Wednesday 27 June 2012

...and so is Ian McCaskill

If you’re British or have ever spent any time in this country, you’ll know that we’re hopelessly obsessed with the weather. We’re blessed with a temperate climate that isn’t too much of anything: not very hot, not very cold; neither particularly wet nor too dry; not prone to cyclones or hurricanes or any other kind of extreme weather event…. Perhaps as a direct result of this, as a nation we seem to be fascinated with every tiny fluctuation in the weather conditions in every part of this little island.  We love the shipping forecast for heaven's sake.  It interrupts national broadcasting and is full of the most wonderful, impenetrable poetry - "North Utsire, South Utsire, Tyne, Dogger. Northeast 3 or 4. Occasional rain. Moderate or poor"- but how many people actually use it for its original purpose?  Don't they have radar and t'internet on ships these days?

This summer has been a case in point: it’s been a dry winter so we have hosepipe bans. This makes the news. Then we have a bit of rain, and that makes the news… because we have hosepipe bans (“you need to think of it like a bank account” said the man from the water board on the radio, “all this rain has topped up our current account in the rivers and reservoirs, but our savings accounts in the water table remains very dry”). Then we have some hot weather and the papers are full of people with their shirts off in the park. This weekend, we had floods and they made the news nationwide. We love a bit of weather here. But only a bit, mind.  We get nervous and excited if we get too much.

Anyway. If it wasn’t a fallow year, the Glastonbury Festival would have taken place last weekend. As I heard people in the office moaning about how it looked like we were not going to get a summer at all this year, I couldn’t help but think about the conditions that I’ve seen over the ten or so years that I’ve been attending the festival. I’ve been to some of the wettest Glastonburys on record – the floods of 2005 and the prolonged downpours of 2009 in particular; I’ve been to some sunny Glastonburys too – 1993 was lovely and 2010 was scorching… but as I went out for a run from the office one lunchtime this week, it struck me that the weather we’re having right now is pretty much typical of the weather I see when I’m standing in a field in Somerset drinking cider and watching a band I’ve never heard of: it’s a bit blowy and a bit damp around the edges, it might be a bit chilly with rain during the night, but there’s also enough sun about that you pick up a bit of a tan if you stand outside in a t-shirt all day. Wimbledon started on Monday too, and what’s that most famous for? That’s right, rain.

So, for all that it seems like we’re talking about the weather even more than usual at the moment we’re probably, er…. having entirely typical weather for this time of year? Haven’t we got anything else to talk about, for goodness sake?

Look, I realise that the fact I spoke about the weather on here myself only a couple of weeks ago means that I’m hardly in much of a position to criticise this obsession…..and by talking about it again now I’m just colouring in my own stereotype…. I’m just saying.

What a ridiculous people we are.


  1. Here in Western Australia, its raining. "Hammering down" is the phrase that comes to mind, with stormy weather including winds of up to 125km.

    Everyone just gets on with it, except for the huddled group of Brit-folk talking about the weather...

  2. We've already been having 100°+F (38°C) days here in Dallas. It's supposed to hit 102° today. The overnight lows are a chilly 75°F (24°C). Luckily the humidity is in the low 30% range, so the heat index isn't too bad.