Posted by Ian
As I write, the sky outside is pitch black. Thunder is rolling almost continuously, and lightning flashes are streaking across the giant, cavernous clouds. Rain is battering the office windows, washing in great waves down to the ground. Below me I can see hapless punters scurrying for cover or blithely battling through the storm with only a plastic bag for cover.
It’s undoubtedly dramatic, and undeniably exciting, but unaccountably disappointing? No. British summers have historically been inconsistent and far from sunny. It’s only because we’ve had a couple of blindingly hot summers of late that people are now talking as if this year has been some sort of appalling anomoly.
Let’s get this straight. It’s not. This kind of weather is normal. This is what comes from living in a country with a changeable, temperate climate. People have forgotten how wet British summers can be. Giddy with the memory of temperatures in the mid-high 30 degrees Celsius, the nation has lost its sense of perspective and history.
I can remember many summers ripe with rain. I can recall it pouring for 24 hours non-stop in July 2005. Summer 2000 was a washout where I lived. Most of June 1997 unfurled to the backdrop of persistent showers. And so on. In the same way the country seems to go to pieces when a bit of snow falls in – gasp – the winter, so a similar convulsion appears to grip us when a spot of heavy rain arrives in – gasp – the summer.
Here at MSN we’ve been caught out. Many of the articles people had planned to write and publish have had to be postponed, perhaps indefinitely. Features on barbeques, gardens, sunglasses, suncream, beachwear, summer drives, summer officewear, summer exercise and even summer gadgets – they’ve all been filed away for another day. Maybe another year.
It seems we’ve got lessons to learn. Just because one year boasts the hottest, sunniest summer ever, it doesn’t follow we should draw up our editorial plans for the next year being the same.
As a nation we should also be making plans, to ensure the kind of devastation wreaked by the recent flash floods doesn’t become a regular event.
Meanwhile let’s calm down, stop being so doom-laden and not use the weather as an excuse for a mass moan.