Opinion with Jodie Nesling: We already know 1976 was hot

Jodie and daughter Rose

Brace yourselves, there’s hot air coming up from the south and I’m not just talking about the incoming heatwave or last night’s leadership debate. A  cloud of nostalgia which can cause serious health problems has reached our shores.

This new dominant strain called ‘1976 heatwave’ is likely to replace the previous variants, ‘we never had central heating’ and ‘I grew up on offal and there’s nothing wrong with me!’

Facebook has been reliably quick off the mark, offering startling advice such as, ‘We just got on with it” and something tedious about snowflakes.

So, the summer of 1976 was a hot one. We know this not because 13-year-old Tony was there gaily playing marbles in a dried-up brook or cheerfully fetching a pail of water from a well but because loads of people died. The Independent reports the UK experienced a 20 per cent year-on-year increase of “excess deaths” that summer, with a huge spike in “hospitalisations as a consequence of sunstroke and heat-related heart attacks.”

Also, and this is an important one, temperatures reached a maximum of 35.9c. While this is indeed hot the next few days are predicted to see record-breaking temperatures of 40c and above in some areas. This has never happened here before. Ever. We lack the infrastructure to deal with such heat and it marks a huge increase from even the highest temperature recorded (38.7c) in terms of both science and the impact it will have on public health, that’s us lads!

Here in Thanet, we’re lucky to be on a lesser amber alert – although this could change – and surrounded by our beautiful coastline but it is important to remember the isle has a disproportionately high number of vulnerable people living here. People, like in the pandemic, who are at greater risk at becoming seriously ill which in turn places even more pressure on our exhausted NHS.

So, I am generally pleased for all those who managed to ‘just get on with it’ in 1976. But today rather than posting a poem about how kids played on their bike all day without a whiff of heatstroke and doors were left unlocked, perhaps just check in on your neighbour instead and support local, if possible.

I’ll be staying in with my toddler but given the opportunity I’d be lunching at an independent isle restaurant and buying a sun hat from a shop. I might even take a stroll into Margate Caves or Ramsgate Tunnels.

Top tips for coping in the hot weather include:

  • look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • stay cool indoors by closing curtains on rooms that face the sun – and remember that it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • check that fridges, freezers and fans are working properly
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling
  • take care and make sure to follow local safety advice if you are going into the water to cool down
  • check medicines can be stored according to the instructions on the packaging

Jodie is a mum and journalist based in Margate


  1. Super piece, and thanks for posting it.
    The problem is that almost no one, from the government down, takes it seriously.

    • Excess deaths is not normal. It’s abnormal. It’s mums and dads, grans and uncles, children, who need not have died, but did.
      Being blade about these tragedies is crass in the extreme.

  2. Yes we have had heatwaves nothing new we have even had snow in June the thing is its not normal weather, this lady Jodie has done this to make those who have not experienced a heatwave no the dangers and also for all of us to look out those of us in the community who are vulnerable yes we can all say we have been through hot weather but not everyone is the same some of us are at great risk from the heat don’t knock jodie because she cares for others when it’s clear some of you couldn’t give a damn. Thanks Jodie

  3. “Lies, damned lies and statistics”.
    Just look at how the Office for National Statistics recording of deaths has changed since the Chinese sponsored World Health Organisation announced “THE Pandemic”.
    As a former civil servant, I’m well aware of how statistics are manipulated. Did you know that, between 1979 and 1989 the methodology of “counting the unemployed” was modified 28 times!
    There’s no such thing as an “excess death”, save for in the minds and mouths of the manipulator.

    • Boring old conspiracy theorist/ climate change denier bangs on about Chinese overlords again.

      • Nobody can deny that Climate is changing.
        Unfortunately, human beings suffer from vanity. Of which the belief that we as a species are driving this change is the latest evidence.

        • There is absolutely no doubt that we are at the very least contributing to and exacerbating global warming.
          Even you cannot de y that since the Industrial Revolution mankind has been burning more and more fossil fuels; that fosdil fuels are hydrocarbons which produce CO2 when burnt; that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Ergo, human activities are contributing to global warming.

          “Unfortunately, Harry Webb suffers from vanity. Of which the belief that he, as an individual, is denying that we as a species are driving this change is the latest evidence.”

          • 😂😂😂
            Good one!
            Just remember that every post on every blog is contributing to “Man-made Climate Change”!
            Every L.E.D. screen. Every word spoken. Every report written. Every action taken contributes to it too.
            Sit still. Be quiet. Like the Buddha. Then we’ll solve the problem! The answers been here all along.😁

          • And what are the combined gross carbon footprints of Sir David Attenborough and, the late Jacques Cousteau, David Bellamy & Steve Irwin? Along with all the “Eco-tourism” their activities have spawned. The late Dervla Murphy warned about that too!

