Thursday, 26 April 2012

Rain Rain Go Away

It's official. London is having the wettest drought on record. Ok, it's not official -- I can't find any stats on the BBC's weather pages. I just feel like it should be official. It's no fun at all.

This morning, I went to the station to catch my usual train (which, as usual, was cancelled). By the time I'd reached the platform, I was absolutely drenched. I have to wear a tailored suit, but none of the creases remain. Instead, I cut a dashing figure of baggy knees and sogginess. Umbrellas and raincoat could not save me.

It got worse when I got to the office and realised that the weather had turned some important notes in a cardboard folder into a kind of green porridge. My laptop actually dripped when I removed it from my rucksack. And my socks never really dried out all day.

Of course, the water companies are rubbing their hands in glee. Those dry and dusty aquifers may just be rescued, the odd reservoir may have inched up a notch or two, but still we're in a drought. If this drought continues, I'll never get my trouser crease back again. No one cares that there is a hosepipe ban in place, because no one is using their hosepipe right now. The world's gone mad. It's official. Oh -- ok, that's apparently not official either. Sigh. Why doesn't anybody want to commit to anything these days?

Anyway, the one positive benefit of the rain is the return of London's favourite subject to the forefront of everyone's mind -- the weather. I only had to walk in the door dripping before someone said to me "Is it raining out?" (No, I thought I'd take a shower in my suit this morning you dipstick). In the lift: "Terrible this rain, isn't it?". "Forgot my umbrella this morning -- you'd think I'd learn..." And then there's my old favourite: "Good for the garden isn't it?" I personally can't see how being under four inches of water is helping my garden, unless I am trying to grow seaweed.

At least one gets to enjoy the attire Londoners adopt for the dampest conditions. My friend in the yellow sou'wester has made a happy return appearance on my evening train (though he never really went away -- I suspect he's always equipped with his whale-hunting gear, and just feels extra smug when the rest of us are soaked through). Everyone else is divided into two camps broadly, those who come equipped with umbrellas and sensible coats in a serious if futile effort to be as dry as possible, and those who have walked from their front doors determined to pretend that spring has sprung and ignore the rain altogether. Both categories of commuter prowl the city streets when they depart their station; after a brief period steaming up the windows of their tube or train then mooching across the grey pavements, they reach their office bedraggled and grumpy, all the while pretending to be neither.

I have seen London defeated by snow. I have been splashed by selfish van drivers. I have been hailed upon, and blown around. I have burned and sweated. But this rain, in the end, is a godsend. If the weather was just normal, what on earth would us Londoners have to moan or blog about? I'd have to talk about dull stuff like the Leveson inquiry, or the Mayoral Elections. No one wants to read about that, do they?

Of course, if my laptop hadn't needed to dry out, I could have posted this blog hours ago. Anyone got a cloth?

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