A brief interlude over the weekend, as I returned to the UK for the first time since upping sticks and moving to New York. As ever it was great to see family and friends, and to find that nothing much changes – even when you’ve moved 3500 miles away.
And nothing changes less than the British weather.
Despite the furious claims of London colleagues that the weather has actually been pretty temperate since I left, I woke this morning to one of the biggest downfalls of rain I’ve seen in ages. And by ages, I mean ‘the morning that I left the UK to move to America’. Sure, the sun is now shining, but it’s a fair bet that the underground system won’t be working properly for the rest of the day.
Put simply, Britain isn’t equipped to cope with bad weather. Which is pretty inexcusable given how long we’ve been coping with the stuff. I took a cab to the office this morning, as I didn’t much fancy sitting in wet jeans on a seven hour flight back to the US later today, and a journey that should have taken fifteen minutes took more than an hour. Traffic ground to a standstill as the rain beat down on the car, and pedestrians passed by like rapidly drowning rats.
Statistics say that there’s as much rain in New York each year as there is in London. If that really is the case, I can only assume that it rains incredibly heavily while I’m in the toilet, as I’ve barely seen it rain once since I’ve been heading across the Atlantic on a regular basis. Admittedly there was a storm that brought the subway system to a halt last month, but these things happen about as often as Paris Hilton has a quiet night in.
Maybe Britain doesn’t have an infrastructure that can deal with severe weather because nobody puts up a fuss? In the US, the closure of the transportation network for even an hour causes an almighty outcry, with sheepish bosses dragged out in front of the media to explain their failures and possibly sacrifice their first born child. In London, an hour-long system failure is often a service improvement, provoking public rejoicing and much clinking of champagne glasses in the executive dining room at London Underground Towers.
When it comes down to it, the British love to complain. This entire blog is the perfect demonstration of that, surely? If we didn’t have anything to bitch and moan about, we’d lose our entire raison d’etre. And if you look at it that way, rain isn’t the bane of our existence – it’s actually the thing that keeps us going.
Anyone got an umbrella though?