The Flippin’ Forecast
We’ll Weather the Weather Whatever the Weather
What’s another name for the Four Seasons? A day in the UK! Ha ha! I have to laugh. Until a beautiful autumn day turns to winter in Siberia. Then it’s not so funny. Not when I’m wearing my canvas shoes and get home feeling like I’ve just trekked through the Himalayas. I check my toes for frostbite.
Weather in the UK is very unpredictable. Experts say it’s due to, ‘cold polar air from the north and warmer air from the tropics pushing against each other’. Uh oh, sounds evil. I better watch the forecast:
6 o’clock News & Weather: ‘Sunshine and showers, chance of mist, possible fog’. Translation: Haven’t a clue.
8 o’clock News & Weather: ‘Heavy rains, chance of hail, thunder, moderate breeze’. Still don’t have a clue.
10 o’clock News & Weather: ‘Sunshine and showers, chance of hail, sleet, snow and any other type of precipitation known to mankind. Possible meteorite’. Let’s cover our backs.
Confused, I check the internet:
‘Possible clear skies for many, though turning increasingly cloudy across some areas. Chance of rain in the North’
Possible? Chance? What happened to good old-fashioned percentages? Am I part of the many? Do I live in some areas? Is Northolt the North?
Bewildered, I decide to ask the LOCALS. They all say the same thing, ‘The weather forecast? Oh, they never get it right’. Wait a minute … did you say never? Never as in … ever? Why not?
What kind of professional gets away with never getting it right? Imagine a judge that never gets the verdict right … it would be a travesty of justice! Or a surgeon that failed every time, ‘call the solicitors, they’ll need to mop-up that operation’.
I worked in the IT industry, got it wrong ONE time and was fired quicker than you can say, ‘we’ll weather the weather whatever the weather’.
What is going on? Why are weather people getting away with it? What do their managers tell them come annual reviews, ‘Don’t worry, the important thing is you tried’?
Call me naïve but surely in the land that gave birth to Alan Turning (World War II code decipherer and father of computer science) breaking the weather code should be a breeze?
Or maybe I’m just spoilt, because in Spain the weather forecast is always accurate:
‘Sunshine. For the next million years’
I exaggerate of course. Sometimes it does rains – as British people are quick to point out when they see me, ‘We went to Spain and it rained for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!’ Oh. I’m really sorry – I’ll look into it?
But back to the forecast – what to do? Follow it and risk frostbite? Rely on my neighbor’s arthritis acting up? Dog’s barking to detect a storm? Postmen wearing shorts for possible sunshine? Scratch that last one, I’ve seen British postmen wearing shorts in the dead of winter.
Confused, bewildered and in despair, one of the LOCALS tells me about a forecast that is a ‘rock among forecasts, a timeless British institution, loved and revered in every corner of the world for its smooth sounding rhythm, clarity of words and knowledge’.
I tune in with joyful anticipation:
THE SHIPPING FORECAST
‘Viking North Utsire South Utsire Southeast 4 or 5 increasing or 7 veering south 4 or 5 later, occasional, losing identity, good with fog patches becoming moderate or poor’
Now that’s flippin’ funny.
Sonia Aste is a writer, come rain or shine.
Published in Toastmasters International Riverside Newsletter.