Hot a weekend it was

PUBLISHED: 09:35 12 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010

They packed out the pubs, they fired up the barbecues, they got burnt in the unbroken sunshine.

And they even cheered as England managed a victory in their opening game of the World Cup.

They packed out the pubs, they fired up the barbecues, they got burnt in the unbroken sunshine.

And they even cheered as England managed a victory in their opening game of the World Cup.

It might not have been the match that fans fantasised about, but there could not have been a better day for it - and the fine weather is set to continue.

Sales of beer, barbecues and burgers have rocketed, and over the weekend there was barely a street in Norfolk that did not catch a whiff of charcoal and burning sausages.

For a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon the roads were almost deserted as people watched the match - in pubs, church halls, sports grounds and at home.

One of the many busy pubs on Saturday was the New Inn in King's Lynn, where landlord Mark Wenn has even turfed over the carpet in one of his bars to create a football pitch, complete with white lines and a penalty box.

Mr Wenn said: "It was an absolutely fantastic atmosphere. The bar was rammed, you couldn't move. We had 100 to 120 people here and you couldn't have got any more in."

The grass was a popular attraction with fans, who even performed "Klinsmann rolls" on it - a reference to the former Tottenham striker's diving style. But despite the wear and tear it is still looking as good as new - Mr Wenn brushes and waters it each night and plans to keep it for as long as England stay in the tournament.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said that despite some drunken behaviour, the World Cup weekend passed off peacefully.

"There were people out there who had too much to drink and misbehaved as a result," he said. "But you can't necessarily attribute it directly to the football because it happened later in the evening.

"It stretched us a little bit because we had incidents all over the place, but in general terms people were reasonably well behaved."

The attractions that coincided with the football did suffer from the competition. There were lower than usual numbers at the opening day of the East Anglia Transport Museum's steam and vintage weekend in Lowestoft, although things picked up again yesterday. At Whitlingham Broad, just outside Norwich, there were not the usual crowds enjoying watersports.

But at least those that tore themselves away from the football were able to enjoy perfect weather.

Weybourne on the Norfolk coast was the hottest place in England yesterday, reaching 82F (28C) at midday, with temperatures of 81F (27C) in the rest of the county on both days of the weekend.

Jim Bacon, from the UEA-based Weatherquest, said: "It has been pretty good. If you got a weekend in the garden or the seaside you will be well pleased. It is good for watching the football outside, you have just got to make sure you have got the old sunscreen slapped on. There will be a lot of people feeling pretty red today I think."

Today is set to continue hot and sunny, with a possibility of thundery showers later. Tomorrow will be cloudier before the fine weather returns for the rest of the week.

Bookmaker William Hill has cut the odds on June having the hottest day of the year from 1/1 to 8/11.

They are also offering 8/1 that temperatures will exceed 100F in 2006 and 12/1 that the all-time UK record of 101.3F will be beaten in 2006.

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