Mad Dogs and Englishmen

There is a famous saying that “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun” and anyone who has been to a hot country that British people frequent will know this to be true. I am one of those Englishmen; when it hits 90F (32C) here in Boston and the rest of my office is enjoying the air conditioning I’m sitting by the river eating my sandwiches and feeling my body temperature rise until it feels on a par with the volcano that the ring is dropped into in Mordor. The only downside is knowing that I could be ravaged by a pack of mad dogs and unless there was another Englishman around no one would be able to save me!

I get a decent view when I sit by the river for lunch. :)
I get a decent view when I sit by the river for lunch. 🙂

I think the reason that we are like this is because a sunny day is a rare luxury in England so we grow up feeling like any sun can’t be wasted. The sun is a much greater mood lifter for someone where the weather is habitually shit than for those lucky people who grew up in places where the sun actually shone for more than five days a summer. The downside for me is the cold winter; I’m not used to temperatures of -20C so while the locals were out and about I was hiding under 15 layers of blankets and trying to convince myself that humans can hibernate. Swings and roundabouts.

Next time you see a perspiring and rapidly burning Englishman (or woman for that matter) wandering around at the hottest time of day remember; they aren’t crazy or stupid, they are just taking advantage of that lovely sunshine.

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24 thoughts on “Mad Dogs and Englishmen

  1. S. Robert Cyre

    There was a time when I might be able to identify an Englishman in public merely by his Tom Baker-Doctor Who scarf or his incessant need to squirrel off at 4PM for afternoon tea, but these days, you’ve all gotten sneakier with your fish n chips and such. Hopefully, you’ll be the only guy on the park bench when I come to chat. 🙂

    1. Afternoon tea is definitely important. I think I’m practically the only person in my office who drinks tea and not coffee so everyone at work probably knows I’m British without even needing to see me sat in the midday heat!

  2. My wife used to get incredulous looks as she ran around our compound in 38C heat. To be fair she was 7 months pregnant at the time and Thai people believe that pregnant women should be shut away unless they are at work.

    But then Empire wasn’t built on people complaining about the heat.

    1. I think if it hit 38 I might just stay indoors at lunch but 36C for our outside wedding didn’t kill us so maybe not. I find a lot of Brits nowadays go out in the heat then complain about it; we’d never get another Empire going!

  3. Great attitude! I will say since moving to the UK, every time it’s sunny I have seen a disproportionately large number of men walking around in swim trunks even if they are no where near a location to go swimming. Must just be the sun!

  4. I have to say, I feel the same now that I live in the Netherlands – enjoy every tiny little bit of sun because it’s a rarity! I had thought when we lived in Boston that it rained a lot – nope… I was wrong! But then 5 years of Barcelona totally spoiled me and the weather is even more of a downer now than it was before. Enjoy the Boston summers – they are beautiful! I can’t wait to be home in a few weeks to get out of this dreary weather for a bit!!!

    1. The summers here are beautiful, so much less rain than in northern Europe although it’s a really miserable day as I type this haha. I hope you have a great time back home! 🙂

  5. After being here (in the USA) for nearly 5 years now I still get up in the morning and look out the window to see what kind of day it is… I never take sunny days for granted.
    Going back home on Saturday for a fortnight though to ‘sunny’ Scotland so need to pack my jumpers (sweaters) and waterproof jacket 😉

    1. I think once you’ve grown up in the British Isles you never can take a sunny day for granted! Enjoy your trip back to Scotland, hope you get better than average weather! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Mad Dogs and Englishmen « Blog of Hammad Rais

  7. When I grew up in the Washington D.C. area, parents were always shooing us outside when the weather was nice. Sunshine was not to be wasted.

    Now I live in Southern California. It rains two weeks a year if we’re lucky. And I wonder what the mothers can possibly say as a justification for tossing their kids out the front door.

      1. I do miss the rain.

        And today I figured out what SoCal moms probably say: “Go outside and play before there’s another wildfire and the air is full of particulates!” :/

      2. I also live in California. I thought I wouldn’t miss cold weather, snow or even rain–but good god, I miss it. I miss it bad. Having almost 365 days of pure sunshine is too much.

        Is it really that gloomy in England!? I heard it rained all the time, but I was hoping that was just an exaggeration…

      3. It depends on where you live, I think where I used to live it rained something like 130 days a year. There are plenty of sunny days too though and when you are British you appreciate them more!

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