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Given that the great British barbecue is usually a washout – a provocation to the gods to be as vicious as possible – Met Office predictions that we were in for "a barbecue summer" may have been more accurate than people give credit for.

After all, they never spelled out precisely what kind of barbecue weather we were in for: the usual British variety, marked by granite skies and a heavy rain beating a tattoo on the marquee, or the less usual variety, featuring boiling sunshine, sun cream and wasps.

We should scrutinise the facial gestures of these human oracles more carefully as they deliver their predictions. In the meantime, we do have barbecue summer to look forward to – of the hot variety. The catch? It will be next year. El Nino, the periodical warming of the Pacific, is on its way, bringing drought to Africa, spoiling harvests and killing fish stocks. It sounds appalling – except for us, possible beneficiaries of a real summer. Get ready for a hot 2010. So they say.

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