The big news this week is that Britain is experiencing summertime. In typical Brit style we’re all acting like this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence and going bonkers.
Retailers are accordingly reaping the benefits, thanks to some erratic short-term spending habit changes.
Poolside preparations appear to be in full swing, with Asda’s sales of waterproof mascara doubling since last week and Argos recording a 600% increase in paddling pool sales, according to Retail Week.
Beleaguered grocer Tesco has cashed in on barbecue season too and is expecting to ring up more than two million packs of sausages and one million boxes of burgers this week.
The retail figures show that an increase in temperature triggers a fairly major behavioural shift in the nation’s psyche – and for the evidence of this, you need to look no further than the week’s hottest news stories…
Is it vandalism?
Perhaps the hottest potato of the week is the media attention given to pets left in cars during the hot spell.
The horrific results of leaving your dog in a boiling vehicle are well documented and a number of animal charities have launched awareness campaigns to coincide with the heatwave.
Yet much social media attention has focused on the legal implications of smashing in someone else’s vehicle to free a stricken animal.
West Mercia Police and the RSPCA reminded people that you could actually face prosecution for breaking into a locked vehicle to rescue a dog and instead advised calling 999.
The RSPCA recommends taking video footage and gathering witnesses if you feel you have to take action yourself to save a dog's life. However, it also says that under the 1971 Criminal Damage Act: "You have a lawful excuse to commit damage if the owner of the property… would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances".
Take a look at our guide to keeping your pets safe in hot weather for more ways to protect your pooch from the heat.
Off the rails
Probably the most vexatious news story for the nation’s rail commuters was the revelation that the UK’s transport system couldn’t take the heat.
Ok, so we’re resigned to the pandemonium that ensues whenever the country freezes over, but it seems the rails aren’t built for either end of the extreme temperature scale.
Drivers were ordered to slow down as rails heated up and literally buckled under the pressure. And commuters discovered that there’s no more depressing place to be than standing on a platform and squinting fruitlessly into the heat shimmer, wondering if you’ll actually make it home in time to barbecue all those extra burgers and sausages you just bought.
Keep calm and carry on
The episode of scorchio coincided with the opening of Wimbledon and Retail Week reported that the tournament had combined with the sunshine to create a perfect storm for food and drink sales. Aldi sold 50% more strawberries than this time last year and Tesco reckoned it would shift 250,000 bottles of Pimms before the week was out. Bottoms up!
But there was plenty of stiff upper lip going on at the quintessentially British tennis tournament, with queues for water longer than the ones for Pimms.
Regardless, officials refused even to provide shade on Centre Court by closing the roof because that’s only allowed if it gets too rainy or too dark, not for the trifling matter of dangerously searing heat. And rules are rules, aren’t they?
News in brief
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal warmed hearts' cockles worldwide by revealing he plans to give his £20bn fortune to charity.
Non-stick mayo and sauce bottles could be just around the corner, and we’re already rubbing our hands in glee at the savings we’ll make on trapped brown sauce and ketchup dregs.
Annual house price growth slowed to a two-year low of 3.3% according to Nationwide. But it is still growing, right…?
On Covered mag this week
Dan Moore frowns and tuts at four not-so-harmless driver errors.
Holidaying in Greece? Here’s how to gird your financial loins.
Join us next week for another sweat-trickling edition of the Money Shot. In the meantime, send us your letters