As the temperature crept close to 20 dregrees centigrade a few weeks ago most northerners could be found taking in the sun in their T-shirts and complaining that it was too hot for work. Coming from the south-east corner of England I was still wearing my (almost trademark) pullover and jacket as the temperature hit the early twenties and the sun shone on these well-watered lands.
Shortly thereafter the residents of Newcastle upon Tyne were found lacking in vocabulary to describe true warm weather, reaching as high as 28 degrees centigrade, feeling especially hot when, for a few days, the breeze from the north sea seemed to die down. I duly removed my jacket and declared that even I found the weather to be summer-like.
Alas those two warm weeks are now ended and the rain has returned. Still, it was enough for me to stop missing the sun for a while. When you watch the weather forecasts and see the “maximum temperature” in the shade, you don’t appreciate that in addition to the north being several degrees cooler all the time it is also the case that in the south-east the shade keeps you from feeling the full warmth of the sun and so it feels hotter than the forecasted temperature when you are out, whereas in Newcastle the shade often shelters you from the winds coming in off the north sea’s shore, and it can feel cooler than the forecasted temperature when you are out of the shade.
So, it seems that these tough-as-titanium northerners have had their one true weakness revealed, they cannot stand the heat. But try coming up to Newcastle in the winter and dressing down like they do in the city, virtually naked in the cold and the rain, no south-easterner could possibly survive it. So, if global warming eventually triggers another ice-age then it will be the northerners who will survive most easily.