Monday 16 May 2011


There is nothing the English like talking about more than the weather. I’m not sure if it is simply because it is the ultimate mundane and civilized pleasantry – which is ironic as they find our (American) mantra of ‘have a nice day’ so utterly cloying - or they simply find their weather fascinating. But whatever the case, when you are out and about, at some point during your day the weather will be discussed, be it by others, the shopkeeper, or yourself (having caved in to this inevitable ritual).

When I first moved here, I was amazed how often it could come up in a conversation. What the weather was currently like (rainy and sh*t), what it was due to become later that day (rainy and sh*t), or the whopper, what the weather was forecasted to become later that week (rainy and…). Anyone that lives in England knows two things, no one here can predict the weather, and the ‘professionals’ will always get it wrong. The other myth, in my opinion of course, is how much it rains. Fine, if you live in Scotland or Ireland, you’re pretty much screwed as you will be wet year round, but as far as I’m concerned, over the last ten years, the weather has steadily improved when it comes to rainfall in London. That said, our winters have turned into the Siberian tundra, so it hasn’t improved on all fronts.

About a year in I started to notice that I was becoming one of them…those weather discussers. I would hear myself in a store and have to look in the mirror to see if it was actually myself talking…“Isn’t this amazing weather today?” “They say it’s going to last till next week.” “I heard rain is coming.”  [For some reason, when I’m talking about the weather I start to feel oddly like I’m living in an episode of Little House on the Prairie].

It didn’t take long before I realized that the English were on to something – crafty lot of people they are. They had found not only the perfect conversation piece and segue for that matter, but the weather can become the entire meat of your conversation and still make you look a) friendly, b) interested and c) you won’t have to talk about anything else of consequence with the fray. God bless America! Oops, I’m sorry, I meant to say, God Bless the Queen! This of course led me to conclude that the English simply want to make small talk, but not delve too deeply, cause that would be uncivilized of course and far too revealing.

Hmmm, maybe it’s their culture’s way of saying that they are just not into you if they are talking about the weather? I of course also started to wonder if talking about the weather was also some sort of secret language amongst the English and that some phrases were code words for something else. Like… ‘They say we’re due for thundery showers,’ really means, here comes my husband and he’s being a real pill. Or, these sunny skies are amazing, but we really need some rain before the flowers start dying – means, “we’re planning a revolution to take back our neighborhood from all these damn yanks that keep appearing on our shores.”

Yes I have a wild imagination that runs away from me at times.

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