Monday 19 August 2019

Rachel Dugan: 'It's just too hot... to be a whinger'

 

Sheets across the country are being kicked off as the nation collectively tosses and turns and struggles to secure a restful night amid the street din wafting in through open windows. Stock Image: Getty Images/EyeEm Premium
Sheets across the country are being kicked off as the nation collectively tosses and turns and struggles to secure a restful night amid the street din wafting in through open windows. Stock Image: Getty Images/EyeEm Premium

Rachel Dugan

I like to indulge in a little whinging as much as the next person, but this recent spell of good weather has convinced me that moaning is as integral to our national DNA as crisp sandwiches and red lemonade. The sight of the mercury rising last week is, on the face of it, something to be celebrated.

Of course, for that to be really true you have to ignore the fact that it's global warming and not some benevolent supreme being who we have to thank for pumping up the global air-con.

Experts are now predicting this will be the hottest July ever recorded on Earth. So the human race is well within its rights to be shouting from the rooftops about the frightening climate crisis that is responsible. When you think about it, we should really be calling it bad weather, because it is. Very.

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But it's the whinging about the heat, not the nefarious reasons behind it, that I am taking issue with (and yes, I am aware of the irony of me having a rant about other people having a rant).

The biggest gripe I've been hearing is that it's too hot to sleep. Sheets across the country are being kicked off as the nation collectively tosses and turns and struggles to secure a restful night amid the street din wafting in through open windows. We may be a country of hot-water-bottle nursing duvet-snugglers during the winter, but when the night-time temperature goes past 19C, we're close to breaking out the midnight ice baths.

It is also, apparently, too hot to eat. In fairness, the Irish diet does not exactly lend itself to the kind of mild heatwave we've been enjoying (yes, enjoying) of late. But is googling a recipe for gazpacho or digging out a summer salad cookbook really such a chore?

It's also too hot to walk around, take the dog out, wear clothing appropriate for leaving the house, be stuck in traffic, do the grocery shopping or even change those sweat-soaked sheets.

Some of our complaints really seem to have very little to do with the actual heat and more about its by-products. Complaints about noisy ice-cream trucks plying their trade around housing estates. Rants about the weekend traffic jams as we all flee to the nearest beach. I guess the good news is there is an end in sight with Met Éireann predicting today's dip in temperature will usher in a period of unsettled weather more befitting this nation of whingers.

If another warm spell comes our way - and global warming means that's a dead cert - perhaps we could all try to muster a little more tolerance and spare a thought for those of us who dream of the kind of year-round sun enjoyed by wrinkly expats in the Canaries. Remember, just like your list of gripes, the dark, cold, wet Irish winter will be very long indeed.

We need wind of change on the hurricane names

Across the Irish Sea, researchers at the London School of Economics are struggling with their own weather-related problem.

Apparently, people do not take heatwaves as seriously as other weather events. Their solution? Give them names, just like we do with hurricanes. I have never been a fan of this practice, especially when they choose wildly inappropriate monikers for such destructive forces (Hurricane Kevin, I'm looking at you).

The real issue is that you invariably know someone who shares the same name. And calling a heatwave or typhoon after my long-dead great uncle or the girl at school who always got the last place on the hockey team ahead of me is just not going to make me take it any more seriously.

Perhaps they should consider names from the world of fiction for something more befitting.

Heatwave Hannibal or Typhoon Voldemort might do the trick.

Irish Independent

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