Saturday, 12 May 2007

‘Rimy and Damp'

I have been living in the UK for a year now. It takes a full cycle of seasons before I feel comfortably settled in a new country, and as I am well in to my second spring, the time has come to take stock of my new situation and set down my observations.


England is so effortlessly green. With my family and friends back home in Australia in the grips of a dispiriting drought it is extraordinary to look out the kitchen window each morning at all that greenness. But then it is so green because it is so bloody wet.

‘Manchester gets more rainfall than the Amazon!’ I read somewhere in the papers. Surely the Amazon can't be that wet... But they are prone to the odd bit of exaggeration here because the same paper quoted last August that the south of England is ‘drier than the Sudan’, from a politician who had obviously not gone to Khartoum for his last summer hols.

The English firmly believe they have extreme weather, and having lived through an impressive gale a few months back I am reluctant to counter their claims, but I think it is fair to say that the locals here have a great sensitivity to meteorology.

BBC TV’s weather ‘caster’ (as they are called, as if casting lots) stands in front of a screen at the beginning of their bulletin showing a shot of the skies above some spot in the UK with a pithy invocation of the weather. This is one of the things I am enjoying about England – they have a literary heritage that comes through even in graphical weather bites.

These few words are wondrous in their emotive brevity, ‘Rimy and Damp' it might say, or ‘Squally showers'. I love these little comments so much I think I will name my blog posts after them (unless the wind changes, of course).



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