10 Things England Taught Me About the Weather
I had lived in England for about twelve years, on and off before I sat down and realised what this country taught me about the weather. In most countries talking about the weather may seem trivial and superficial, but not in England. Here the weather talk is serious business and you must treat it as such.
These are the most important lessons England taught me about the weather:
1. One must treat a sunny day as an important event
Because it is. There are not as many of those available as we would like. So when the sun peeks through the grey clouds that haunt England, join the mothers who aim their children’s push chairs toward the park and the happy dogs running around without their leashes and take your bicycle out of the shed.
2. One must wear sandals if the sun is out
Even if it is 13º! It does not matter if you are going to walk along the high street, going for a stroll in around the cliffs in Rottingdean or to cycle to a friend’s house to share a cup of tea and to talk about how lovely the weather is. If the sun is out, your feet should be too.
3. One must not wait for a warm day to enjoy a picnic
You can still have a picnic even if the clouds are covering the sun and you constantly repeat to yourself that you will need a two-day fix of drinking hot drinks inside to recover. At least when your friends and family ask you what you’ve been doing in England, you can proudly tell them how you have expanded your knowledge of the area beyond your host’s ground and first floor.
4. One must learn rain-related vocabulary
With this, you can make new friends. You do not want to look blankly at the nice old lady at the bus stop only because the weatherman told her about today’s drizzle, mizzle, trickle, dribble, sprinkle, light showers, spells, and spit. Do you?
5. One must own real waterproof gear if one likes hiking
Even if the sun is shining when you leave home, don’t count on it staying this way. Somehow the weather has its own sense of humour and might decide to spit on you during your entire stroll around the downs, only coming back out the moment you put the kettle on.
6. One can get a tan in England
And the best place for it is not in a sunbed or through applying generously self-tanning lotions all over your body but in the seclusion of your fenced garden. One must always consider the effects of looking like a ripe orange when using any other method.
7. One must learn weather talk is not superficial
It’s a serious business, not merely something you use to break the ice anymore. Everyone has something to say and so do you.
8. One must ignore the doctor’s advice
And ship the protective sun tan lotion back home. To get a tan in the back garden you need a very strong tanning oil and to make sure no trees or lampposts will get in the way of letting you soak in the sun.
9. One must have a “don’t stop me now” attitude
Freddy Mercury had it right. If you want to go kayaking down the river, do not look up weary at the skies, just do it—take your mobile phone in a waterproof cover to ask for assistance if needed. If you want to play with your airsoft gun, shoot in the woods be prepared to shot it in all weathers (and to get some white camouflage gear for the snow).
10. One must learn to appreciate wool
And take up knitting—or live with someone who did! Especially, in the freezing cold, long days of winter. Can you imagine just how depressing those days would be without a collection of colourful warm hats, scarfs and gloves to wrap you up warm while you look at the horizon waiting for the sun to come around?