Posted by Laura
Yesterday it hailed in Clapham, my neighbourhood. Today I am perplexed, confused and in a state of disarray over what exactly I’m supposed to do with this bout of freakish capriciousness the heavens have thrown at us.
I was woken this morning by sunshine, took it as a clear signal it would be sartoriallly acceptable to wear flip-flops to work (any glimmer of a ray in Britain in July is a green light for inappropriate footwear to surface), then as soon as I left the house it bucketed it down.
Seeking to remedy my chilled toes, I opted for a hearty warming soup for lunch – during which, predictably, blue skies materialised out of nowhere. Since then, foreboding grey clouds of doom have heralded the arrival of a rain-soaked armageddon no less than four times this afternoon. It’s exhausting and disrupting trying to keep up with Summer 2007 – but I’m not writing it off just yet.
Morale has such taken a beating by the weather over the past few weeks that even the hardy, Henman-heartbroken Brits at watery Wimbledon are showing signs their reserves are just about depleted. However, I can think of at least five good reasons this summer beats the sunny, sultry days of summer 2006. Here’s why:
1) England fans haven’t had to face any form of footballing shame this year. By this time in July 2006, England had lost to Portugal and were safely back on these shores. Nothing could add to the weather-weary gloom than another tale of footballing woe.
2) Glastonbury happened this year. Sure, it was wet and muddy, but that’s what festivals are all about. Last year was Glasto-less; the organisers promised it would come back bigger and better than ever – and it did.
3) Britain is not in meltdown. Public transport doesn’t smell (too bad) and huge sections of cities are not without fans or power because the grid can’t cope with the demands of increased air-con use during the ‘sweltering’ heat – despite hotter European countries managing to cope with this no problem.
4) Bars are smoke-free this summer. This is especially advantageous given that beer gardens have been rendered unusable due to the torrential downpours.
5) Britain is greener. Last summer, pitches, parks and commons were arid, beige patches of scrub – this year they are lush, verdant and beautiful. As I pass Clapham Common on my way home tonight – fresh from its dose of hail, rain and more rain – I’ll be able to smile, because at least that’s how my neighbourhood is supposed to look. The British weather, true to form, has made it recognisable again.