As most of you know, yesterday in Britain we had a heatwave. We know it was a heatwave because it’s was declared as such on the news, a classification given by the Met office. The way it was announced you would think none of us knew, even though across the country people were bathing in any piece of water they could get near to, from fountains to broken water pipes. Travel on public transport was said to be worse than being lost in the desert, although I would hazard a guess that there would be a lot less odorous armpits and a distinct lack of music leaking from noisy headphones.
In Pavers Place the heat brought its own set of concerns to each of the inhabitants, but the businesses seemed to have the most issues. In the Spar, Barry and Harry had chosen this week to launch a new range of ice cream, it had been pushed on them by a local producer who had the gift of the gab and an effective line in ‘You’ve got to love local’.
Nicey icey came in a number of flavours and was, according to the producer, sure to hit the big time soon. Harry, the less cautious of the brothers, had already suffered sleepless nights over the new product and watched with dismay on Tuesday as the temperature rose and the freezers started to struggle. He had looked at the vanilla batch far too often for Gary’s liking, by the end of the day it was suggested that it was the heat from his brother’s breath that was melting the sweet dessert, not the sun.
Matters came to a head for Harry on Tuesday night when either due to the heat, or as a result of a hallucinatory episode, he had a dream that a man was surfing in the tub of melting ice cream. The image had been so vivid that at 4 o’clock on Wednesday morning he found himself in the shop, in his pyjamas staring down at the freezer cabinet. The next morning several large fans were purchased to encourage the air flow and hopefully to calm the whole situation down.
Over at Kens the normal busy flow of clients had dried up completely, after two days of no customers he was trying to think of new ways to drum up trade. It was unusual for the hairdresser to take any approach other than ‘No worries’ and this caused consternation amongst the other residents.
Ian offered to circulate leaflets advertising Ken’s business, but it was a fruitless idea, mainly because Ken had no leaflets. Raphe put himself forward as a model, this was quickly dismissed because his main audience were the inmates at a residential home and the vast majority sported a blue, permed rinse.
Reg suggested a free sausage with every cut, even offering to produce a special range, the ‘short pork and sides’, but even this was turned down. The only idea that brought a smile to Ken’s face was Catherine’s, she thought he ought to offer an ice and slice, a cold cube down the back while he sliced into the hair.
I thought these were all ingenious ideas, well apart from Reg, how can that man associate a sausage with almost any subject. I was disappointed that none of the suggestions helped to lift Ken’s spirits, instead he took to the seat outside his shop and spent a good hour sorting through his beloved records, falling asleep clutching them to him; things were clearly looking grim.
Over at the Spar the whirling fans had seemed to cool the air quite considerably but the ribbons that had been tied to them by Gary, in an attempt to make them fit into the ‘funky feel of the shop’, had resulted in a lethal weapon. Suzy and Mand had been lashed in the face and Tom was declaring that he was going to sue for the weals that he now sported on his face.
The commotion at the Spar had nothing on the noise coming from Ken when he awoke from his deep sleep. During the day the heat had become more intense and as the time had moved the on, the shady spot where he had fallen asleep was now in the full blaze of the sun. The heat was no problem to this man who bathed in the warmth but it was a very different story for the LPs that now lay at his feet, Bob Marley had started out the day accompanied by his Wailers, now they could only be described as the warpers.
There was no consoling Ken, he shut up shop and went home; later that night the talk at the Short & Curlies focussed around the suggestion that the residents would help Ken to restock his record collection. I feared for his mental wellbeing in the morning, as far as I can gather so far they had collected the best of Terry Wogan, a single by Katie Price and the birdy song.