Britain has a heat-wave. To me, sunshine is fantastic news. I fill up a massive jug with water, apply lots of sun-screen and go outside to get the benefit of the glorious, health-giving rays. Eventually the sun moves round and no longer falls on my property so I move indoors. This evening, unlike most other evenings, I decided to put BBC News 24 on as background noise while I read, write, do my usual quiet activities.
This is not the hottest summer we’ve ever had. I was born at the peak of one hotter than this. That was in 1977 and people were rather warm but quite appreciative of a long, hot summer. I grew up through many (many) more of them. Every year I sat exams in blistering heat where we couldn’t open the windows because half of the pupils would collapse with dreaded hayfever and the other half would run out screaming because a wasp had flown in.
Summers didn’t really change, but once you get into the working world, you tend not to get as much time to notice. Sometimes, we’d have a year where we had a week of sun around Easter and then a fairly cool and rainy season to follow. The hot summers always returned.
For three years, we’ve had only cool, rainy summers and I’ve kept saying the sun will be back. Now that it is, though, it seems people have forgotten how to get on and enjoy a real summer. News 24 is telling me every half hour or so that a warning has been issued about the dangers of the hot weather. There have been, according to one health care worry-ward, high numbers of lost toes through people gardening in flip-flops.
This frightens me. Not because I may succumb to the heat. No. It frightens me because it has taken only three years for almost an entire nation to forget the sun exists and can get quite hot in this country. Has the nanny state really made people so reliant on the media to know what to do that they can’t remember to drink water, dress appropriately and maybe, I don’t know, open a window? Have people really become that stupid?
The news is creating a panic out of it just as they do with heavy (more than an inch) snowfall. Yes, it’s very warm. Nobody needs to cool down that desperately though that they need leap into rivers despite warning signs about undertow. Is it just that they really are too stupid to know any better? I wish I could believe the contrary.
In decades, centuries, millennia past, when the news reported news and didn’t dish out advice, people got on and dealt with the heat by means of drinking water, staying out of the sun, wearing wide-brimmed hats to keep the sun from making hard-boiled brain for breakfast and at the same time shielding eyes reducing, among other things, the risk of removing one’s own toes because one could bloody well see what one was doing.
I’d like to think that one day while I slept particularly deeply, aliens came and attacked Britain with a lobotomising beam leaving my fellow countrymen with the ability to do only what they were expressly told to do by the voices from the BBC. But what I’d like to think is seldom the case and once again that is true. People have just lost what little common sense they once had, it would seem.
Me? I’m enjoying it while it lasts, just like I’ve always done. This year I’ve discovered a sun-screen that actually works for me and my milk-white skin is now a healthy golden brown. My vitamin D levels are at an all time high because I’m not burning to a crisp when I step outside. But I’m also waiting to hear reports, after the hot weather has passed, of people suffering dehydration because no-one told them they had to drink water even when the skies are cloudy and grey. Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun? Well, so do I, an Englishwoman, but I take a bag of common sense with me, just to be on the safe side.
A few days ago I mentioned in a post that my dog had a lisp and that I clearly heard her speaking voice if she could talk. What I didn’t go into were the many amazing things she told me with that voice. (As you read this revelation, you must try to imagine the complete and unequivocal sincerity on my face.)
One of her gems of knowledge and wisdom was the revelation of the Interdimensional Cupboard of Thtuff. Some privileged dog owners and all dogs know about the ICTh. Only dogs are able to perceive and access it though.
The ICTh is the place where dogs find apparently random things to chew. Most dog people will have looked up at some point to see the dog chewing on something that has not been seen for years, be it a legitimately chewable item or a shoe you thought was lost. The explanation is quite simple. These things were either accidentally or, in the case of especially mischievous dogs, deliberately left in the ICTh.
Now announcements are soon to be made about developments in the search for the Higgs Bosun and only because of that pending information can I reveal to you that the Large Hadron Collider is in truth an attempt to recreate the ICTh. What worries me is that if they are completely successful with this replica, the world may become suddenly buried in lost shoes, old tennis balls and sponges that went missing mysteriously from the bathroom one day while you were out. Hopefully the sheer cost of such experiments will mean the noble dog retains its guardianship of the ICTh and its further secrets.
Ask yourself, now that you know this, why Bosun might be such a popular name amongst dogs. Moreover ask your dog about the ICTh and watch his/her face. Try if you can to hear what their voice if they could talk is saying. If you don’t have a dog or never tried to hear your dogs voice if he/she could talk, think of the mind-blowing revelations you’re missing out on. I’m most honoured to have been trusted to impart this knowledge at the appropriate time.
Dogs know. Treat them always with the respect they deserve.
(That last sentence is the only one to which you need pay attention.)