Do not be misled by memories of your youth when, on the Continent, wanting to describe someone as exceptionally dull, you remarked: ‘He is the type who would discuss the weather with you.’ In England this is an ever-interesting, even thrilling topic, and you must be good at discussing the weather.
I often struggle to identify myself as English (the accent betrays the confusion brought about by a mixture of foreign parentage and a gypsy-like propensity for moving) but on days like this one I fully embrace the weather-loving stereotype.
Today we have experienced quite a lot of weather, and frankly, I think there is no greater day in England than when we have genuine reason to put this favourite of topics at the centre of our conversation.
The news (and I mean news – it was the second item on the 6 o’clock broadcast from the BBC) was the torrential, tropical-like rainstorm that hit our sceptered isle today. Thunder, lightning, a month’s worth of rain falling in only two hours, hailstones the size of golf balls, mudslides and floods, were just some of the dramas experienced in our green and pleasant land.
Having spent a day in Durham I arrived back into the Toon just after 4 o’clock, to find rain streaming through the roof of the station, and at least an inch of water covering the platform (really not a good day to wear a floor-length skirt, although at least my deck shoes got a taste of what they were made for). Apparently, I arrived just in time, since the station was closed just 20 minutes later, and the Metro shut down not long afterwards, due to landslides and flooded tunnels. A narrow escape from a night stranded in Durham. Can you imagine? Quelle horreur.
It has all been jolly exciting, and made me miss Jo’burg storms (and so, Jo’burg) where this kind of storm was decidedly par for the course during the summer months. Not so here, where weather is frequently just a lot of greyness and dampness and coldness: quite uninteresting.
But not today. No, no, no. Today we have had weather.
In summary: under water.