Something to Declare
THERE ARE CERTAIN ETERNAL TRUTHS: toast will always land butter side down, you will always join the slowest-moving queue at airport security, and put two British people together and they will always talk about the weather. A stereotype it may be, but the Brits – myself included – seem obsessed with stating the glaringly obvious about our meteorological conditions.
“It’s colder than yesterday.” No shizzle Sherlock! “It’s raining again.” Really? And there was me thinking I was standing under a flock of incontinent geese. We’re not alone in being so fixated though. Grumbling about the weather is one of the few things that bonds Europeans together. Certainly, my Swedish in-laws are always going on about it, and on a recent trip to Lithuania I discovered the country’s name apparently means “Land of Rain”. How’s that for being both obsessed and a bit pessimistic?
Disappointingly, it was lovely and sunny for my whole visit. Conversely, I went to Sunderland once and didn’t see the sun at all.
I have a theory: the worse the weather is in your country, the more you want to talk about it. People in hot countries don’t say: “It’s nice and warm again.” No, in Europe (the non-sunny bits at least) we look at the weather the way we’d look at an unpredictable drunk man on a late- night bus – watching it very closely because we’re never sure what will happen. And, as the rain metaphorically throws up on our shoulder, we can tut and say we saw it coming.
The American novelist Charles Dudley Warner (heard of him? Me neither) once said: “Everybody complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Of course, these days, we can do something about it. Just hop on a plane.
If you’re going on holiday at this time of year you’ve got two options: get some traditional winter sun (try the Canaries), or embrace the fact it’s winter and head somewhere even colder (Sweden, Finland, the Alps). As we all know, cold, rainy weather is no fun but totally freeze-your-bits-off snowy weather is sexy and cool. What could be more romantic than visiting a traditional Christmas market, then jumping on a snowmobile, racing off to an ice hotel and getting snuggled up under the fur of a recently deceased yeti?
Whether you go hot or cold, I hope it’s an improvement on where you’ve come from. That’s the point of a holiday; it’s meant to be nicer than home. Unless, of course, you live somewhere really nice, in which case a holiday is the one chance you get to complain about the weather. Go on, give it a go, it’s actually quite fun. TWITTER.COM/DANNY_ROBINS