A touch of Hurley frost in boiling Britain as Britai sweats

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The Independent Online

One small corner of England was shrouded in frost yesterday as the rest of Britain basked in the highest temperatures since 1990.

While Greg Rusedski, the latest - perhaps only realistic - British tennis hope battled to victory at Wimbledon against the Frenchman Olivier Delaitre in a 110F heat haze, Hugh Grant returned to an icy reunion with his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley.

The couple got together at their country retreat near Bath, the first time they have had face-to-face talks since Mr Grant was arrested in Hollywood and charged with "lewd behaviour" in his car with a prostitute, Divine Brown. Whatever was said, the repercussions for Mr Grant cannot have been alleviated by reports that the prostitute has sold her story to the News of the World for pounds 100,000.

Besieged by photographers and reporters, Ms Hurley and Mr Grant maintained a semblance of normality by sharing lunch alfresco in between bouts of intense discussion. At the request of a photographer, the couple posed uncomfortably at a table in the garden, clearly reconciled enough to live up to their reputation as Britain's most photogenic couple.

There were, however, conflicting signals as to the state of their relationship. Ms Hurley's mother, Angela, said: "She and Hugh are together...She told me she is doing just fine. But that did not seem to take into account the ominous delivery of a new double bed for the house, which, according to Bensons Bed Centre in Bristol, was ordered within hours of Mr Grant's arrest.

At Wimbledon, Rusedski powered to a four-set victory against Delaitre, wearing a Union Jack bandanna to emphasise his Britishness - from his mother's side - despite being born in Canada.

Off-court, the heat played havoc with spectators. St John Ambulance volunteers had treated more than 200 people for sunstroke, dehydration and heat exhaustion by lunchtime.

In the rest of the country, temperatures soared to the high eighties with Worcester notching up 93F, the hottest for five years.

Temperatures are, however, expected to fall. The London Weather Centre predicted a cloudy morning today followed by sunshine cooled by north easterly winds driving temperatures down to a more normal average of 73F by late afternoon.

That reunion, page 3

Smog over Britain, page 6

Wimbledon reports, page 28