a city through the eyes of a girl who's not sure how she ended up here

Thursday, 23 June 2011

It's raining, it's pouring...

Ok, so I know it rains everywhere, but right here in London, when we do rain, we really do rain.  Right now summer appears to have been postponed.  It has rained for the best part of three weeks, just as we all let ourselves dare believe that the freak 5 day heatwave we had in April was not the only summer we were going to get in 2011.  Summer clothes have been resigned to the back of drawers and wardrobes as us Londoners revert to our winterwear.  I am fantastically pleased I ignored the Accidental mother's raised eyebrow at my suggestion I bring my Hunter wellies to London; once I stomped across muddy fields in these green monsters, but now I use them to pound the pavements of the soggy city.  And very dry and cosy my feet are too.
As most cities are, London is made of hard surfaces.  Heavy, solid, impermeable concrete and tarmac.  Water slides off or over it, rather than seeping away quietly through it.  Pouring rain sluices down gutters and rooves, along streets and pavements, hurtling down any slick channel like a Splat-the-Rat down a drainpipe.  Raindrops bounce back up off the ground into the sky from whence they came.  Pavements become even less passable than usual, as Londoners go about their usual routines clutching the handles of cumbersome, drippy umbrellas.  Eyes are at risk of gouging, ankles in danger of being spiked.  I had a brand new pair of tights ruined before I'd made it into work last week thanks to the errant velcro strap on an unfurled umbrella on the bus.  (I can't remember who first referred to them as "portable death-tents" but never was a nickname more apt!)  Tourists never seem to bring umbrellas with them on holiday, so they instead shiver beneath those god-awful, crackly plastic ponchos handed out by tour-operators.  Particularly harsh downpours force pedestrians to huddle beneath scaffolding or hoardings (which always amuses the hard-hatted builders) or in the doorways of shops or offices, like rain-refugees.

But it's summertime.  Where are the blue skies and harmless white fluffy clouds?  We should all be sitting out late in the balmy evening sipping Pimms and planning weekends spent having boozy picnics in the park.  Instead we're inside sat on our sofas, watching The Apprentice and dreaming of summer holidays in places where the weather does what it should this time of year.  Is this London's most disappointing summer ever?!  Wimbledon has just begun beneath ominously grey clouds, where it usually guarantees hot weather and sunburn.  What is going on?  Of course it rains for Glastonbury which kicks off this weekend; it's as traditional as the sunshine over Wimbledon.  Although so far the festival's fields are already waterlogged and the action hasn't even started!  But here in London?  How can mud get into the middle of a city?!  However, the tiny wee silver lining which accompanies these big black rainclouds is that whilst it's pouring down outside I find it a lot easier to closet myself in the library to work away at my dissertation.  So sorry everyone, whilst this summer's dreary weather may be cramping your fun plans, it may just be the reason I'll finally complete my degree.  I actually hope it continues...

*of course, now I've written this we're guaranteed a heatwave.  (Here's hoping!)

3 comments:

  1. You sum this up so well. Although i'm looking out the window this morning with slight hope that the sunshine i'm seeing might stick around for a while!

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  2. Good luck with the revisions, Accidental Londoner! When it's pouring, I am actually pleased that I have to work...Let's keep positive!

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  3. Thanks, Twad'dler! I actually had a cunning plan to write about it always being rainy so that, sod's law, we'd have days of blissful sunshine. So far so good!

    Quite right, Muriel - every cloud has a silver lining and all that. (Pardon the cloud/rain related pun!)

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