A nation soaked in gloom of summer filled with rain
Despite news of Syria, massacres and Rupert Murdoch, our attention always seems to return to the terrible weather
IT IS a dangerous thing to write about the weather. Because it is so unpredictable, usually. There are some journalistic proverbs on the subject, all of which counsel caution but all of which, unfortunately, are couched in terms inappropriate to a family newspaper.
The gist of the proverbs is: don’t write about the weather or you will be sorry. Put it another way: writing about past weather, result happiness; speculating in print about future weather is the occupation of a fool, and the result misery.
So, it looks like things are going to pick up this week. All the forecasts say so. The whole of August, they’re saying, could be quite nice. Well, not quite nice, but dry. That should probably read “drier”. Whatever. We don’t care. The feeblest ray of sunshine now makes us faint.
A day without rain has taken on a holiday air: the barbecues emerge from their shrouds. A wedding at which the bridal photographs don’t have to be taken in the back of the bridal car is regarded as a portent of great things to come for the young couple.
Hope is stirring in the national breast. Just the thought of one fine week at the end of July – it does not have to be entirely fine, we don’t want to be too demanding – has turned us skittish. A day when you don’t have to bring your coat with you. A walk on a sunny beach. A day when you know exactly which clothes to put on in the morning . . . No, no, that is too much to ask.
Weather here can never be predicted. Evelyn Cusack of Met Éireann is right when she says that it’s amazing how often the weather forecast is correct, given that we’re a small rock in the middle of the Atlantic, which is rather big.
After so long as one nation under cloud cover, just the thought of prolonged sunshine, the sort of sunshine that heats the outside walls of buildings, is irresistible and enough to have your head turned. The weather is, perhaps above all things, emotional. Its impact is felt in unlikely places. If there is a sorrier sight than Grafton Street during and after prolonged rainfall then I don’t want to see it.
Of course we have other things to think about, and not just the civil war in Syria. Rupert Murdoch has resigned from a string of boards of his companies. In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and the Leveson inquiry this has got to be significant, but Rupert’s men have dismissed it as a bit of “corporate housekeeping”. Whatever that is.