Sunday 1 July 2018


I love that we now live in a country of shortages. Not at all embarrassing, no. There is a shortage of beer and various other things due to a shortage of CO2, and now there is a shortage of lettuce because of the heat. Even with the football this counts a slow news day. If however I were to have to choose between long sunny days approaching 30 degrees for weeks on end and going without lettuce for a bit, well.....

It's not hard is it? Bring on the sunshine. Normal english people melt and start moaning. Not me. I'm part californian, this is in my blood and I love it. I am up early to do the chores in the cool dawn hours, and then shorts and flip flops become the order of the day. I've watched no football, couldn't care less about it, and barely raised binoculars to my eyes. Watching the girls play cricket on Friday evening I picked out a Common Tern whilst drinking a soon to be scarce beer. This was a year tick but I didn't let it get to me, this was still June after all. My only other notable bird news came in the form of 16 Lapwing flopping over my house east at some point during last week. Failed breeders I suppose, either that or the parched fields have the consistency of concrete and feeding has become impossible. A rare June record here, but Waders are on the move I gather - I vaguely keep up with bird news still , and am sensing that for some of them autumn is beginning already.

Other than a brief foray to the Park to twitch a butterfly I've once again gone nowhere - exactly what hot summer days are designed for. Not for me shopping malls and traffic jams, you can keep all that. The garden holds plenty of interest. For instance I discovered that I have a leaf-cutter bee creating a den (nest?) underneath one of my plant pots. It's quite a handsome thing, and keeps returning with neatly chewed segment of leaf which it carries underneath its body in the manner of an Osprey with a fish. From my spot near the barbeque I can watch its comings and goings. I also discovered a massive ants nest in the compost bin, and gave the colony something to do when I inadvertently opened the lid to chuck in some clippings and scattered their developing progeny to the four winds. Sorry about that.

Rubbish photo but you get the idea. It could almost be surfing!

Tomorrow it is destined to be even hotter. The long range forecast suggests it just keeps going and going, smashing. My arid and tropical plants suffice it to say are loving it, and I'm fine with it too barring one small thing. My commute. There are no words to describe how grim the Central Line is at around seven in the evening. It has spend the who day heating up and reaches its peak just as I and the rest of the world need to get on it. It is so hot that it exceeds the temperatures where it is legal to transport livestock. The other day they actually started handing out bottles of water as people were getting on - I've never seen that, it must be bad. And of course with the heat come problems. Broken down trains, passengers collapsing, signal failures and who knows what else. Six minutes would be bearable, just - about the minimum I could spend on there if all were going well. Unfortunately it just crawls and shudders. You know that particular feeling when a bead of sweat slowly trickles down the small of your back? It rarely happens that I get so hot that I get it, but the Central Line wrings it out of me and there is nothing I can do. Suited up it is deeply unpleasant. Then again if I had to choose between a summer like this and dismal, wet and cold June and July, even with all the lettuce I could eat I'd be voting for exactly how it is now. Maybe the odd tropical downpour to save me watering, but that is all I would change.


  1. How do the masses do it Jono?

    Your commute to work reminds me of the film, 'Bridge Over the River Kwai'.

    Now you know what Sir Alex Guinness felt like in that box.

    1. I just read an article in the Independent Ric which said that conditions on the Central Line actually exceed those where it is legal to transport sheep and cattle - I just updated the post to mention this. So your Alec Guinness reference is very apt - not only is it crazy hot in there but we are also all crammed in. The masses solider on somehow, I guess we are all just being British about it, but it is really nasty. If my job allowed coming in really early and leaving early I'd jump at it, but unfortunately I need to be around during regular office hours.