Would it be alright if I have a bit of a ……. Rant? (Part Two)


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(Part Two)

Personally I blame…

… the weather presenters. 
That’s not to say I don’t love them.  Particularly the BBC ones. Sometimes I stay up when I’d really like to go to bed just to see who is presenting the weather. Then I have to watch not only the News at Ten weather but also stay up to view the local BBC news ‘where you are’, just so I can see who’s presenting that weather too.  They’re like old friends, and I do of course have my favourites.

Which I feel a bit guilty about – it’s a bit like a parent having a favourite child. We know we shouldn’t but we do.  Oh come on – every parent has a favourite, although admittedly ‘The Favourite’ changes on a minute by minute basis, usually in direct correlation with the heinousness of their current behaviour.  Anyway, I have my favourite weather presenters, but let me tell you – I’m bloody well going off them at the moment.

You have to be a total sadist to regularly deliver impending bad news with such boundless enthusiasm.  All the leaping about, waving arms and big smiles.  And how can they confidently predict temperatures for 2060 when they can’t even get tomorrow’s right?  Not even close.

Mind you, I do think our UK weather presenters are the best in the business, particularly the BBC ones.

Take the adorable Tomasz. He totally twinkles on screen and is the sort of young man every mum wants for a son, albeit his lock-down hair was a bit unexpected – he went from sharp haired clean-cut BBC to Frodo Baggins in what seemed like a very short space of time. To be fair it happened to all of us – I just wasn’t expecting that amount of bouncy curls – who would have guessed?  But it’s hard to maintain a soft spot for someone who regularly delivers hideous news with such a rapturous enthusiasm.

Then there’s Carol – golden glowing Carol, the mature dad’s calendar girl.  That woman could warm the stoniest heart and have them eating out of her hands in seconds.  Weather Goddess – and No.1 Weather Assassin. She’s bubbly, she’s lovely, then she delivers the blow with spear-like precision and you’re suddenly running to nail down anything that could be ripped up by Monsoon Mavis or whoever else it is that’s headed fast and furiously our way.

And Louise – you’re in safe hands with Louise.  Professional, sharp-dressed (though sometimes rather unexpected outfits) she animates the weather map like a passionate artist, each new pointer illustrated with mesmerising hands, every disastrous detail illuminated to perfection – she describes our horrific impending future with thrilling gusto.

Stav’s my favourite, I’m always delighted to see Stav. He has a huge smile that sticks to his face just a little bit too long before he realises he’s on and he can start talking. Completely love him for that – he lulls you into an entirely believable false sense of benign security – and then you realise he’s just told you your very special long awaited once in a life-time bucket-shop event is going to be a complete washout because of Hurricane Harold.  It takes skill to deliver devastating information with such a champion smile.

John – he’s a bit of a looker!  I feel a strange compulsion to say “Hello John” out loud whenever he comes on, I’m not sure why, I know he can’t hear me. The Egg doesn’t flinch – stares straight ahead as if I haven’t just warmly greeted a TV weather presenter like an old friend – (I’m his own personal edition of Goggle Box, only more annoying).  Then, after convivialities from me to John are done, he expertly shares the horrendous news as if you’re down the pub having a pint …… complete ledge!

Oh Sarah, Sarah – pretty, sunny, warm, I’m always glad to see Sarah.  Then she wraps up your awful day of wall-to-wall sheet-rain nicely, smiling with the bestial allure of an angelic vampire.

Not forgetting Elizabeth – delicate, demure, confidential – like a best friend she delivers the news with a dagger to the heart and then twists – ruthless!  Any unmentioned – Matt, Chris –  you’re all just as devilishly talented. But I digress….

Anyway, it’s the end of August, obviously The Summer (I use the term loosely) is over, and I think I’ve had enough of UK Summer 2023.

 —– // —–

 

Except, now it’s October.

October – and whaddayaknow? – bloody Summer est finally bloody well arrivee’!

The Teen Wretches have long since gone back to school.  I’ve finally managed to wrestle The Triffids to the ground and yielded the harvest – the impressive sum of six small wizened fruits – SIX! – brazenly masquerading as tomatoes. Crippling disappointment!

I’ve put away my floaty lightweight dresses in readiness for the cold spell that is surely about to hit us.  I am confident in the knowledge that we are now heading rapidly towards Christmas and the weather will surely reflect this.

But no.  Not a bit of it.  Not even close. Now – NOW – IT’S DECIDED ITS SUMMER!  After eight long weeks of wall-to-wall stair rods and pneumonia-inducing chill – and we have a freaking SEPTEMBER SLASH OCTOBER HEATWAVE (eyes tight shut and mouth in a straight line emoji).

😑

 

—–//—–

“Turnem out nice agin, aaarh”.

The Incorrigible Lab was trotting industriously along behind me, nose glued to the ground, over-reacting with exaggerated taut tail, rigid legs and on-end hairs to every last whiff on the wind (windy whiffs as I call them – tickles me – it’s the little things….)

I reel around to encounter an unexpectedly cliched ‘farmery-ish’ farmer, leaning on the gate we were approaching.

