Wow! I hate heatwaves and so, it seems, does the rail network. Which meant that, early evening with the temperature at its maximum for the day, I found myself jammed into a train which had four carriages instead of the advertised 12. You can imagine the scene. People were melting and miserable as we waited for the train to start moving and perhaps provide a bit of a breeze.
Now the advice is to take a bottle of water with you on occasions like this and I did start the day with one in my bag but managed to leave it behind on the table at my final meeting. So, foolishly, that source of rescue was gone. But I was a little better prepared than that and had a fan with me so now was definitely the time for Plan B. And that’s when it happened.
As soon as I started to wave my fan to create my personal haven, everyone around me started talking and asking out loud why they hadn’t thought to own/bring one. And it spread, right through the carriage, with people laughing at their misery and wondering why we all put up with such traumas. And then the gent opposite laughingly offered to buy my fan and the bidding reached £150, with me refusing – naturally! No amount of money was going to part me from my fan and the solution it represented.
Eventually, the train started moving and the breeze cooled things down to a more reasonable blood-boiling level. Then I started wondering. Fans have been used for centuries by both men and women in many cultures as a means of creating personal comfort (and communication if you read social history). People do naturally use anything to hand – bits of paper, books, even rail tickets in desperation. So why not own, carry and use a fan which is the most effective solution to the problem? Answers on a postcard please – not really!