        • Everything i have read by conspiracy theorists on this e-paper is boring and hackneyed. So I don’t care what “Democrat”‘s opinion of me is.

        • It is not the case that “every action taken” contributes towards anthropogenic climate change.
          For 100,000s of years that activities of human kind have been balanced by natural carbon capture processes. It is only since the Industrial Revolution that human activity has been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere far faster than it can be removed by being dissolved in the oceans and so on.
          David Bellamy was a climate change denier.

  4. So it’s not actually 38C outside at the moment?
    There are no wildfires sweeping across swathes of France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia….

    Thankyou for correcting my French.

  5. Thanks for writing this Jodie, What some posters here have written shows you to be correct. Stay as safe as you can.

  6. In 1976 I was one of a number of government Assistant Civil Engineers to the Chief Civil Engineer building Grain Power Station, which was brought to a halt due to lack of water! It was the largest construction site in Europe, with 4,000 people working on site, and 600 lived in the Residential accommodation! We had no rain for 18 weeks, and many properties nationally suffered foundation subsidence, when the soil they were built on dried out. So there are repercussions to climate change not even considered yet, better start now!

  7. We need to spend a fortune on coping with Climate change whether we blame human activities or prefer to say “It wasn,t me, gov”!
    Even if you want to claim that all this is “normal” ,nothing to worry about etc, we still need to take steps to cope. We don’t stand on the banks of a rising river, arguing WHY a flood is coming, we escape to high ground, set up rescue centres for the survivors and resolve to improve flood defences.
    The same with abnormal heat. It was 36C on the A256 as I drove along this morning. That just isn’t normal and we all need to take steps to protect ourselves and others. Regardless of WHY the place is so hot!!
    It will still be a good idea to improve insulation in all homes. And to subsidise putting solar panels on as many roofs as possible. And to have electric vehicles to reduce pollution and NOISE.
    Claiming that this is all just a “normal” part of the earth’s changing climate should not be used to cop out of facing the changes we need to make.

    By the way, I spent much of the summer of 1976 travelling from beach to beach down the west coast of Ireland. Bliss every day. Until I spent too long sitting , with my knees up, watching a fabulous sunset over the ocean. Severe sunburn all down my shins!!! Agony!! Like all of us, I should have taken precautions to protect myself!

  8. Excellent article. Made me chuckle. The usual suspects churning out “in 76 we didn’t stop” cliches left right and centre.

    Public health warnings are so people can make common sense decisions. No one is in a panic. People “can just get on with it” and we all are. Making sensible decision to protect our own health. What is wrong with that? Why do certain ageing sections of society feel that applying common sense when provided with facts is bad?!?!?

    It’s moronic to say “it’s just summer and we just got on with it in 76”

      • Thirded!
        My late mother ran hospitals in Sarawak & U.A.E. during the 1950’s. Whilst my late father mastered shipping in the Persian Gulf.
        Present generations are pathetically preoccupied with personal microcosms.

    • No one is “afraid” of the sun. You do realise it’s weather warnings that help keep us carrying on. MET issued weather warnings happen all the time and it’s not to cause panic it’s because they are vital to keeping many industries going.

      Knowledge is power.

      The only people that are panicking are snowflakes like you that can’t handle people wanting to be prepared and you seem enraged that people take simple steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

      But from the last couple of years of your campaign of misinformation o these pages we all know what to expect from you. It’s ok your a snowflake that can’t handle the MET office doing their job but the rest of us are thankful for the heads up.

      • A “weather warning” is one thing, 20 minutes of last night’s BBC evening news is ridiculous, especially when we have a leadership contest and war in Europe. Tonight they’ll probably devote a whole 45 minute extended edition to the sun shining.

        Oh, and it’s “you’re a snowflake”, NOT “your a snowflake”. The latter makes no grammatical sense.

        • If you had the smallest shred of moral authority, then you could be excused for your grammar lesson.
          But you have none whatsoever.

        • Typical from you. Go back to your book about sexual predators and children abusers. We all know now what you stand for.

          • Eh?

            Oh, you mean my latest book on ‘Top Of The Pops’, which I’ll be doing a live radio interview to promote later today, while you hide behind a silly pseudonym whilst venting your frustration and bitterness of being a miserable failure?


    • I’m sure that the residents of Wennington thought fondly of our forefathers’ empire expanding exploits, murdering, raping and pillaging their way around the world.
      Meanwhile, their houses were burning down.

  9. I remember the summer of 76. I had a 1-yr-old and a very new baby. It was hell. No water for washing nappies (disposables not standard, and very expensive), bodies or vegetables. It wasn’t a case of “we just got on with it” – we had no option but to try to survive it somehow. I ended up in the local mental hospital because I could not cope. We need to be well-prepared for more extreme weather.

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