Monday, 16 November 2009

Rain Later, Good...

Samuel Johnson famously stated in the 18th century that 'when two Englishmen meet their first talk is of the weather' - we have found this to be so....actually I would go so far as to say that English people are 'obsessed' with the subject. On any given day, I can join the queue at the local post office and, no matter what the conditions outside, listen to a variety of comments (actually read 'complaints') about the current meteorological state.
Millions of listeners tune in every day to listen to what the poet Sean Street called 'cold poetry of information' - the Shipping Forecast (if you have ever heard it you will recognise today's title immediately!). This is an off-shore weather forecast intended for the use of fishing boats, cargo ships, cruise liners and other pleasure craft in the seas surrounding the British Isles. None of the information contained therein has the remotest relevance unless you are a skipper of one of the aforementioned vessels but it remains a compulsive, and soothing, ritual spoken in a poetic-mantra sort of way (broadcast after the news on BBC Radio4 in case you are interested).
Kate Fox, in her book 'Watching the English' devotes a whole chapter to the English national 'sport' of discussing the's a terrific book and well worth a read if you have an interest in anthropology or, indeed, just want to be brilliantly entertained.
Usually, the first question we are asked after disclosing that we have moved to the UK from Sydney is 'But what about the weather?'!! As winter approaches, there are more comments along the lines of 'Bet you wish you were back in Sydney'! or 'Have you had enough yet'?....
In fact, I am deeply happy to be able to indulge some of my more hedonistic tendencies.....!
As the days get cold and short, I really enjoy having the fires blazing, lighting candles all over the house, unpacking my precious collection of cashmere for winter snuggling & painting my nails a deep, winter red (Chanel's rouge noir being my current favourite).

There is a domestic goddess kind of satisfaction to be had from putting an old fashioned stew, laced heavily with beer or red wine, in a slow oven and leaving it there for hours whilst it does what stews do best and turns the meat into a soft unctuous warming treat preferably eaten with fluffy mounds of mashed potato and the winey, oniony gravy mopped up with some crusty bread....
There's also something quite delicious when the day is grey and rain lashes the windows about putting on something comfy (note - I said comfy not scruffy!) soft & warm, lighting the fire & catching up with whatever activities you don't feel inclined to do when the sun is shining and beckoning you outside...& knowing that you probably won't be disturbed...
Whatever the weather where you are....have a happy week......s


  1. As I an English, I know exactly what you are talking about. I love the English weather and the four seasons. I could never live in a country that was hot all of the time, Susie. When I am in my 'post office queue', they are complaining that it's too hot, then it's too cold. If it hasn't rained in a while we are going to have a drought and whoa be tide it if it rains !
    I'm so pleased that you are getting in the swing of things with the weather.
    Enjoy your soft blankets and'll never be able to work us out as far as the weather is concerned. XXXX

  2. Well now I am really jealous that I am not staying in UK and how comfortable those sofas look (!) - can almost imagine myself there too...:-)
    Take care my dear blog friend - my next comment to you will be made from Oz ! xxx