Amidst gnashing of teeth…

By | Category: Travel news
Margate - beach with donkeys

anyone for a donkey ride on the beach at Margate this week?

The Met Office – that reliable provider of weather information – has issued an amber alert until 09.00 on Friday for much the south east and east of England.

As the announcement was made yesterday, the temperature was already climbing so that Monday gave us the hottest day of the year at Santon Downham in Suffolk where it was 33.3 degrees. It wouldn’t surprise the Met Office if, before the week was out, somewhere achieved 35 or above. It is still a little way to go to beat the 38.5 that it reached in the Kent town of Faversham fifteen years ago.

In addition to the amber warning (which is issued when the temperature is likely to be above 30 for two consecutive days) the Met Office also advised us to stay out of the sun between 11.00 and 15.00 hours. Why this time? Because the sun is at its strongest even though temperatures sometimes stay at high temperatures for another hour or so.

But if we keep out of the sun during those hours, tourist officers may get aggrieved. Remember the furore from Bournemouth’s tourist officials nine years ago when the Met office said that it wouldn’t be such a great weekend and people stayed away from the beaches. The then tourist official, Mark Smith was reported as saying that they were considering suing the Met Office for loss of trade since the weather turned out to be pleasant and contrary to the forecast of thundery showers on the bank holiday in question.

Will people heading to any coastal resorts stretching from Bournemouth through Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Margate, Southend, Clacton,  Great Yarmouth to Skegness and Cleethorpes (the coastal area roughly covered by the amber warning) heed the warnings?

Tourist officers will be hoping not because four hours away from the beaches and the open-air attractions will hurt business. They won’t say so; they can’t say so because the amber warning is a health warning. But privately a few muttered underneath their breath when I spoke to a random selection yesterday that they would have preferred for no such warning to be given and certainly not to have been one of the main stories on the evening news bulletins last night!

But as Noel Coward told us that mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun and those tourist officials will be hoping (privately and very quietly) that we continue to do just that.

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