7 Aug, 2016 @ 14:40
2 mins read

Hashtag Heatwave: The Spanish handle the heat better than the Brits, no sweat!

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belinda column (1)
Brit cools down in wheelie bin

#HEATWAVE sent the Twittersphere into meltdown as temperatures in London hit 32C last month.


Railway lines buckled from the wrong kind of heat, tempers flared in Hyde Park, where a policeman was stabbed while trying to break up a ‘spontaneous water fight, and the great British public worked themselves up into a right old lather.


And serve them right for Brexit! There’s some satisfaction in knowing that the craziness was caused by us or, more specifically, a warm air plume from Spain.


Although, as the British are now, officially, Vitamin D-deprived, it looks like we did them a favour.


The heat hit on July 19, the hottest day since July 19, 2006 by bizarre coincidence.


Perhaps they should make it a national holiday because, hombre, it certainly looked like a one-day licence to fiesta.


Swans fled the Serpentine as office workers rushed to rivers and parks in their lunch breaks (one hour, not two like Spain) to strip out of their suits and frocks into the next-to-nothing – the girls in teeny bikinis and undies from Victora’s Secret, the dudes bare-chested, flexing their six packs.


Sunburnt brit

Green Park should have been renamed Pink Park, and a nice shade of lobster some of them turned.


There were even grown men with rolled-up trouser legs and knotted hankies on their heads in a homage to Monty Python no sartorially self-respecting Spanish senor would ever pay.


Social media made entertaining viewing as the Brits made light of a sticky situation with ice-bucket challenges and grin-and-bear-it humour – although man-up you dudes, it was 10 degrees hotter in Ciudad Real a couple of days later.


Along with the traditional egg-frying-on-pavement shots and Snapchat shares of family pets being water-boarded in bathtubs, one man selfied himself up to his butt-naked neck in a ‘cool tub’ made out of a wheelie bin.   


The Spanish must think we’re a weird lot, although Margallo’s son will have to acquaint himself with our customs for his British citizenship test.  


(As an aside, it would be nice if the Spanish Foreign Minister would give 1.3 million expats in Spain the same dual nationality rights here. After the bureaucratic hoops we all had to jump through for our bloody residencias, we deserve it!)


But of all the #heatwave memes that really tickled me British sunburn pink was the one about freezing your boxer shorts and wearing wet socks. Er, why not carry a fan like the Spanish do?


Funny heatwave meme

How the Spanish beat the heat…
Polar transport.

Buses and trains in Spain are A/C-ed to nipple-erecting degrees of cool. The London Underground is at least eight degrees hotter than the outside air, more in the rush hour squeeze.


Cool food

While Brits sweat over their roast Sunday lunch the Spanish chill their soups and wind the dining hour back to after 10pm.


Spritzer sunblinds are the chic cafe must-have here (although turn your Olive Press newspaper into a soggy mess) but many British pubs still lack beer gardens.


Free water

You can ask for a glass of agua del grifo (tap water) at cafes in Spain without looking too much of a cheapskate and they may even add ice! In Britain, once the proud home of the public drinking fountain, only 11% of green spaces now have them.  


Siestas Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun.  


Summer hours Government and industry switches to an 8am-3pm day and some shut shop completely in August, which is why I won’t get my new patio doors until October!

Belinda Beckett (Columnist)

Belinda Beckett is a qualified journalist and freelance writer based in the Campo de Gibraltar, specialising in travel & lifestyle features and humour columns.

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