To miss-quote a well-known TV programme of the 70's, That was The Month That Was! Who would have believed that cold and wet old England would set new records for the highest temperature ever recorded? August proved most of the doubters wrong by giving us, not only the hottest day ever recorded but also, the longest continuous period of hot weather for over a decade. And from what I have gathered in conversation with local villagers, most have you have made the most of this unexpected bonus.
I did feel a little sorry for those local people who, during the worst off the hot spell, were trying to enjoy the delights of the North Norfolk seaside facilities. One family told me that, despite arriving in Wells-Next-Sea at an ungodly hour on a Tuesday, they found it almost impossible to park and then had to turn back from the Pinewoods because of the masses of hot and sticky bodies already in possession of the last remnants of the beach. But I think the majority of people who wanted to make the most of the long hot summer found some way in which to enjoy the sunshine to the full.
But we should also spare a thought to those poor folk amongst us who positively hate the heat. For them there has been little respite over the last month with temperatures at night adding to their misery by making it too uncomfortable to sleep. Having spent many years overseas with the RAF, seven of which were in the Middle and Far East, I continue to marvel at just how un-prepared our authorities appear to be for hot (or indeed, cold) weather. Roads started to melt, rail tracks to buckle with the result that the already unbearable commuter journeys were made several times worse by speed restrictions, accidents and equipment failure. I spoke to one regular commuter at the peak of the hot spell who told me that for three days in the previous week he had arrived at his London office after mid-day; some three hours late!
And finally, a cautionary tale! In the middle of the hot spell we had an elderly couple staying with us in our home. One of them, unfortunately, needed the services of a qualified nurse. Our practice nurse was on annual holiday and they had been unable to find emergency cover. We were, however, referred to the two Downham practices who, it seems, have significantly more nursing support than the Boughton practice. In short, my requests for nursing support from Howdale and Paradise Road practices were, to say the least, somewhat curtly rejected. Subsequent enquiries have confirmed that, under current NHS rules, practices in which the host of a Temporary Resident (TR) is registered can provide medical services to a TR. However, other practices are under no obligation what-so-ever to provide support for TR's if the host's practice is for any reason unable to provide the service requested. The only available recourse is to make use of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E services. So beware, if you have visitors, and your local practice is unable to provide the support they need in an accident or other emergency, you may have to take them to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn!