Opinion / Chris Peterson

Britons tire of Brexit, soccer, talk about the weather – with reason

By Chris Peterson in London ( Updated: 2016-09-14 22:54

It's what we call an Indian summer here in southern Britain – don't ask me why – so Britons have stopped moaning about Brexit and the lacklustre English soccer team.

We've just endured the hottest September day in 105 years, with Gravesend in Kent seeing temperatures hit 34.4 C. In London the heat was bouncing off the pavements and you could have fried the proverbial egg on the roof of a car.

Don't try that at home – a friend of mine did it once for a bet and ended up with a permanent mark on his paintwork and a persistent smell of rotten egg every time it rained. And it didn't cook, either.

With the high temperatures came the inevitable newspaper pictures of bikini-clad girls frolicking in the sea to cool off, and stolid middle-aged couples sitting in deckchairs, the men with their trousers rolled up and women perspiring in floral cotton frocks.

One thing about the British press, they do a mean cliché.

Other clichés, sadly true, also kick in.

London's long-suffered commuters, whose rail journeys seem doomed, whatever the season, were told variously that signal equipment had failed because of excessive heat, or, unbelievably, rails had buckled in the extreme temperatures.

In my case, for reasons known only to Southeastern Trains, the normal 10-carriage trains were cut to six coaches, resulting in passengers packed like sardines in searing temperatures with only minimal air conditioning.

I only survive by chanting to myself the mantra "I love my job, I love my job."

Oh, and here's a personal message for the man at Deptford Station who thought it a brilliant idea to try and bring TWO pedal cycles onto a crowded carriage. Don't.

So what's this weather nonsense all about?

Meteorologists at the London Weather Centre blame the activities on Hurricane Hermine which in early September blew up off the coast of Florida and to quote one Jacob Cope, pushed kinks into the jet stream, which usually provides the British Isles with a temperate climate, rarely given to extremes.

Net result is that seasonal temperatures have been forced up by 10 degrees C.

But don't worry, it won't last.

It's time to quote from one of my favorite books, the House at Pooh Corner, citing the immortal pessimist Eeyore the donkey.

"It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.

"So it is."

"And freezing."

"Is it?"

"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately."

He has a point. Although my relatives in the north may just beg to differ.

As those of us in the south have enjoyed bright sunshine and soaring temperatures, so our friends in the north have undergone torrential rain, thunderstorms and floods.

And just to prevent us southern residents from becoming too cocky, that lot may be heading our way soon.

And I'll bet in snows this winter too. Remember, you read it here first.

Chris Peterson is Managing Editor, Europe, for China Daily UK. Contact him on

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