Enjoying the sun without “nanny” interfering

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Blackpool Tower

Will more people plump for staycations? Blackpool Tower plus the pleasure beach

Since June, there has been a run of sunny weather with only a little drop of rain where I live. Apart from rain forecast this weekend it will be getting hotter again next week so the summer is proving a boon for seaside resorts, attractions and day trips. But there are wowsers – a good old Australian word meaning a spoilsports – who see a month of sunshine and immediately prophecy the end of the world is nigh.

Maybe I exaggerate but it is hard not to dismiss as fusspots the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee who have said that the heatwave we are currently enjoying – and most of us are – could be the new norm and it could result in 7,000 heat related deaths every year by the by 2050. They even want a minister to be appointed but do we really need a minister for sun cream, sunglasses and floppy hats?

The committee says something must be done  and no wonder, that’s what politicians do – they specialise in interference.

How about we place a parasol around the sun to stop the rays hitting us in summer or that we use the space station to engineer a giant fan to waft cooling breezes when the temperature gets above a certain temperature. Both are impractical although I am sure there is a scientific expert somewhere who is saying that maybe the idea is not so daft after all! Should every new home be fitted with air conditioning to use up energy resources even more? And all because we occasionally get heat waves.

Bournemouth beach

Bournemouth will one of the most popular beach resorts

I remember 1976 and 2003 when all sorts of strife was forecast yet in forty years, I can only remember this is the third time when a heatwave was so widespread.

One of the most popular characters in the television series, Dad’s Army, was the undertaker – Private Frazer  – who was forever telling us that we were doomed    The series ran during the Great Heatwave of ‘76 and now his catchphrase seems to be the byword of the committee.

Yes high temperatures can be dangerous just as low ones. But we need the vitamin dose that exposure to an amount of sunlight can give. It also makes people feel more comfortable with life.

Why should the committee say that the government must act to protect people? People can decide –and should decide – for themselves. Would the government ban us from travelling to popular places like Malaga Tenerife, Barbados, the Balearics and Greece merely because temperatures in summer in those places are generally about the same as we are experiencing now? Of course not so why should they interfere at home?

Southend will be a lot busier than when this shot was taken

Given that our main holidays tend to be taken in summer and that the most popular destinations are in hot climates like Spain and Portugal rather than Norway, Iceland or Sweden you would think that many of us are able to cope with the heat. That we even travel to the Caribbean and Mexico in our summer in such large numbers is testament to the fact that many of us want the sun. North Americans use the Caribbean as a winter sun destination, it is largely Britons that visit out of season that is in summertime. Some Brits are even holidaying in Oman, Ras al-Khaimah, Dubai, Eilat and the Red Sea resorts where it even hotter.

The sunny weather will do wonders for our seaside resorts. Attractions will have more visitors, restaurants will have more diners and outdoor events like the Royal Welsh Show – the biggest agricultural attraction in Europe and which is on this week – will see more attendees. It will be a shot in the arm for parts of our economy even if clothing retailers may not see a lot of business during this spell unless they are selling shorts, t-shirts or bathing costumes.

as will be Scarborough

Yes associated problems with a long run of high temperatures can occur and I remember the ’76 heatwave didn’t really break until the government of the day appointed Denis Howell as minister for drought. Then the heavens opened. There may be water shortages in some places but better pipe maintenance and the stopping of leakages might help. Will standpipes be needed as they were in 1976? It is too early to tell but after the dry patch in 1976, it didn’t take months and months then for the dams to re-fill as experts said it would. It was a comparatively short time.

The experts were wrong then and they are wrong to suggest interfering in people’s enjoyment this summer by such doomladen forecasts. What it may do is reinforce in  people’s minds the continual doubt we have as to politicians.

Let’s just sit back and – mindful of problems that too much sun on our bodies can bring – make the most of it because we probably won’t get such a wonderful summer again for a few years.

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