As a general rule, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the British fear change. A poll in 1993 found that half the population feared that rabies would return to the country once the Channel Tunnel opened. The Daily Mail still hasn’t quite come to terms with the number of Poles now allowed into the country. And there was even outcry (from the elderly at least) when the UK finally embraced decimalisation in 1971. This despite an impossibly convoluted system that saw a pound made up of 240 pence, twelve pence in a shilling, a half crown worth two shillings and sixpence, and a farthing worth a quarter of a penny.

Americans on the other hand positively encourage change. They don’t let any President serve more than two terms, for a start – a principle that, if it had been in place in Britain, would have seen Thatcher frogmarched from office in 1987. Restaurants change names and cuisine every ten minutes, and marriage statistics suggest that people change partners as often as they change their oil.

But when it comes to weather, America just doesn’t do change. In Britain, it could be sunny in the morning, snowing at midday and pouring down with rain by the evening. Here in New York, if you wake up and the sun is shining, it’s a fair bet it’ll be sunny for most of the day. And if it’s raining cats and dogs when you ruefully manage to drag yourself out of bed, it’ll probably still be throwing it down when you finally tuck yourself back in later that night.

Sadly, the one constant that shows no sign of change at the moment is the cold. Each day I walk into work before 9 in the morning, and as the wind whistles in off the Hudson River, I swear that I would feel warmer if I had blocks of ice strapped directly to my testicles. The feeling in my toes has gone on holidayvacation, and isn’t expected to return to my body until sometime shortly before Independence Day.

The eagle-eyed loyal reader will remember that I once said that coats are for losers and that I would “battle against the need for a coat until I have no breath left in my body.” Sadly the cold has taken away all the breath in my body, and I’m now seriously considering wearing two coats at the same time. The time for fearing change has gone. Otherwise, the only change happening around here will be the loss of all my bodily extremities.

11 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. Jack Payne

    Nice observations on the contrasts of the U.K. and U.S. I learned something.

    Big contrast is that in England, I’m sure, there are not certain parts of the country where the populace outfits its bicycles with a gun rack, but otherwise the differences are culturally (and weatherly) noteworthy.

  2. offendedblogger

    Ello mate (like my British accent?)!

    Thanks for the add at BC, and I love your blog. I honestly believe that I have a British soul so I, too, feel like a Brit out of water even though I was born an American.

    Yesterday my avatar was Patsy Stone, day before that I was Father Jack Hackett. Tomorrow I was considering switching to Hyacinth Bucket haha.

    I look forward to your stories from The Big Apple. 🙂

    Chelle B.

  3. Anonymous

    Howzit goin’ eh? LOL Found you through Jamie, a fellow Canuck. I’ll be back later to browse thru your posts. My son has moved from Canada to Australia and has experienced similar adjustments to a slightly different culture. I’ll be thinking of him when I visit your blog.

  4. Paul Sheffrin

    I loved the duo-decimal system (£sd) and still mourn its passing. How much easier to split a £10 bar bill in old money between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 people and it comes out to a whole number. With a £10 bill in new money, if there’s 3 of you, you end up arguing the toss over who puts in the extra 1p!

    I – also a Brit out Water, as you will have gathered – now live in Ottawa. You have it easy, cold-wise compared to us. But the secret I find for keeping cosy in Arctic conditions is plenty of layers. Ottawa is devoid of a sense of style, so no one gives a monkey’s how silly they might look. It’s not cool to be cold.

  5. witchypoo

    Well, you have to expect cold this time of year.
    Being on the coast moderates the climate somewhat, I believe. The folk in upstate NY probably suffer more, but have nice warm cars to get around in.

  6. Emmer

    Sadly, I too wish I didn’t have to done a coat in winter. It’s cumbersome to say the least. I’ve often tried to get by with layers but the city always wins….always. Bundle up my friend and don’t forget to pack a glove or two as well. BRRRRRRRRRRR…’s cold outside.
    Toodles, Maryanne

  7. Melanie Seasons

    Of the weather in Michigan: “If you don’t like it, wait five minutes.”

    There are so many different climates here, remember that New York isn’t the center of the universe, like some New Yorkers think. You don’t want to sound like one of *them*, do you? 😉

  8. Dylan

    Aaargh Melanie – you’re so right! Please feel free to virtually slap me every time you see me do something like that. They’ll never take me alive…

    Thanks everyone for the comments. The thing about Brits and the weather is that we all love to moan about it, even though (contrary to popular belief) it’s a very temperate place – no real highs, no real lows. So wrapping up warmly would rob me of one of the true definining charcteristics of the country from which I hail…

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