1976.


Can you remember the long hot summer when reservoirs and lakes ran dry? When water became scarce and precious several long months of cloudless sky.

When water was put on a ration and using hose pipes had to be banned. When crops dried up and turned to parchment and dust swirled round our arid land.

The ice cream vans made a small fortune as Brits rolled up their sleeves and jeans. Then sunburn seemed to be the fashion and the whole land smelled of sun screen.

And we were told to save our water and have a bath with a good friend. We saved each drop to put on gardens, we didn't know when it would end.

The dust swirled round like small tornadoes, the news showed land all cracked and dry. They showed a man use his car bonnet, he broke an egg and watched it fry.

They told us if we used a hose pipe we would be fined, we would be caught. They said they checked from helicopters and sent the police their full report.

And on and on the days were passing, the temperature stayed hot all night. No one could sleep it was too sticky, there was no breeze to give respite.

In all the towns and all the cities the people sun bathed in the parks. The news was full of dried up rivers with dying fish, it was quite stark.

Then came the bush fires on the moorland caused by a fag end from a car. They raged for days and nights untended with trees and bushes left to char.

Then finally some distant thunder the sky turned yellow, full of power. And then that long hot sizzling summer was finished in just half an hour.

The first big spots splashed on our faces, the thunder rumbled like a drum. we didn't care, we stretched our arms out and danced with joy, the rains had come.

And we still talk about that summer when water bowsers stood on streets. We wonder if we'll see another seventy six, the summer of heat. Jan Millward©