This summer has been the best one of all in the 4 years I have been living in the UK. It’s been reasonably hot and we have had absolutely no rain. Richmond Park and the Wimbledon Common have been as dry as the South African bushveld and I couldn’t care less. I don’t want rain. I know it’s important and we need it for plants and crops and to avoid water restrictions. But I don’t care. British weather depresses me and, after my usual navel-gazing, I’ve decided it is the rain and grey clouds that irritate me most.
Rain in the UK is unique. It doesn’t come pelting down in one big torrent as it does back home. It dribbles incessantly and unpredictably and feels like walking in a giant, cold steam bath.
This means I can never figure out if I need my umbrella or not or, Murphy’s Law, I forget it altogether. In South Africa, I never even owned an umbrella. I now have a growing supply of cheap brollies, like my stash of Bic pens. People often forget their umbrellas at my house, which is also convenient and has helped me build up a collection. The thing with cheap umbrellas is they are so flimsy and they turn upside down at the slightest wind that then renders them useless, especially when your hands are tied up with shopping bags.
People get into a tizz when it rains and that irritates me too. I think Londoners wake up, look outside at the weather and, when they see rain, they panic and think, ‘Code Blue Code Blue’. People rush rush rush on the pavements, looking only at their feet so they don’t step into a puddle. They never look ahead and consider that they may gauge my eyes out with the spokes on their umbrellas.
People hate getting wet. I can picture them going ‘ew, ew, ew’ in their heads and I want to bellow at them, ‘For goodness sake, it’s only water and you won’t dissolve.’ Walking in the rain is stressful for me because I try to look at my feet and ahead of me at the same time. If you wear glasses it’s even more complicated as they mist up or get full of droplets like a mini windscreen.
Rain also annoys me because people equate rain with cold. They dress in their winter woolies and refuse to open train windows lest a rogue droplet hits them. This means that trains steam and the windows sweat and each carriage turns into a giant germ filled petri dish. When people hop on a bus or train, their first instinct is to shake their umbrellas like a wet dog. On crowded public transport, we are forced to cram together so I end up touching everyone else’s wet umbrellas with my trousers and I get a soaked bum or patch on my leg. I always envy kids in their McLaren prams that are covered in plastic sheeting. It must be like sitting inside a dry beach ball.
London seems to always be covered with a grey, waterlogged blanket of clouds and no ones knows when or for how long they will dribble. I wish they would open out, empty themselves once and for all and then disappear.
I’m contemplating whether I should buy a special lamp that gives off the same type of light as on a clear summer’s day. It helps people who suffer from S.A.D (Seasonal Adjustment Disorder). I’m hoping it will help me get through another grey winter. It costs £50 and that seems a lot but, when I think about it, it’s actually a small price to pay to make me H.A.P.P.Y for over 6 months.