Saturday, July 22, 2006

Unfavourable climatic conditions

The heatwave continues into a second week and it’s not pleasant at all. People make jokes about why it is that we are never prepared for such weather. Crap. This is, by all historical standards, unusual weather and there is no reason why we should be prepared. In the past a few hot days were invariably followed by thunderstorms and a break. This year not only have we had the hottest July ever in England, but the heatwave and the cloying humidity go on even after the thunderstorms. People wonder why buildings are not air-conditioned. It is only in recent years that air-conditioning could be justified. My home, like the vast majority of English houses is designed for warmth. The loft is insulated, the cavity walls filled with foam, there are carpets in most rooms. It is comfortable in winter. It is a heat sink when the temperature is averaging over 22c at night.

Worse still are the underground trains. Though I don’t actually travel on any underground parts, when the Piccadilly trains emerge from the tunnels at Barons Court, they are stifling with heat and sweat, and at 6:30 pm the sun is still strong enough to scorch them further as they meander along like arthritic snails towards Acton Town. Last Thursday every tube line was shown as having “severe delays” due to “faulty communications equipment” – yes, I’ve been on about this before. It has almost replaced “signal failure” as the knee-jerk response to any problem. And of course, when I got onto a Rayners Lane at Hammersmith and into a blissful seat, naturally the train was diverted to Northfields when we reached Acton and by the time a replacement arrived it was not possible to find a seat. I was dripping with sweat when I got into the train and fairly unwell when I got home.

I feel sorry for the next generation. Global warming is not going to bring much benefit to us and living conditions will steadily deteriorate. If we can break the deadly 9-5, 5 day week working habits, move jobs outside city centres and put in some intelligent transport systems then it may be bearable. That’s a big “if”. Too big to be achieved by this generation of blinkered, gosh when is the next election, how can we look good by then, politicians. I am really glad that I will either be retired or dead when commuting to work all summer in a permanent heatwave is the norm.

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