Archive for the ‘rain’ Tag

Let’s Talk About the Weather

The weather here in Britain has been somewhat depressing the last few weeks. We’ve had rain, wind and grey clouds. Occasionally the rain stops, the clouds move and the sun peeps out for a few minutes, at which point you start to feel a bit hot in your rain coat and winter sweater. But then the clouds roll over again and another torrential downpour starts up. We occasionally have a few days of hot sun, but this is invariably followed by more rain.

To be honest, this is not unusual weather for the British summer. However, as all this has been going on my family in Canada have been grumbling about relentless 40c heat and no rainfall for weeks, and it has made me think about the diversity of this small blue planet of ours.

We’ve been to places like Borneo and Vietnam, where it’s incredibly hot and humid. When it rains, the rain literally comes down in sheets, but it’s so hot that when it stops the streets dry out in a matter of minutes.

We’ve also been to the Nasca desert in Peru, where it rains once every ten years or so. We’ve seen the Nasca mummies, which are the skeletonised remains of people who died hundreds of years ago, their bones bleached white by the sun, their hair and clothing and sometimes even traces of skin still preserved because there’s no moisture in the air to rot them away.

Right now there are places on the planet that are suffering terrible droughts, and other places where there are floods. More than half of our planet is covered in water, yet still there are places that don’t get enough water to sustain life.

So we might complain about the weather – and in Britain it’s a national pastime. But it does serve to remind us that nature is a far more powerful force than humanity is. No matter how technologically advanced we get, we can’t control the weather.

Walking To Work

It’s a grey, cold, wet Autumn Monday. And there is a tube strike today. Not a good way to start the week.

My contingency plan for tube strike days (and this is the second in a series of four planned strikes over the next few weeks) is to leave the house really early, so if I have to walk to work from Victoria Station, I have sufficient time to do so. I was on the train this morning at 6:40 – the same train I catch when I come in early for my writing mornings.

I did go searching for a bus at Victoria Station, but there were already horrendous queues for all buses, even at 7:10 am. I can make the walk in 45 minutes, and I had left the house prepared to have to walk, so off I set.

My route takes me down Buckingham Palace Road and past the Palace (the Queen was not at home, it seems), and through Green Park. Emerging from Green Park I hang a right at Piccadilly, go past the Ritz Hotel and then turn left down Old Bond Street, which eventually becomes New Bond Street.

Bond Street is full of swanky designer shops. None of the items in the artistically arranged window displays have price tags – I guess if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. Even walking past these shops makes me feel like a bag lady. Fortunately for me, at 7:30 am none of the shops are open, so there are no supermodel-lookalike shop assistants to glare at me for bringing down the tone by walking past their doorstep in my hiking pants, back pack and walking shoes.

At the end of New Bond Street I turn right into Oxford Street and I am back into familiar territory.

I may have had to crawl out of bed at an ungodly hour to get to work this morning, but at least the rain held off for my walk, and I started the day with some exercise. I do rather hope I can find a bus back to the station tonight, though. One 45-minute walk in a day is plenty for me.

Rainy Days and Mondays

Most of the UK has had more snow the past few days. Here in London, we’ve been quite fortunate. We’ve had no more snow. We are, however, getting rain. Lots of it. Heavy and unrelenting. And carrying an umbrella doesn’t help much. It might keep the rain off your face, but the rest of your body gets soaked, and the pavements are all so wet you get a lot of splashback to soak your trouser cuffs. The drains are clogged – the rain runs in rivers down the side of all the roads, and avoiding getting splashed by passing cars is a tricky operation.

The rain has been falling, more or less continuously, for about four days now, and it is forecast to continue for the rest of the week. Although I much prefer rain to snow, it is hard to stay upbeat when you’re being relentessly pounded by rain. I have discovered I don’t own a coat or a pair of shoes that can cope with such unremitting rainfall. My nice stylish wool coat is still drying out, after it got a soaking during my journey home from work on Thursday. My unstylish Parka – allegedly waterproof – got drenched when I wore it to walk to the sports centre for my usual Sunday morning swim yesterday, and it’s still wet.

So now I am down to my wax-coated rain coat, which is atrociously unstylish. It doesn’t have a hood, but it does cover most of my body. So between it and my brolly, I can keep mostly dry apart from everything below my knees.

As I seem to possess no waterproof shoes, I have resorted to commuting in my hiking boots, which are at least thick enough and sturdy enough for the water to not penetrate through to my feet. Yes, I probably look like a bag lady as I trudge through London this way. At this point, that’s the least of my worries. My aim is to stay as dry as possible.

