Comment and Debate - There’s really no place like home

This was overhead completely by accident, of course, in a shop the other day.

“Hear about that heatwave their having in America?”

“Aye, be nice to have a bit of that here. Could do with a bit of sun for a change.”

That ‘bit of sun’ is killing those lucky folk in the USA. Already the death toll has gone past 20 in the central and eastern states and is expected to climb much higher before the temperatures start to come back down.

The temperature in New Jersey hit a record 40 degrees the other day - that’s 104 in old money - a trifle on the sticky side.

And why is it exactly that we still insist on using Fahrenheit when it warm and centigrade when it’s cold? Back in January when the cold snap started to bite, no-one was saying, ‘It was freezing last night, 20 degrees’ when it was minus seven. But in the summer 22 degrees doesn’t cut the mustard - it’s got to be 70

We’ve a strange attitude to the weather in this part of the world where it rarely, if ever, gets either hot or cold enough to start causing mass fatalities.

All right, it might have been a bit nippy for a few days around the turn of the year.

And no-one’s exactly been talking about a barbecue summer too much this year.

It does tend to rain a lot in this part of the world, but what do you expect for a nation with nothing but 3,000 miles of ocean right on our doorstep?

But for all that, it really isn’t the worst place in the world to live, when you think about it.

The jokes were doing the rounds after Darren Clarke won the Open last weekend that Tiger Woods was considering moving to Northern Ireland.

What have they got in Florida that you can’t get here, apart from heatwaves, naturally?

Alligators. It’s not much of a recommendation, now, is it?

When you think about it, for all the moaning that we do, there are plenty of worse places in the world to live than Ireland.

Not only are we uninfested with alligators, we can always thank St Patrick that we live snake free as well.

Midges might be a nuisance on the odd balmy summer evening we enjoy, but they pale into insignificance next to the flying rodents the size of small dinosaurs that pass for insects in places like Australia.

For all you might dream of a life in the sun, eating your Christmas dinner on Bondi Beach, there is plenty else to be thankful for.

When was the last time you heard of an earthquake hitting County Cork?

San Francisco might be one of the most interesting and exciting cities in the world to live, but was building a major urban centre right on top of the San Andreas fault really such a brilliant idea?

Quiz question: What’s the largest volcano in Ireland. Answer: It’s a trick question - there are no volcanoes in Ireland.

We don’t have much in the way of hurricanes or tornadoes, either, and are well out of the flight path of any likely tsunami.

Since the 1840s there hasn’t been much in the way of famine and - thanks to our wonderful climate - we’re not likely to be affected by a drought this side of the start of the next millennium.

Even without the current heatwave there are parts of the US so hot, people go from their air-conditioned houses into their air-conditioned cares to their air-conditioned shops and air-conditioned offices.

They have such lovely summer days, that’s its barely possible to go outside at all. That’s what you get for building cities in the middle of a desert.

And, of course, if you truly are a sun-worshipper, there’s no need to go too far. Thanks to the miracle that is Ryanair, the sunny climes of the Costa del Sol are only a couple of hundred quid away.

You might not enjoy getting there, very much but that’s a small price to pay.

The simple answer is to stay at homer and enjoy all of what Ireland has to offer.

After all, you might get sunburnt, however unlikely it seems most of the time- right here.

So stop moaning about the odd little spot of rain and start making the most of our volcano, hurricane, and earthquake-free wonderful country instead.