We all know that the British media won't be happy until we are all cowering under our beds in abject fear of the inherent dangers of day to day life, leafing with trembling fingers through the Daily Mail to see what might kill us next. We're forever being told that if it doesn't give us cancer it will almost certainly make us fat and cause our teeth and hair to fall out. And so deeply is this indoctrinated in our minds that any time we see the words "Breaking News" we wait with baited breath to see how many people might die.
And naturally the weather, being a very British obsession, is no exception to this. We see half an inch of snow in Manchester and all of a sudden we're on red alert. "Depots might run out of grit, leading to travel chaos," "Rivers will swell, causing floods of biblical proportions," "Hospitals are expecting casualty departments to be packed with people having slipped on the icy surfaces" and of course "It's all Labour's fault."
So it came as no great shock when, on the first sunny day of the year, I heard a newsreader tell me that my nan would probably die in the heat. Naturally I regard most sensionalist news stories with an air of scepticism, however the seed of doubt had been planted and instead of joining my peers for a day in the park drinking beer and playing football, I elected to pay my nan a visit - just in case. After all, you didn't know. These news reporters had to get their information from somewhere and my nan is pretty old.
When I arrived at my nan's I got no reply from the door bell and, thanks to all the horror stories on the news, I knew with certainty that she had either fallen over in the shower or burned herself with a curling iron. Either way it was best to break in and see what I could save.
But of course, once I'd bust the door from the frame I didn't find her laying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, clutching the phone in a pitiful attempt at calling nine nine nine. Rather I found her sitting in the garden enjoying the sun. She was sprawled out on a deckchair and had a glass of Pimms on the table next to her. Naturally she was surprised to see me, thinking that on a nice day like this a young man like me would be out enjoying the sun. When I told her I had come to make sure she was OK she called me a "Stupid bleddy boy" and then went to get me some lemon drizzle cake.
And so, on the first sunny day of 2010, while the rest of the country had packed themselves onto Bournemouth beach (in spite of the fact that the sea water could well kill them) I sat in the garden with my nan, listening to her moan about how "them foreigns" had made the country a worse place to live.
So why not lighten up news people? Nobody got sick from dirty sea water and in spite of the thermometre 'soaring' to 27 degrees celsius my nan was absolutely fine - if a little racist.
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