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2 degrees behind the South of France: Heatwave here to stay

Officials are close to declaring a Level 3 heatwave. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The hottest day of the year so far has prompted a warning from health officials to look out for those who might be suffering.

The very young and old are said to be particularly at risk. The highest recorded temperature in the West was 29 degrees in Filton near Bristol. Public Health England say they're close to declaring a Level 3 heatwave in the West, which would alert authorities to take special measures to protect those at risk. But today families have been making the most of the hot weather.

Jane Solomons' report has more.

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Incredibly edible: elderflower is the star ingredient of the season

Elderflower is becoming increasingly popular as a flavour in drinks. Credit: ITV News

Fragrant, creamy and more and more popular in soft drinks, elderflower is the blossom of the summer. With perfect weather conditions, this year's crop is a particularly good one.

Dorset chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has this recipe for making your own elderflower cordial.

Ingredients:

  • About 25 elderflower heads
  • Finely grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons and 1 orange, plus their juice (about 150ml in total)
  • 1kg sugar1
  • heaped tsp citric acid (optional)

Method:

  • Inspect the elderflower heads carefully and remove any insects. Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest.
  • Bring 1.5 litres water to the boil and pour over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.
  • Strain the liquid through a scalded jelly bag or piece of muslin and pour into a saucepan. Add the sugar, the lemon and orange juice and the citric acid (if using).
  • Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, sterilised screw-tops or corks.

Rail workers vote to strike against First Great Western

Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

Rail workers have voted to strike against First Great Western in a dispute over safety and jobs.

The RMT union say they have raised concerns over new hi-tech Super Express trains, including the need to keep safety-trained guards on trains and possible job losses, but that these have not been resolved.

80% of the union's First Great Western members voted for strike action. RMT say they are open for further talks, and considering their next move.

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Alex Beresford says stay cool in the hot weather

Alex Beresford is prepared for hot weather - will you spot the fact that he's wearing shorts on his broadcasts today? Credit: ITV News West Country

We caught our weather presenter Alex Beresford as he was about to record the forecast. Temperatures could reach 28 C today and, as you can see, Alex is making sure he stays cool in the hot weather.

As well as presenting the weather in shorts (and looking very presentable in the hot weather), Alex has some advice from Public Health England on keeping safe in the heatwave:

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection
  • Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes, a hat and light scarf
  • Drink lots of cool drinks
  • Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as older people, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
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