Saturday, 28 April 2012

The British Preoccupation With Weather...

The British are supposed to be totally fixated on the weather. It is a sort of national characteristic, rather as the Germans are thought to be well-organised early-risers and the French are supposed to be onion-selling cyclists. Foreign language lessons in British schools seems to bear this out - the weather conditions seem to feature heavily in all the language textbooks I've ever seen during cover lessons...

Several years ago I decided that the British preoccupation with weather resulted from the fact that we had so much of it. As an island with a temperate climate, one expects to have seasons. However, we do seem to be rather prone to having four seasons' worth of weather in the space of a week, and occasionally we get the lot in just one day. Speculation on the weather conditions therefore can occur at several points during the day, and the conclusions will not necessarily be the same in the afternoon as they were in the morning.

Given the vagaries of the British weather, you'd think we could cope with pretty much anything nature decided to throw at us, outside anything actually cataclysmic. This is far from being the case. Whatever the weather conditions, you can guarantee the British will be taken by surprise.

Snow is always a good one. It snows here most years, round about winter time, for about a week. It has been known to snow as late as April or as early as November, When the snow actually falls is immaterial, as is the length of time the weather forecasters have been warning of its arrival. For the week that the snow falls, the country grinds to a halt. The explanations are varied, but generally boil down to "nothing worked because it was the wrong type of snow."

I said we had seasons. Britain has a lot of trees, and in Autumn all the deciduous trees shed their leaves. This is a fascinating process, and it is also predictable. However, the rail network has more than once ground to a halt because of "leaves on the lines." Not whole trees, mind you. Just some wet leaves. The wrong type of leaves, you understand...

We do get some good weather. But as soon as the sun shines for more than a week, we hit problems. At the moment, we have drought warnings all over the south of England. There is a hosepipe ban in force. The fact that this is turning into the wettest April for goodness knows how long (with flood warnings being issued left, right and centre) is immaterial - it is, apparently, the wrong type of rain...

We are all guilty of using too much water, according to the water companies, and we have depleted the reservoirs and the water table by our indiscriminate washing of ourselves, our clothes and our cars. We also waste far too much on our gardens. The amount of water lost through the water companies' neglect of leaky pipe networks is totally negligible... according to the water companies, that is.

I'm the first person to admit that my knowledge of Geography is sketchy. However, last time I looked at a map, Britain was an island nation. Islands are, by definition, surrounded by large quantities of wet stuff. Surely it is not beyond the wit of Man to desalinate some of the stuff and stick it in some reservoirs? Or is that too simple a proposition?

In the meantime, I have two disgruntled Monsignori staring out of the catflap, trying to avoid looking like this...


2 comments:

voxinrama said...

Whahahahahaha!

It's been raining for about two days straight here.

Haven't left the house for two days straight.

If it weren't for my Sunday obligation.... ;)

Stitchwort said...

You should have posted a warning with this one, Mac! Something to the effect of "For the safety of your computer screen and keyboard, we recommend that you refrain from drinking coffee or other beverages while perusing this post."

My late husband was English and I've visited your beautiful island several times. This was hilarious!

My condolences to the Monsignori.

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