He couldn’t have looked more like a character straight out of Vicar Of Dibley if he’d tried.  Old baggy trousers held up under a bulging tummy with what could have been hay-bale string or something of that ilk, loose, shabby-flappy shirt with sleeves rolled up and an old, battered hat to keep the sun off.  If he’d had a piece of straw in his mouth I would have embraced him.

“Er, yes, it’s lovely isn’t it?  Nice to have a bit of good weather at last. Me and the dog are loving it.”

I turn to wait for The Lab who’d now spotted something of miniscule interest which will almost certainly engage him for the next half hour if I don’t drag him away.  Our walks can take eons – every available blade of grass has to be pee-ed on before we can proceed – God only knows how spacious his bladder is. He seems able to have a quick spurt on anything vertical for hours at a time and yet still have some left in the tank at the end – astonishing!  Seriously impressive bladder control – men take note!

“Ye’rm, bu’ it’n no good wi’ therm ‘ornets an’ such – too ‘art n all.  Don’ know wherem arm comin’ ar goin’, me…”  He tails off, fixes me with a gappy smile and waits expectantly for my reply.

I hadn’t a freaking clue what he’d just said.

He continues with gusto.  “Min’ ya, I don’ like it so ‘art – n’ it’n rainin’ thas marnin’ n’all – nartin’ but a few draps n’all, but betta n’ th bards n th bees ya know…. “

What the actual…? This is East Sussex….

I glance quickly around for a TV camera crew.  This is obviously a joke.  I’ve suddenly found myself crashing an episode of New Darling Buds of May and I’m being spoofed.  But there’s definitely no one here except me, the Incorrigible Lab and ‘Farmer Giles’, who’s now smiling amiably at me and calmly waiting for me to make some fabulously pertinent comment to what he’s just said.

A violently uncontrollable urge to giggle rises in my throat, and shoulders heaving, I have to do one of those gargley throat-clearing sounds to swallow it.  The Lab looks as if he’s going to pee again but this time appears to be headed purposefully for Farmer Giles’ gnarly old boot. It’s reasonably vertical so in doggie thought processes it’s fair game.

“Yes, yes, it is… it’s…. well, it’s nice.  Isn’t it.”  I realise I’ve failed miserably to respond with any even remotely sounding enlightened content, but smiling and waving heartily as a get out I slip quickly past him. Clambering clumsily over the stile I drag The Lab along with me before he can disembark the contents of his bladder anywhere near my new farmer friend’s boot – it’s a close thing.  I stagger back to the Dog Mobile which persistently stinks of ‘wet lab’ even when he’s dry.  (It also famously has – amongst other inexplicable but impressive dents – a substantial section of the passenger side rear-end body work missing. Not sure where it went – it’s a characterful sort of car) – and I collapse onto the front seat in giggles.

God, I love the Brits!  I think of our friendly office Postman Paul, and how he has his thermal coffee cup filled each day by one of us at Bricks & Stitches, as together we dissect that day’s weather in the minutest of detail.

And we love it – it never palls.

“Now I know why you Brits all talk about the weather so much. There’s so damned much to talk about!” 

The words of my old US pal play inside my head again, and I suddenly realise that’s IT!  THAT’S WHAT MAKES US BRITS! IT’S WHY NO ONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD GETS US!

It’s because of our shites-ville weather that we are the only ones who understand us!

Stoic, resilient Brits.  No one does disappointment like a Brit! We have to – every day is a potential disappointment when you’re at the mercy of a bloody shitty little micro-climate like ours.

Mind you, it’s probably not only because we have awful weather.  Perhaps it’s because we’re in it together, whether we like it or not.  Because perhaps we’re just a little bit different. It’s what no one else really understands – and possibly loathe – about us.  It’s that which unites our crazy little Island, sitting pertly in the North Sea – that separates us from the rest of Europe (even without taking the shoreline into account). Perhaps we never really were in Europe when I think about it, even though we were on paper – because we’re so damned different from the rest of Europe it’s laughable. We’re so – damned British!

Our humour is different – our national food choices are different – (no one does fish and chips like us!), our landmark history is different – our way of looking at life is different, our sense of survival is different, and – more to the point, OUR WEATHER IS DIFFERENT! From everywhere else.  Which makes us – Brexit or not – just different.

I think of our Scottish brethren, and I don’t want them to go.  Of our Welsh and Northern Irish brothers and sisters – all of whom we love-to-love-and-love-to-hate, and I realise we’re family. One big, arguing, tormenting, fighting, laughing, precious family.  We’re squabbling siblings – loathing each other and frustratedly arguing blue murder at times but – there’s a bond that goes deep like no other.

It’s not that any one of us can’t go it alone – each is strong in talent, skills and commodities but – are we greater than the sum of our parts?

Come to think of it, we’re Billy No-Mates really!  Americans hate our brilliant British sense of irony and very non-PC pi** taking humour.  The French hate our shameless lack of chic, and the fact that we totally understand how to queue.  The Italians hate our food – (actually everyone hates our food) and – EVERYONE HATES OUR WEATHER!

No man is an Island.  But we are.  Together.

 

(BUT OUR WEATHER IS STILL REALLY SHIT.)

     —-//—-

 

Ruminations Of A Mad Cow

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October 10, 2023