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The temperature’s rising...

Comment
By Mike Gaunt


I have, perhaps, mentioned that ‘she who must be obeyed’ and I are set to operate on different thermostats. It is well-known that in offices male and female employees seem to require different temperature regulation, but in our house recently this has been taken to new, somewhat ludicrous heights.

Picture the scene: A warm, balmy summer’s day has been and gone. Daily temperature was into the thirties, with humidity around 60 per cent. Evening fell and evening repast was enjoyed, with a little televisual distraction to follow. The temperature was pleasant, even a little warm. Bedtime lurked just around the corner and a final cup of Horlicks was slurped. Pyjamas were donned and doors secured, as the night-time rituals were followed. As we climbed into our respective sides of the bed, ‘she who must be obeyed’ flicked the switch on her half of the electric blanket, just as I touched the remote control for the air conditioner.

And there you have it. The absurdity of the male-female thermostatic difference. I am lying in bed, with a single layer of Egyptian cotton over me, an air conditioner assisting with the cooling of a warm, still humid evening. Not more than thirty centimetres away, in the same room, lies a swaddled figure, wrapped in duvet, with the electric blanket supplementing body warmth.

If proof were needed that the sexes are different in their temperature regulation, here it was. Eric, the dog, who took to sleeping on the bed as a duck takes to water, is clearly a confused hound, as he has warmth under him from the electric blanket and a cooling breeze wafting his fur hither and yon from above.

We all cope with heat differently, I suppose. The recent heatwave in Britain and other parts of traditionally cooler northern Europe has clearly caught many on the back foot. Advice was given to ‘stay indoors’ and ‘keep windows and curtains closed’. There was the somewhat perplexing circumstance of many bodies being unable to cope with the temperature but these same bodies planning to travel to areas of high temperature where they would be daubed with factor 50 and basted for hours each day.

There have been stories of train lines buckling in the furnace heat, of infrastructures failing to cope. It’s the same in the winter, for goodness’ sake, but with a bewildering inability to handle the cold. I cannot work out how so many countries plod on, with airports running in the snow and ice, with train lines demonstrably running in the heat, but little Britain seems to fall apart when the mercury varies even slightly from the norm. It is baffling, isn’t it, that countries such as Russia and Canada manage to keep airports going in sub-zero conditions. Bahrain’s systems don’t all fall apart because it is rather too hot. Britain and Britons seem to love talking about the weather, but cannot actually cope with it.

I don’t know, maybe the climate is changing and the extremes are getting worse. The temperature here is due to be mid-forties tomorrow! I think even ‘she who must be obeyed’ won’t need the electric blanket.

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