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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.

Britain’s collective summer amnesia

Britain’s collective summer amnesia

Why does it always rain on me??

Every summer, Britain seems to get collective amnesia at the first sight of substantial rain. Even now, on Twitter, lots of UK people are lamenting Where has our summer gone?.

This somewhat neglects the fact that less than 6 weeks ago, we were in the middle of a summer heatwave, with hosepipe bans and weather health alerts posted. For days and days it seemed as if the weather would do nothing but bake golden sunshine.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but it happens EVERY YEAR. And without fail, people will come back to work in August or September and lament where has my summer gone. It hasn’t gone anywhere – we had it, and we loved it at the time. Remember?

Obsessed with snow? Moi?

Obsessed with snow? Moi?

An hour after I made this video, the snow has stopped. Oh snow Gods, why do you punish me thusly?

Why does it only ever so slightly snow on me?

Why does it only ever so slightly snow on me?

So I go to bed last night, resigned to seeing none of that glorious white stuff.

Until Anni rudely wakes me up via text at 6.30am to tell me to look out the window. Befuddled, I do – and see the glorious sight of snow falling down past my window into central Cardiff. Joy of joys – only tempered by the fact that since it’s bloody early, it’s still dark and the snow is illuminated by the orange street lights which makes it look, frankly, urine-stained.

By the time I actually emerge from my nice warm bed an hour ago, dawn has just broken through and Cardiff slowly awakes. The snow has stopped, but the sun is shining brightly and the snow has settled ever so briefly on the ground. Life looks beautiful in its stillness, and there are reports from Miss R of glorious snow in North Wales. So I ignore it all and go back to bed.

Why does it never snow on me?

Why does it never snow on me?

Yet again, the weather forecast suggests snow. Lovely, delightful, cleansing, pure snow. Snow that brings out the child in all good-thinking imaginative adults, and the chance to wear your winter gear and woollen mittens.

Unlesss you happen to be me, living in Cardiff. Because yet again, the snow seems to be set to fall everywhere in Wales. Except Cardiff. It’s snow not fair.

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