Happy memories of that sweltering summer in 1976

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane

Our top columnist Geoffrey Shryhane warms himself up by remembering a scorching summer from yesteryear...

I’m peering out of the office window into a misty morning not far from Wigan Pier. The bare and leafless trees have almost disappeared into the greyness and the parked cars’ windscreens are already frosting up.

It is, as the old carol says, deep midwinter and nature is in a deep slump. That said, the first shoots of daffodils are visible. The crocus are already in bloom.

It’s at moments like this I think back to last year’s glorious summer when it seemed the sun would never set on those weeks of glorious sunshine.

The forecasters didn’t tell us to anticipate the best summer since that blistering extravaganza of months-long heat back in 1976.

And even when the great weather started, it was impossible to think it would last and last and last and put a smile on faces and a skip in our step.

There’s a line in an old film that says in the good weather, our moods improve and we are, in fact, nicer to each other.

In the heatwave of 2018, as the sale of cold drinks soared, people sat chatting in the shade outside cafes and for some, time ceased to mean a thing.

I had to smile when people returning from hot spots abroad admitted we’d had better weather right here in Wigan.

Dogs had big pants on (so to speak), and some shopkeepers provided containers of water just outside their front doors.

The sun also altered sartorial elegance. Goodbye coats and hello skimpy tops and flip-flops.

Bright hot days melted into sunny weeks. Would it ever end? We hoped not, even though our lawns turned into ugly brown swords.

And folks turned brown too… and sun tan lotion sales rocketed. Like all good things, the summer of 2018 came to an end. But it was truly great while it lasted.