One man's adventure in life!

The wind it blows

The wind howled through the streets last night
Shaking trees, throwing rain against windows and skylights
Bullets of water hurled onto panes of glass in the darkness until suddenly
Silence – the calm after the storm.

This morning the wind is still prowling outside
Rustling branches with the intent of a caged beast
Waiting for its opportunity to break free
And bring its wildness to our sedate urban lives.

zymotux, 2020-08-21

We like to talk about the weather in the UK. It's a comfortable topic weaved into greetings with friends and strangers, uniting us all in a shared sense of Britishness. The weather is changeable in these Isles, and defines us as much as football, fish and chips, queueing, red double decker buses, red post boxes, red phone boxes now fading out of existence.

Extreme weather events define generations. The summer of '76[1] (before my time). Michael Fish the weatherman and the Great Storm of '87[2] (a strong childhood memory). Snow shutting down the UK in March 2018[3]. The floods of recent years (including this one) for those communities affected[4].

But it's the mixed grumbling and cheerful commentary on ordinary daily weather that feels most British, with hyperlocal variations thrown in for good measure. Here in South Wales there's seemingly always a chance of rain. Right now, the sun is peeking through the clouds, lighting up the grass of Roath Rec across the road while the wind still reminds me of its presence. Will it, won't it ruin our late afternoon plans of socially distanced meeting in the park with our NCT Group and their babies, or will we carry on regardless? Time will tell!

The Canadian has a different relationship with weather, born out of long winters with frozen lakes and snow banks, sticky summers and the flip-flopping transition between these seasons, hot one day, snowing the next and back again. Each culture defines their own relationship with weather and climate, and each generation as well. I wonder what my daughter's will be?

I'll leave you with the words of Michael Fish:

Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way; well, if you're watching, don't worry, there isn't, but having said that, actually, the weather will become very windy, but most of the strong winds, incidentally, will be down over Spain and across into France.

...and this teaser for a BBC Futures article[5] about the British and weather:

More than nine in 10 Brits have talked about the weather in the last six hours. But is this unusual – and if so, is it their culture or the climate that makes them so obsessed?


[2] – I remember this storm. I was nine at the time and the power went out in the middle of the night, leaving my parents scrambling for torches and candles. The next day there were branches strewn across the street, trees down and the news was full of stories and images of the aftermath. Years later (2003?) I was lucky enough to see Michael Fish give a lunchtime seminar in Reading University. Unsurprisingly, the topic of that one weather forecast among the thousands he gave in his career did come up...

[3] – This one sent us home from work when the weather alert ramped up to red. The Canadian ventured out the next morning while I stayed nice and warm and reported cars skidding at a nearby roundabout as snow tires are not a thing here. Growing up in the no-man's land between London and Essex, winter snow was not a regular, dependable part of my childhood and I remember distinctly the couple of times it did fall in my infant school years. The joy of throwing snowballs at each other on the way to and from school, and just enough of a layer in the back garden to build a snowman.



Entry 25 of my participation in the “100 Days to Offload” challenge – find out more and join in!

2020-08-21 #100DaysToOffload #poetry #weather #climate #childhood