I live one mile from the cooling North Sea, as the gulls – currently bringing up their young between my uppermost chimney pots – fly. My part of the North East is not prone to the absurdly high temperatures suffered by some of the rest of the UK, and southern England in particular. What a blessing!

Rarely does the thermometer reach 80F, but on Saturday 17 July 2021, the mercury rose to 83F outside our back door. Not ridiculously high, but unusually so for this coastal corner of the country.

Over the years, I have spent hours in the cricket outfield in such heat, and even cycling through the midsummer of Southern France at the height of the day (when all French people are cloistered behind their shuttered windows for a long lunch and une sieste), with nothing more than a good sweat on, and, in fact, actually enjoying a warm and happy glow, with distant memories of sleet blowing off the North Sea to help me smile.

On this Saturday I found that it was too hot for me to be outside. My head and body were going into a personal lockdown. This is unheard of. I rechecked the temperature and yes, it was a few degrees over 80F. So what? Have I suddenly become less tolerant of heat? Has my 71 year old metabolism taken umbrage at being subjected to an excess of heat? I feel fine in every way, not unduly tired or lethargic, and today, as I write this 6 days after the event, I have completed a 14 miles’ circular cycle ride in the mid 70sF, with no ill effects other than an instant craving to neck a 0% alcohol beer upon returning home. I did….

It is unlikely that we will see the mercury rise above 80 again this summer, but I shall be watching and waiting to see if I experience any bodily reaction to this. I’m interested to see if any readers of my age have suddenly found a similar situation in respect of their own tolerance levels.

We have family in Malaysia whom we have been unable to visit due to the Covid situation, and, as they live a constantly air-conditioned life as a result of the outside temperature rarely dropping below 80F, I look forward with some trepidation to a potential visit, as I don’t want to fly all that way only to end up sitting in their apartment for a fortnight.

Mine’s a pint of something cool….


We have seen and experienced temperatures in this country, higher than ever before. The thermometer in the shade outside our back door registered 38C one day, with similarly high temperatures for days on end. My constitution did not respon, and when the cooler weather eventually came, it was a rare blessing. Never will I complain about the North East climate again!! And the Malaysian Barnes are now back in the UK, basking in our now temperate climate, and loving every minute.