Whether The Weather


It’s all around us, it affects our daily lives and the lives of millions around the globe. So, when we in Britain are derided over our favourite topic of conversation, I say, “Why shouldn’t it be?”

It’s impersonal, which appeals to our Brit stiff upper lip, and it invites either a brief response or a longer discussion. It can lead to that unusual variety of friendship between regular commuters who greet each other five days a week, miss each other if one is absent through holidays or illness, but may never ever learn each other’s names.

It is possibly the one topic which can be raised at a miserable wet bus stop between two strangers. If they’re of widely varying age even the most gawky of teenagers can usually drum up a response. If of different gender, a gentleman needn’t fear to be thought pushy towards a female!

Right now, of course, the weather dominates the headlines, with flooding misery up and down the country. Our hearts go out to those whose preparations for a lovely Christmas turned into a battle against the elements. Here in Dundee, we were just telling each other how relieved we were that Storm Frank seemed to have skipped past us, with not too much more than a gusty rainshower, when it turned round and bit us!

Incidentally, it seems I’m not alone in finding this naming of storms very odd. Jim Crumley writes in our local newspaper, the “Courier:

Ever since the Met Office started calling nasty storms by their Christian names as if they were people we knew and liked, they have been queing up out in the near Atlantic, hell-bent on rushing ashore to claim their 15 minutes of fame in our newspapers and on our TVs.

Well, quite!