Behind the clouds is the sun still shining

To me, this has seemed a lovely summer so far. There’ve been occasional downpours, but also lots of clear, bright days, and several remarkably sunny ones. While this weekend itself has been lovely, lots of the past week has been great, and July in Oxfordshire gradually tended towards grand weather interspersed with occasional – and mostly avoidable, if you checked the right website – downpours. I’ve tried to extract as much as I could from warm and light – if sometimes wet – evenings, and I’ve really made an effort to make metaphorical hay whenever the literal sun shone.

Even when we were up in the south Hebrides we got decent weather. It rained a couple of days – that’s what happens towards the north of the temperate zone – but there was glorious sunshine for our trot down to the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse, with clear enough skies to see over to Rathlin Island and Ballycastle in Northern Ireland. Apart from one evening, days on the island ended with such glorious sunsets that even the midges were chilling out in their rays.

I say this definitively now, because I predict a lot of people are going to be complaining about the summer we’ve had so far. Lots of those will have spent many a downpour sat in their cars, and many a warm afternoon with the window wound down in a traffic jam; through the choices they’ve made and the lifestyle and travelling style they’ve chosen, they’ve forced themselves to wait for each weekend’s coin toss before they get out into the weather. And should it then start to rain, they’ve trained themselves to be so unused to, and unprepared for, a few drops of it, that they’ve ultimately let that spoil their whole day, and shored up another bank of moaning to keep them warm over winter.

While I don’t deny that this and other countries have definitely had some dangerous and extreme weather, at certain times and certain places, I’d like to state here and now that I’m very happy with how the Cotswolds climate this year; I think it’s treated me as fairly as I’ve treated it. I would also say that, if it’s climate change you want to talk about, then let’s start discussing that by all means; but running to hide in a motor vehicle every time it pours down isn’t going to help mitigate, or indeed ultimately reverse, its effects. Instead, get out of your car and enjoy the weather, whatever it’s currently doing. Grab a brolly, just in case.

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2 Responses to Behind the clouds is the sun still shining

  1. looby says:

    I actually like the climate of North Lancashire. Yes, you could say that’s an adaptation which you then express as a uninfluenced preference, but the vivid, changeable nature of our weather here is a delight, and far preferable to the steady grey skies of London. My children have been trekking across Langdale, probably in bright sunshine, this weekend, but have a gung-ho, heroic attitude to rain when it does come.

  2. smallbeds says:

    It’s definitely true that to have memories of lovely rainy days helps no end when it comes to avoiding being prissy and entitled about the weather. Today, when the rain started pouring on the car roof (I was on a rare trip to get it filled up and buy insulation) all I could think about was the joy of being in a static caravan drinking hot chocolate as the rain pounded on the roof. And many of my solitary walks as a growling teenager were taken in blustery weather: Mellor and Ramsgreave are so much more enjoyable to stride through when there’s something to stride against.

    But there’s more to it than that, I think; some responsibility definitely needs to be shared by the increasing neediness and desperation of capitalism. Look at the way that “successful” holidays – i.e. ones which are meant to relax you the most, i.e. hot, sunny (and basically foreign) tourism – have been sold over the years: my parents’ generation was told that it was a luxury to be dreamt of and occasionally realised; we were sold it as an aspiration to be desired and worked towards; but the next generation has been sold it almost as a right to be expected. If a twentysomething’s life doesn’t turn out like a Howies advert – pace Howies themselves – then they want to know why.

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