LONDON – By Monday afternoon, temperatures in north London had reached 34 degrees Celsius (94 Fahrenheit), but residents were looking forward to Tuesday, which was forecast to be even hotter.
Mona Sulaiman, 45, and her friend Zaina Al Amin, 40, were waiting for a bus as the heat rose in the afternoon.
“I’m not worried about myself in this heat,” said Ms. Sulaiman, from Eritrea. “But I’m worried about my children.”
Her apartment is very hot, and despite being advised to keep the 6- and 10-year-olds home from school, she decides to send them inside because she thinks it’s too cold.
Most schools are in the final week of classes before summer vacation, and have done their best to keep children cool in older buildings, especially ill-suited to high temperatures. At a primary school on Portobello Road, staff had set up a swimming pool and children could be heard splashing and laughing in the street.
“Especially at night, it’s already very hot in my apartment in the summer,” said Ms Sulaiman, who was worried it would become unbearable on Monday night.
Ms Al Amin said the women, dressed in Muslim and traditional dress and headscarves, in lightweight cotton dresses, did not mind the weather outside but were worried about getting on the bus.
“At this point, it’s very difficult,” he said. “Not enough air.”
In Hyde Park, a handful of sunbathers braved the afternoon heat and laid out blankets on the visibly dry grass. Steps away, prospective swimmers are directed away from the Serpentine Lido, where a sign indicates the facility’s capacity. Among them were Lalou Laredo, 19, and Rachel Trippier, 22, who were disappointed to be turned away, but noted that the 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 Fahrenheit) warm water could actually feel worse.
“London is not really good for days like this,” Ms Laredo lamented, lamenting the lack of places to cool off in the sweltering heat.
Ms Trippier added that she was worried about the new reality of rising extreme temperatures.
Mrs. Laredo agreed. “It’s always in the back of our minds,” he said. “It’s frustrating that people still deny it.”
Across central London, the neighborhood near St. Paul’s Cathedral doesn’t mind the sun at lunchtime. A few joggers dodged both traffic and pedestrians in the blazing sun. Tourists stood in the shadow of the cathedral, consulting maps on their phones. Office workers braved the heat outside wearing suit jackets and carrying takeout.
Pubs took advantage of the scorching sun. “Ice, ice, baby!” It’s written on a signboard outside a pub, The Paternoster. “Refreshing peach ice tea or ice-cold coffee!”
On a weekday, the pub usually has at least 80 people at lunch. But on Monday, when many workers were encouraged to work from home, there were five.
“It’s usually busier than this,” said Sam Jordan, 22, a bartender. “I think a lot of office workers are working from home.”
In nearby Paternoster Square, about three dozen people sat on lawn chairs or picnic tables, some eating lunch in the shade and watching the big screen set up weeks ago to watch Wimbledon. On Monday, the crowd watched a program about politics and the upcoming battle to elect a new prime minister.
Marilyn Tan, clutching a protective umbrella, said she had stepped off a plane from Singapore, which was slightly cooler than London.
“It had no effect on me,” Ms Tan, 57, said. “I’m fine. I didn’t even tie my hair.
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