The current wave of searing heat blazing its way across the United Kingdom is creating acute difficulties for all those involved in the science and practice of precise measurement, from anxious scientists and surveyors to exhausted, scoop-wielding ice cream vendors as they dream of the luxury yachts they will buy with the season's takings.
With wooden rulers catching fire and steel tapes melting, increasing reliance is once again having to be placed on more permanent, geographical units, and particularly on internationally recognised standards such as the area of that principality sticking out of the left-hand side of Britain, about half-way up.
So how much has the size of Wales increased in recent days? 'By an area almost as great as the size of Anglesey' explained Professor Jones from the University of Bagwyllydiart. 'Unfortunately, this is complicated by the fact that Anglesey itself, of course, has also expanded. So the expansion is exponential.'
'But we're keeping that quiet because of all those numerically illiterate people who think 'exponential' necessarily means a rapid growth and that Wales is therefore on its way to enveloping the entire planet, covering it, drystone wall-to-drystone wall, in sheep and male voice choirs. A snail's shell, for example, grows 'exponentially' but we're not in any immediate danger of being crushed by an avalanche of giant killer snails slithering relentlessly across the land.'
'So how much has the size of Anglesey increased, you ask. Easy! By an amount, almost the size of Holy Island. Er, except that that, too, has expanded - by more than the size of South Stack.'