A burning issue

Thank fuck I didn’t take the government’s advice and paint my house white last month when it was issuing warnings about the heatwave we were all going to die from.

Luckily I made it through the week of sun we had, thanks to our wonderful health care professionals, and I’d like to think that I was a good citizen – I drank plenty of fluids, stayed out of the midday sun and closed all south-facing curtains during the day.

Now, however, it seems that June’s heatwave was just a blip and that it’s set to be cool and wet for the next month or so.

Of course, the Met Office is getting some shit about this volte face after predicting a summer-long heatwave.

The Met Office also says temperatures have been around or above normal, and that the end of August might be better again.

It did indeed stress at the time of the summer forecast in April that the odds of a scorching summer were 65%. It explains that it coined the phrase “barbecue summer” to help journalists’ headlines.


It explains that it coined the phrase “barbecue summer” to help journalists’ headlines.


Since when has the Met Office been in the business of helping journalists coin headlines?

They seem quite capable of coming up with all manner of shit without any outside help and they’re paid very well to do it.

Tell you what, you meteorologist chappies, you stick to forecasting the weather and leave the hacks to write their own headlines, eh?

And talking of sun, sunbeds are back in the news again:

Previously, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessed sunbeds and sunlamps as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

But it now says their use is definitively “carcinogenic to humans”.

Campaigners believe the move, announced in the journal Lancet Oncology, will increase pressure for tighter industry regulation of sunbed use.

The new assessment puts sunbed use on a par with smoking or exposure to asbestos.

Now, no cancer is very much fun and my late mother-in-law suffered from skin cancer – but not fatally.

Her doctor said that it was probably caused by too much exposure to the sun when she was younger – she was a farmer’s daughter and spent many hours in the sun doing stuff that farmer’s daughters did in the years before sun lotion and sunscreens were invented.

Now, people still take risks with the sun but you’d have to be living in a fucking cave in the Scottish Highlands not to know that too much sun – like almost too much of anything – is bad for you and, if you go out in the sun for too long without protecting your skin, you might get sunburn and you might get skin cancer if you do this too often.

You could even die from it.

The same goes for sunbeds and sunlamps.

Moderation seems to be a good word to use here.

You know, that option of self-regulation people can exercise when they want to do something they enjoy or feel a need to do.

It’s an individual responsibility for your own welfare and possibly that of others around you and it’s often a good idea to know when enough is enough and when it’s time to desist from an activity that may have consequences.

Of course, people’s inability to moderate their own behaviour and face the consequences of their actions is all grist to the mill of those bodies which have fastened on to national governments and international authorities like leeches.

It would be far easier, far cheaper and far less repressive to warn people and then just let them get on with whichever activity they’re pursuing.

Of course, there’s always the danger that some people are going to ignore the warnings and carry on with possibly grave consequences, but that’s all part of exercising individual responsibilities and freedoms.

In short – give us the facts and then just leave us the fuck alone.