fans, so if yours dies you’ll have to drive to 10 different stores before you can locate a replacement.
#3 – People Will Get Sunburned
We all know we should wear sunscreen, but… we don’t. Or we do, but we don’t remember that we have to reapply it every four hours, so it fades and we’re left unprotected. Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time for another application.
#4 – Everyone Will Have Barbecues
What is the scent of the British summer? Is it the sweet fragrance of flowering honeysuckle, the chemical acridity of sunscreen?
Nope: it’s the smell of your neighbours having a barbecue the moment the temperature tips over 15C. Barbecues signal the start of the British summer unlike anything else. Not only will the smell be overpowering on a warm evening, but it’s impossible to enter a supermarket without “BBQ!” and “outdoor party season!” being screamed at you from every possible corner.