Always moaning, come rain or shine

We never seem to have much luck with the weather here in Britain and, over the years, I've turned into something of a meteorological moaner. Come rain or shine, I'm never happy or satisfied - indeed the recent heatwave left me positively fuming.

We never seem to have much luck with the weather here in Britain and, over the years, I've turned into something of a meteorological moaner. Come rain or shine, I'm never happy or satisfied - indeed the recent heatwave left me positively fuming.

What made me feel hotter under the collar than ever was that the sweltering spell coincided almost exactly with the beginning of my new career as a humble home-worker.

Having left the modern, air-conditioned comfort of the EDP newsroom behind, I've been tap-tapping away on the computer in solitude in my stuffy home-office here at Bullock Towers.

Despite keeping windows open day and night, and stripping down to thin cotton shorts and T-shirts (calm down, ladies, calm down), work has still proved a real challenge as the inside temperature has hovered unforgivingly around 30C during the height of the heat.

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Fortunately, my biggest and oldest fan - a three-speed oscillator - has stood dutifully beside me throughout the stickiest days.

Looking down from my office window on to the drought-scarred grounds of Bullock Towers, I can see the sun-lounger and parasol beckoning to me like sirens to a seafarer.

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"Come top up your tan. Switch off that blessed computer and relax a while," they whisper, an invitation I resisted until one roasting afternoon when I discovered that some offices around the UK were shutting up shop because of the extreme heat.

"If you can't beat them, join them!" I decided, switching on the answering machine and grabbing my suncream.

During the muggiest nights, Trudi - one of our furry minia-ture schnauzers and a proper little hot-dog - has insisted on either sprawling out beside me in bed or curling up in a warm, pulsating ball against my shoulder. Not liking to disturb the poor creature's slumbers (I know my place), I've taken to lying on the hard wooden edge of the bed to make space for her.

And just to compound the family's general discomfort lately, the air-conditioning on the Bullockmobile - our less than reliable Peugeot 307 Estate - has failed three times since the spring and was annoyingly out of action during the majority of the heatwave.

Determined not to pay further hefty garage bills, I entered into a prolonged wrangle with Peugeot while we were all obliged to sweat it out.

"Look, here's the old-fashioned way of cooling a car down. This is what my father and his father before him did in the days when cars had no air-conditioning," I informed young Gregory as we wound down all the windows and created a bizarre in-car cyclone of comics, empty crisp packets and sweet wrappers.

Not only did our cheapskate form of climate-control make for horrendously noisy and chaotic journeys, but I arrived at our destinations flustered, peppered with dead insects and looking like Ken Dodd on a bad hair day.

The recent heatwave has been reminiscent of the scorching summer of 1963, when I was born at Cromer Hospital and the town made national headlines as the temperature soared to 90F.

Another extraordinarily hot spell was the summer of 1976. As a 13-year-old boy in flapping flares, tank-tops and hefty platforms, it was jolly hard to either look cool or stay cool.

According to climate scientists, the weather is likely to get hotter in years to come - a prediction that fills me with dread.

I read in the EDP recently that holidaymakers are set to flock to East Anglia as the Mediterranean becomes too hot to bear. From the 2020s, the Med is expected to be stifling in summer while northern Europe will be just the right temperature for sunseekers.

By then, of course, Bullock Towers will either have its own air-conditioning system or I will have invested in an extra fan.

It's been fresher and wetter this week - thank goodness. And, glancing back through my past EDP columns, I notice that things were far from sunny in the midst of 2000.

As I sat writing a column during that particular summer, there was another drenching downpour and I was bemoaning the fact that the weather had been awful for weeks.

Here were my words of wisdom from 2000: "Why, in the middle of July, have we been dodging the showers, keeping the central heating chugging away night after night, and never leaving home without taking a warming woolly?"

Central heating at night? Warming woollies? I think it's almost time for those again, folks.

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