We are well into the season now where we are supposed to make up how hot the temperature is. You know the sort of thing. “We’ve just got back from Ibiza. It was 47c every day.” “Santorini was amazing. It got over 50c on a few of the days.” To which I always want to rely, no it fucking wasn’t.
It shouldn’t bug me, I know, but it does and I don’t know why. When I see a Facebook post boasting of record temperatures, my inclination is to see what the actual temperature was on that day. There are countless excellent websites which faithfully record the actual temperature rather than what people think, or would like to think, it is. I just wonder why people feel the need to exaggerate?
When my old acquaintance said he’d enjoyed lying on a sun bed on 47c degrees of sunshine, by which we mean the shade temperature, I suggested mildly that if the weather had really been 47c, he’d have barely left the hotel. In the late 1980s, I was in Greece in the middle of a heatwave. It was absolutely desperate. The temperature rarely went below 38c (100f) and it was impossible to enjoy yourself. For most of the time, you couldn’t lie in the sun and you certainly couldn’t walk about in it.
We’re enjoying – or is it enduring? – 32c at the moment and I find myself wishing it was a few degrees cooler. 28 or 29c is usually as hot as I want it, anything in the low thirties and it begins to get uncomfortable. The reality is that high forties celcius is up near Death Valley levels and you would not want to spend a fortnight in Death Valley.
Living as we do in a maritime climate, a good summer’s day can be somewhere near the low to mid twenties celsius and that’s just fine. Perhaps we are so unused to warm weather than when it becomes very warm, even hot, we can’t quite believe it’s “only” about 24c. It just has to be hotter than that, doesn’t it?
None of this matters, of course. If folk want to exaggerate how warm it is, it’s up to them. I just don’t know why they do.