Tuesday, November 15, 2005

scattered showers

I am going to have to be terribly British and blog about the weather. I wouldn't normally be so nationally stereotypical, but in the absence of much else to report (no comedy gigs this week, sadly) I have nothing left to comment on but the weather. Having said that, it has suddenly turned absolutely freezing. In the space of a weekend it went from balmy Indian summer to sub-zero, scrape-yer-windscreen-in-the-morning, opening scenes from ER series 2 (the one with the snow under the railway) freeeezing.

You can always tell when the weather turns cold because the weather forecasters start treating the entire British public like sub-normal, geriatric idiots. After a brief spell in Autumn, when they insist on giving us gardening tips and bird-watching updates (I just want to know if it's going to rain - I don't give a shag about the bloody heron!) they start using their meals-on-wheels-lady voices to do the weather. They can't just tell us it's going to be cold. They have to remind us that, because it's getting cold, we'll have to "wrap up warm" and "don't leave the house without a hat". Because if the weather forecaster didn't remind you, you might pop out in a blizzard wearing nothing but a t-shirt. When did the weather forecasters become your mum?

And, while I'm ranting, why do they have to use such babyish language? These people have geography degrees and work for the British Meteorological Office (well, not the dollies on GMTV, but the other forecasters do). So why do they have to bombard us with terms like 'spits and spots of rain' or 'nasty squawly showers'? Is 'spits and spots' a technical term used by the International Meteorological Society? I'd hazard a guess that it isn't.

Truth is, the forecasters don't have time to tell us the weather properly anymore because they're too busy giving us a list of utterly undecipherable numbers. What is a pollen index exactly? And is a pollen count of 5 good or bad? And if it's bad, what exactly are we supposed to do about it anyway? I appreciate that the odd hay fever sufferer might want to know. But this summer the BBC forecasters were giving us grass pollen, tree pollen and weed pollen counts. For what? The odd half a percent of the population who sneeze a lot? Just tell them to buy a handkerchief and be done with it.

Mind you, I never actually listen to the weather forecast. Not because I don't believe in them. But because once I'm up and dressed and have put the telly on, I'm not going to change my clothes just because the care-worker-cum-meteorological-expert tells me to "wrap up warm". If my jeans don't match my warm coat, I'll wear my thin jacket, irrespective of any potential spits and spots of rain. I simply rely on that magical method of climate control - fashion. Because somehow, if what you're wearing looks good, but is not appropriate for the weather, you don't care. You just assume that the power of fashion will shield you from the sub-zero temperatures and the driving rain. When you go out on a Saturday night with a thin jacket and tiny clutch bag (no room for umbrella or warm hat) you just tell yourself that it won't rain on you because fashion dictates that you wear a jacket without a hood and carry a bag that holds nothing more than your bus pass and a fiver.

What we really need is for the forecasters to be more precise. Get rid of the vague "wrap up warm" and introduce a specific instruction. "Tonight the weather is going to be too warm for your parker with the fur trimmed hood but not quite cold enough for that new cotton jacket with the big buttons". Less "pollen count" and more "layers of clothing count". Then maybe I might pay more attention.

Of course, my favourite weather forecast ever was on the Today programme years ago. When Brian Redhead still ruled the roost. He told listeners "and now the weather. Bright in the north. Dull in the south. A bit like the people really."

If you're local - don’t forget to wrap up warm. It's getting nasty and squawly out there.


Blogger bangedmyhead said...

but its always the right weather for gold shoes....

4:32 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

but if it's cold and you have to wear a coat - how will anyone see the matching gold belt?

12:39 pm  
Blogger Karl said...

Its because it changes so often that we LOVE to talk about the weather. If it were so predictable it would be boring!

I did post an article once (from The Times I think)(its somwhere in the archives) about the North / South divide and the weather. Now that is predictable!

7:27 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

Hi Karl
Welcome to suburbanhymns...
You're right - the north/south divide is a whole blog in itself!
Oh, I just popped to your blog and read you're getting married. Mazal Tov!

7:33 pm  
Blogger Karl said...

LOL - thanks!
perhaps you should read it!

Here is the link to The Weather Report

11:00 pm  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

As a big fan of boxing bits, I imagine I would rather like spits and spots...love the Brian Redhead quote. In the hierarchy of things, does fashion trump everything or only pollen counts? Very funny piece...

1:06 pm  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Bright in the North and Dull in the South- I like- except I can't help but wonder what does that render those of us from the Midlands? Matte Finish?!

4:33 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

mc - i think i might be giving the wrong impression. i'm not a fashion victim (in fact, i actually know next to nothing about fashion - as no doubt all my friends will testify...)in fact - the reason for choosing one coat over another is normally based on which one is clean rather than which one looks good.

afkapp - matte finish - nice - or how about 'fair to middling'?

11:14 am  

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