IF rumours are to be believed, us Brits are rather partial to talking about the weather - and amid the current heatwave Dorset residents are no exception.

After the Met Office imposed a four-day 'extreme heat' weather warning for the south coast - the first of its kind in the UK since a new system was introduced - it's no wonder current scorching temperatures are the talk of the town.

As temperatures remained in the mid to high twenties throughout yesterday, with the extreme heat warning remaining in force until tomorrow, we spoke to businesses and organisations around Weymouth and Portland to find out how they're faring during the heatwave.

Helping Weymouth's residents and visitors keep cool since the 1930s is Rossi's, seller of homemade Italian ice-creams on The Esplanade.

Dorset Echo:

"It's lovely to be having a good season - we're pleased to be making the most of the weather before it's too late," said owner Fulvio Figliolini.

"Our biggest concern is our machinery - it's designed to keep things cool, but kicks out a lot of heat in the process - ostensibly it's hotter inside than out - although it doesn't hurt to lose a few pounds," he quipped.

"Everyone is happy after buying once of our ice creams - it's lovely to see people in the holiday spirit.

"We still have covid-safe measures in place and haven't changed our operations much since lockdown ended, as I've got family to look after - including my extended family, ie the staff - so we can't afford to get 'pinged' (by the NHS track and trace app.)"

Also feeling the heat are Weymouth's Beach Office team and RNLI lifeguards as crowds packed out the famous golden sands.

Dorset Echo:

Beach Office staff have been handing out special wristbands to help reunite lost children with parents, while lifeguards keep a close eye on the water.

So far people have been enjoying the sunshine safely according to Weymouth Town Council, which runs the facility.

"We are delighted to see so many people keeping themselves topped up with sun cream and water throughout these scorching days," a spokesman said.

"It has been a fantastic week of hot weather which has helped Weymouth’s local businesses boom. Our beach team is handing out lost children wristbands which help reunite parents and their children faster, while RNLI lifeguards are providing outstanding water safety cover through these very busy times."

Over on Portland, residents have been experiencing ‘tropical' night-time temperatures, as according to the Met Office, mercury remained above 20 degrees overnight.

The Met Office shared a tweet that observed that Portland saw temperatures hit 20.1 degrees during Sunday night and were forecast to be even hotter last night at around 22 degrees.

The heat has posed unique challenges for Jon Illsley from Fancy’s Farm on the island, who has taken to hosing down each of his pigs upon the hour in a bid to keep them cool.

Dorset Echo: John Illsey at Fancy's Farm, Portland Picture: Geoff Moore/Dorset Media ServiceJohn Illsey at Fancy's Farm, Portland Picture: Geoff Moore/Dorset Media Service

"Although we have plenty of shade for them, you can tell they really appreciate their hourly cooling showers,” Mr Illsey said.

It’s another task at his open farm visiting centre, which he runs with his wife Su.

Not only do they have to keep the pigs cool, they have miniature horses, goats, rare sheep, donkeys, chickens and ducks. Plus 16 wallabies from Australia - which seem to be able to cope with the heat.

Dorset Echo: Wallaby at Fancy's Farm Picture: Geoff Moore/Dorset Media ServiceWallaby at Fancy's Farm Picture: Geoff Moore/Dorset Media Service

"We rely on donations from tourists - but the heat means visitors are heading to local beaches and not to us," he added.

Concerns for the county's four-legged residents were also raised by Dorset Police. The force is urging people not to leave dogs in cars.

"Even with the windows partly wound down your dog can suffer from heatstroke and die," a spokesman for the force said.

And the exceptionally hot weather also led to Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service issuing a warning yesterday to remind of the risks of fires in the open.

Group manager for the brigade Darren Langdown said: “While the hot weather is very welcome after the recent rain, it does increase the risk of fires spreading quickly if something happens to cause ignition.

"We are urging local farmers to take extra care while cutting crops, as sparks from hot machinery can easily lead to a field catching fire, and we ask everyone enjoying our beautiful countryside and coastline to be extra careful with anything that could lead to a fire starting.”