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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.

Is sunshine good for office workers?

Is sunshine good for office workers?

When the first sustained period of sunshine comes after the long dark winter, people tend to go a bit mad, and gobble up as much of the sunshine as they can. We even went for an impromptu picnic on Sunday – although onto a piece of green land surrounded by busy roads, so it’s rather arguable how close to nature we got.

However, during the week, what can I do to take advantage of all this sunshine? Sure, I could go out and sit on the lawn – but then what? My brain won’t switch off from worrying about emails, and it’s not as if I’ll be hanging out with my team – i tried to organise a work celebration lunch three times but scheduling conflicts always seemed to get in the way. And going further afield for a spot of good lunch seems rather impractical.

So I end up grabbing a lunch from somewhere, and sitting back at my desk – with the brief exposure to noon sunshine enough to convince me that it’s bloody hot out there, and I should head back inside to the safety of my desk and emails.

Oddly, I then started IMing my wife, asking if she and our son had been outside for a bit of sun yet. Why is it that I’m eager for our baby son to have some sunshine (albeit with protection) when I tend to run and hide from it?

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