It’s hard enough to face down Mondays as it is, but rainy Mondays are even worse. Maybe I should go the whole unstylish mile and get myself a pair of green wellies to commute in.

Friday Musings

We’re a week before the bi-annual formal dinner I organise at work, which means I’m extremely busy and there are so many bits of paper on my desk I can’t see the surface.

It’s been raining non-stop all day, and I got splashed by a car as I went out to get some lunch.

But it’s Friday, and there are lots of things to feel good about. Tomorrow I can have a lie-in. Tonight I can spend a night at home with my hubby, with a bottle of wine and a few DVDs.

And in just a few weeks, I’ll be lying on a beach in Gambia soaking up the sun. Even if I have to take the laptop with me so I can work on my rewrite as I lie on my sun lounger, it’ll be good to escape the dreary British winter weather.

It might be Friday the 13th, but I’m not superstitious. Life is good.

Swimming in the Rain

The last couple of weeks have been unseasonably warm in London. But as we launch into November, Autumn has returned with a vengeance, with heavy rain all day and a brisk wind (the kind that makes it pointless to go out with a brolly, because the wind will turn it inside out).

However, I didn’t want to wimp out of my customary walk through the park to get to the sports centre for my Sunday morning swim just because of the weather. After all, I was going to get wet anyway, and I usually shower as soon as I return from my swim, so what difference will a little rain make? I did, however, dig out my big wax-coated rain coat before setting off.

Last time I walked through the park on a Sunday, it was full of families enjoying the lovely Autumn weather. Today it was completely deserted. In fact the only other people I encountered were joggers.

Of course, the walk was pretty miserable. The weather really is foul, and I can understand why people would rather stay at home. I began to think that those who maintain that people who exercise are mad may have a point. After all, we were the only ones out in the rain.

Rain Revisited

The Met Office appear to have backtracked on their original prediction (back in April, I believe) that the UK is in for a hot summer. They are now admitting they were wrong. It would appear that our two-week heat wave at the beginning of July was it, and we can now expect rain for the rest of the summer.

Well, if I have to keep the raincoat and umbrella handy for the next couple of months, so be it. We can’t control the weather. And this is the point, really. We’re a decade into the 21st century and we still don’t have the ability to predict the weather. I don’t think we ever will. No matter how technologically advanced the human race gets, we can’t control nature. As nature keeps reminding us. I still have the belief that one day, nature will get tired of our species and treat us the way we might swat a bothersome fly, erasing us from existence with some spectacular natural disaster.

So as we can’t beat nature we have to learn to co-exist with it, and that includes putting up with the rain. Well, at least there’ll be no water shortages this year.

Rain

The heatwave is over, and the humidity broke yesterday with a truly spectacular rain storm. We’ve had a lot of rain the last couple of days and the temperature has been getting ever cooler. Yesterday I left work on time, aiming to catch the 5:30 train out of London Victoria station.

I came out of Victoria underground station at about twenty past five, at which point the rain had become a solid sheet of water falling from the sky. Water was also pouring in through various places in the roof of Victoria station in torrents, creating a series of indoor waterfalls. The floor was already covered in three inches of water, and it seems the rain had only just started to fall.

I picked my way across the soggy concourse with my umbrella, as all around me people scurried for shelter. I was genuinely worried, at one point, that the roof was going to collapse – the sound of the rain pounding on it was thunderous, and the amount of water pouring in through the ceiling was startling.

Fortunately, there was no water coming down by the train platforms. I got on my train, and by the time it pulled out of the station – on time – the rain had eased off dramatically.

I later found out that Victoria station was closed at 5:30pm because of the serious flooding, and everyone trying to get home after that point had major problems. I must have been on one of the last trains that left.

I must have been charmed last night. Not only did I get home without a problem, the rain had stopped by the time I got off the train at the other end. I didn’t even get all that wet. How fortuitous is that?

Grey Monday

Mondays are a drag. Today, even the weather is being typically Monday – grey, overcast, dull. A blustery wind has picked up and rain is imminent. So much different from last week, when Spring finally made an appearance. I’m not sure where it’s gone this week, but clearly it snuck off somewhere when no one was looking. I’m still dressing for Spring, however. I will have to address that tomorrow, if Spring insists on staying away for a while; I’m feeling decidedly chilly today.

I have the Monday Blahs. I would rather be at home under my duvet (or maybe on my sofa with Leon and the Nintendo Wii blasting zombies in ‘Resident Evil’) than staring at my in tray trying to decide which of these boring but necessary phone calls to make first.

Sadly, though, I have to earn a living. Time to get back to work.