Monday, 15 July 2013

Oh, no! It's a London Heatwave!

Yes, it's true. Heatwaves actually happen in London. And when they do, Londoners go nuts. We are now in day 11 of our blisteringly hot, sunny summer. I should clarify that by "blisteringly hot" I mean temperatures in the mid 20s-low 30s (80-100 Fahrenheit). Arizona is still laughing in our faces, but it's really hot for here. So hot that I have compiled a list of extraordinary things that have happened in the last week and a half:

From nudity to firefighters - this post's a good one

1. London is naked. Every inch of pasty skin that can be exposed is. This pretty much happens anytime the sun comes out, but now, with the sun up and blazing every day from 6am until 9pm, it appears that many Londoners have forgotten where they have put their clothing. That pasty skin is now a sea of sunburnt red.

2. The trains are delayed because it's too hot. No one seems to be clear about what problems are actually caused by high temperatures, but whatever they are, they delay trains like a threat of snow.

3. It has been officially declared "too hot for ice cream." Excuse me? Not fair. I don't even really like ice cream so I definitely don't want it when it's cold and rainy. Unfortunately, mid-Sunday-afternoon-walk, my taller half and I popped into a Gelateria (that's all they sell: gelato). They were open for business and we thought, Oh, that would be nice. It's 32 degrees. We're hot. Gelato would be delicious, cooling and refreshing. So we walked in. Here is the conversation that followed:

Gelateria employee: Sorry, there's no ice cream. Only milkshakes.

Us: Sorry, what?

Gelatera employee: It's too hot for ice cream. It's all melted so we can only do milkshakes.

Us: Oh...(backing out of the shop with confused looks)...right, of course ("of course"? Did we just agree with this nonsense?)...bye...

So, yes, it is officially too hot for that ultimate hot-weather treat. Ice cream freezers in London can only keep ice cream frozen when it is already cold outside. It is too hot for ice cream.

4. Desperation has set in. On the way home from the ice cream debacle, we saw a woman sunbathing by lying halfway out her second story window. She had a couch cushion balanced on the the windowsill and her entire lower half was outside the building, suspended in mid air. Due to item number 1, she was, naturally, in as little clothing as is legal. Oh, how I wished for a camera so that I could share it with you. Unfortunately, I'm rocking a mobile phone that probably shouldn't have been allowed into this century, never mind have the capability to take a photo.

5. Things have begun to spontaneously combust. Truly. I kid you not. One evening last week, my taller half noted that someone must be barbequing. I said, Yeah, smells good.

A minute later he called me into the living room, saying, It's not a barbeque. It's a fire!

Indeed, the little shop in our neighborhood had smoke pouring out of its sign. Soon there were three firetrucks, a dozen firefighters and every neighbour in a tri-block area in the middle of the street. The firefighters sprayed water for ages from both below and above the sign - which seemed ill-advised given that it's an electric sign, but they probably don't need any advice from a writer who has been known to set oven mitts alight.

Eventually, they tore down the sign and got the fire under control. Fortunately, it didn't spread to the shop or the flat above. It was just too hot for the sign.

Two things we learned from this incident: London heatwaves make things spontaneously combust and I should never be asked how barbequed food smells, because I think melting plastic and burning plywood from an electrical fire smells delicious.

With temperatures predicted around 30C for the foreseeable future, god only knows what we can expect next.

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