Posted by: travelrat | July 20, 2017

Travel Theme: Heat


Has anyone noticed the odd thing about British media? When temperatures are low, they report them in Celsius (It was ten degrees below zero last night!) but when they’re high, they report them in Fahrenheit (Temperatures will be in the upper 80s this week)?

Of course, that doesn’t happen much in Britain, where a definition of a heat wave is two warm days and a thunderstorm. Or, it used to be; nowadays it’s more like a warm week then a thunderstorm.

Now, before anyone starts yelling ‘Climate Change’ … let me say, it is happening; it’s been happening since the last Ice Age and will probably continue until the next Ice Age. Whether or not the actions of Man are partly responsible, or anything can be done about it is debatable, and I do not propose to have that debate here.

But surely, cleaning up our act and ‘reducing our emissions’ can be no bad thing, whichever view you take.

But, I’m racking my brains for travel stories involving heat, without telling ‘war stories’ of the Kalahari Desert and a non-air-conditioned Land Rover.

First, let’s go to the Venetian island of Murano. That’s the main place they make the glass for which Venice is famed. We followed the guide-book advice not to accept the ‘free’ trip, and look around the glass-works that some hotels offer … but it’s difficult to avoid a visit to at least one, when the touts are crowding to meet you off the vaporetto. Still, at least you have a choice of which one you’ll visit.

So, we had a demonstration of how those ornaments are made … and it was hot in there; it reminded me of an uncle, who often said he was ‘sweating like a glassblower’s … er … hindquarters’

No doubt he was, for he was a fireman on the railway. And, having ridden on the footplate of a steam loco, I know just how hot it got; the crews used to cook their breakfast by putting bacon and eggs on a shovel, and sticking it in the fire for a few seconds.

The hottest locos of all must be the Ffestiniog Railway’s ‘Double Fairlies’ The firebox runs right through the cab, leaving little room for the driver and fireman. Which is why you’ll often see them hanging out of the cab as far as they dare, to get as far as possible from the heat.

Merddin Emrys

This week’s contribution to the Travel Theme. More at


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