Are you in season?
The weather is the great British
past time and the hottest gossip subject. It is
a great icebreaker amongst strangers and apart
from the government of the day, is blamed for
everything that goes wrong in Britain. Charles
Dudley once remarked (the statement is wrongly
attributed to Mark Twain) that the "trouble
with the weather is that everyone talks about
it but no one does anything about it". This
is not quite correct.
The government has tried very
hard to make it a less-polluted city!! There are
now air-pollution controls as a result of which
the fog that once blanketed the city has all but
disappeared. On a hazy day however, you can see
the effects of car exhaust fumes rising in the
horizon like a bad omen over this ancient city.
Often, you can experience all
four seasons in one day and this makes this city
a most interesting one to be in. It is however,
a big myth that it always rains in London. You
could be forgiven though for thinking this, as
it is more likely to rain than shine when you
arrive. Besides, the contrast is markedly so if
you come from a hot and often dry country.
A typical forecast for London
would predict scattered clouds with sunny periods
and showers, possibly heavy at times. Summer temperatures
usually stay below 78F with some notable exceptions
although something strange has been happening
in recent times. Temperatures do not drop below
35F either in winter making it both pleasant and
annoying depending on your point of view.
Here, we consider chilliness wholesome
and would usually keep room temperatures about
10F below the comfort level for most people. Although,
if the truth be told, this owes more to our fear
of high gas bills than any love affair with the
cold weather. Still, we do try to style it out,
laden with our woolen outfits.
Of course, if you are really bothered
about it, you can dial from the US, 1-900 weather
and dial the four letters of the foreign city
e.g. London for the current weather forecast.
Chances are you won't bother. Just dress like
the rest of us and you will soon be in the swing
Holidays. Yes! We do have some
of them every now and again.
There are not nearly enough days
off work and Londoners work far harder than is
considered necessary in Europe.
In England, public holidays include
New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May
Day (first Monday in May although it does no longer
have its hold on the public), spring and summer
bank holidays (last Monday in May and August respectively,
Christmas and Boxing Day (December 26).
On these days, the public transport
system operates reduced service and the banks
and government offices are shut. Some in the private
sector also shut and life in the city takes a
more tranquil pace. If the weather is great, there
is usually a long procession of sun and sea worshippers
weaving their way through the winding straits
of the M25 motorway to the seaside. It usually
doesn't work very well.