Great Britain is pretty famous for its barmy weather among other things but did you know that being barmy about the weather is also considered a very British trait? That’s right, according to an article published by The Telegraph in 2008, 58% of the 5000 adults questioned admitted that they like talking about nothing but the weather. The aim of the questionnaire was to find out what the British thought they were most commonly known for or what their traits were that set them apart from other nations. Talking about the weather obviously bagged first place and our innate talent for queuing took second place. The weather in the UK is quite a marvellous thing though, isn’t it? I mean nothing compares to the hot sunny beaches of Marbella but where’s the excitement in consistent weather?
Here, the weather constantly keeps you on your toes and figuring out what to wear becomes a chore but many of you have probably learnt that it’s probably a good idea to have an umbrella at hand – even on the sunniest of days. The weather forecast isn’t always helpful and you often find yourself confused because the weather app on your phone said it would be the driest day of the year but it turned out to be the wettest and you find yourself under a bus shelter so that you don’t get more drenched. Being unprepared for the infamously erratic British weather is quite normal, even among the British. Did you know that approximately 70% of Brits check the weather forecast once a day? This tendency varies with age according to The Telegraph again, with older people being more likely to tune in to the weather forecast. Personally, I consult various weather apps to work out what the weather is going to be like the following day. You can’t rely on just one and besides you’ve probably realised the weather forecast changes quite rapidly here… a week of sunshine could easily turn to a week obscured by dense clouds.
For some reason we also like to over-dramatise about the weather. Ever noticed that? July 2015 was quite a wet month not to mention windy. A typical British summer. But to stir hope up in people and get them excited the meteorological office started boasting that we were set for a heat wave in the following month that would make us see temperatures like the one we saw on the 1st of July , which saw ‘thermometers hit 36.7 degrees Celsius, roads melt not to mention railways resulting in a series of train cancellations.’ I’d like to ask what happens in countries that experience this kind of heat on a daily basis? Are commuters constantly stranded at train stations due to cancellations? When the slightest ray of sunshine peeks out of the perpetual clouds, it leads us to do things that would be deemed quite peculiar among those who haven’t been in Britain long enough to see the kind of banal weather we put up with most of the year and therefore wouldn’t understand the excitement. At the slightest rise in temperatures, we whip out our summer wardrobe and walk around as if 14 degrees Celsius was actually 28 degrees Celsius. But the nicest thing about the summer is that the better weather combats our SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and we become far more sociable and chill with our mates at the park or beach. This happens every where so you won’t be too surprised there but what probably doesn’t happen anywhere else, is someone deciding to sunbathe on a busy motorway instead of the pool side. Yup, this actually happened this year in August and resulted in the closure of the m27 for a couple of hours.
The same dramatisation of things happens in the winter. I remember how the country was bashed by “heavy” snowfall in the winter of 2010. Life literally came to a halt – flights and trains were cancelled, schools were closed. Unfortunately, people were stranded at airports just before Christmas. Funnily, I was held up in the chaos that the snowfall caused by having my flight to London cancelled and severe delays on a replacement flight to another airport in the country. Upon arrival I expected to be welcomed by mounds of snow but I wasn’t and it was a little annoying because we had seen snow the year before. Cold winters and possible snow fall is something that we should be ready for. Again, countries like Canada have massive amounts of snow but somehow they still cope.
So with all of the above, our obsession with the weather is pretty justified and its unpredictability certainly keeps us talking – be it as an conversation ice breaker or vocalising frustration, the weather is an extremely hot topic because there simply is nothing like it… you see, we don’t really have set seasons or weather but instead we have British seasons and British weather.