We're in the middle of summer, so it's hardly surprising that the temperature is soaring. There have been a few stinkers in Perth lately, some of them very humid indeed. And there was that thunderstorm not so long ago ...

But this week looks like it will really stand out for its sustained and intense heat. The Weather Bureau predicts it will be the hottest week for 47 years. If this does turn out to be accurate it will give some ammo to global warming believers, no doubt!

In any case, the beaches are sure to be absolutely packed. It's bang in the middle of school holidays, so there will be families galore at all the main beaches.

Today, conditions are unusually dangerous for swimmers in part because of large swells. Many people have been rescued from the surf already. Hopefully the waves will subside over the next few days because if they don't the lifesavers are really going to have their work cut out for them.

Then there is the shark threat. There have been numerous sightings already this summer. It seems quite likely that there will be more in coming days.

All these factors combine to create an aura that seems far from relaxing to me. It's certainly very different to my experience of growing up in Perth in the seventies. There were many long, hot summers then too, of course. But the beaches were much less crowded than they are now. And while I do recall seeing the odd news report about a shark being spotted, they were very few and far between. I was certainly never present at a beach when one occurred, that's for sure. And like so many kids back then (and now) I spent countless hours in the water swimming, and later surfing.