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The British illusion about summer and the weather…

The British illusion about summer and the weather…

Now that we’re getting rather unseasonably warm temperatures for September/October across the UK, the old stereotypical mutterings are cropping back up about how we Brits are obsessed about the weather, and how we didn’t have a summer at all. Allow me to blow away at least one of these often-muttered statements.

Sure, maybe the British are occasionally occupied with the weather. Maybe the best way to start off a ridiculously casual and pointless conversation with a random person at the bus stop is to mutter something about the weather. But we British have nothing, as per usual, on the Americans.

They have a weather channel on every cable station that pumps out nothing but weather news 24-7. The local news goes into excruciating detail about the local weather conditions. Americans will often mutter on their way to work “Oooh, it feels like a high 70s today” or something, without having actually left their house or checked the news forecast. Ironically for a nation with wild temperature extremes, they can tell when you turn up or down the air conditioning by ONE Farenheit. The only reason they don’t get the reputation about being weather-obsessives is that generally, they don’t talk about it to random strangers on the bus. Mostly because they don’t really have buses. We British don’t really do any of that.

Of course, this may well be down to the extreme weather conditions Americans get – deep snow in the winter, scorching heat and tornadoes in the summer. In contrast, Britain gets temperatures of 26 Celsius or 80 Farenheit, and to us, it feels like we’re in Arizona.

The other thing that the British mutter, every summer without fail, is that we’ve never really had a summer, ie a sustained period of hot weather with sunshine. Given that most weekdays during the summer, I’m stuck in an office, the appeals of sunshine are somewhat lost on me but it usually feels like we’ve had the same summer as we have every summer. One year, I want to maintain a daily log of whether today is summer or not, and then collate the results at the end.

Of course, it’s one thing having sunshine and summer weather. But what do you DO with it? It’s too hot to actually stay out in the sun for more than a few minutes – and sure, it makes biking more fun, but the days of sitting in the back garden of a pub with a nice pint of beer are alas well beyond me these days.

1 Comment

  • Shari

    Our weather is a bit more extreme than what you have there. I was there for a total of 10 months and I don't remember looking at the weather once. I have to check it constantly here, as it had a high of 81F today and 58F tomorrow…. and yes, we are big on our climate control – it keeps our sanity since what is outside is constantly changing! (and the news, they are always sensationalizing it – the heat wave is on, how long will it last? – major snow snow is on the way! – rain and potential flooding, film at 11…..)

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