Hot weather has gone from being wonderful to being dangerous, writes Simon Heffer
Many of us will have spent the last few days of extreme heat wondering how we have lived this long. How was it that those of us who sweated through the roasting summer of 1976, the boiling July of 1990, or the hottest day ever in August 2003 are still here to tell the tale – since, in those days, there were not endless health and safety warnings? We are all being treated like children. A weatherman, instead of saying how wonderful it would be that it was sunny and hot, came on to warn us that "it won't suit everybody". Danger levels were constantly being raised by the Met Office.
And it's not just us. I was in Paris this week, where electronic signs on pavement billboards warn boulevardiers to smother themselves in sunblock and to ensure that their children wear hats. It can't be long before some interfering ninny goes on television to warn us to stay indoors until after sunset, or before the Prime Minister breaks into his busy day to remind us to carry bottles of water with us. I see a new quango – Ofphew – coming on, at huge public expense, to enforce coolness at all times. Ah, what it is to be grown-up.