Yes, it is my fault - I think I am to blame for our terrible weather over the summer. I supported the introduction of the national system to monitor the effects of excessive heat over the summer months.

And since this process started last year the great British summer seems to have come to a standstill.

I was originally enthusiastic about the process because I thought introducing a monitoring system to provide early warning of high temperatures was important. I first encountered this phenomenon when I worked at the Department of Health and had to attend European meetings. Colleagues from some European countries would get phone calls and suddenly have to leave the meeting to deal with emergencies as temperatures soared to 40 degrees.

It hit me that an even bigger problem than excess winter deaths would be the terrible effects of excessive heat. I often felt this would be particularly bad for people living in deprivation who had no chance of air conditioning or access to a ready supply of clean water.

So I embraced the introduction of high-temperature monitoring with enthusiasm. At the same time I was aware that sales of olive plants and grape vines were soaring in garden centres across England.

I was so concerned about the importance of the possible effects of heat waves that I insisted on putting it into our Local Resilience Forum risk register. My police colleagues were sceptical but humoured me - and gave it a low risk score.

But after that fateful day, the country was subject to continual rain, low temperatures and not more than a couple of days' respite throughout the summer. And sadly, all our returns over the summer months were poor.

We didn't even come close to temperatures of 35 degrees. As I write, the promise of that long-awaited an Indian summer is also beginning to fade. I am now reluctantly accepting that the monitoring is over for this year and as the temperatures of the world's oceans continue to rise, we can only wait to see what summer 2009 will be like.

Having felt quite guilty about my part in the summer wash-out, I did get an opportunity to redeem myself. My 17-year-old daughter discovered she had reached the age where she could give blood and persuaded me to join her at a donor unit at a local clinic. For some inexplicable reason, I had never got around to giving blood - but finally here was the opportunity.

It was a brilliant experience: you are really made to feel good that you have played your part in a process that could save someone's life. I also discovered that my blood type is B-positive - as for only 8 per cent of the population. I will certainly donate again - I hope it makes up for my contribution to the summer wash-out.

If you have not given blood either, I can recommend it. Yes, it is true you get pampered with tea and goodies plus a badge that instructs everyone to be nice to you today as you have given blood. It is also a great example of how the simplest things can make the biggest difference.