Posts Tagged ‘storm’

The weather and us

We in Britain have quite an involved, emotional relationship with the weather. I imagine most countries have a dependence on their weather in some way but as a Brit, the reaction to this year’s weather has amused me lots.

It was cold. Very cold. For a long time. Now I’m not one to moan about the weather, mainly because it’s all over the place so I figure there’s no point being so attached to it as it’s bound to not be doing what you want it to. Also, as a generally quite hot person, I much prefer things to be a little colder so that my body temperature comes out somewhere in the middle! I love going for a walk when it’s cold and I can see my breath. By the time I’ve walked for five minutes, I’ll be really warm anyway.

So this winter, this long never-ending winter, when it was cold for seven months, I did not complain. I prefer swimming outdoors when it’s raining or cold too, because most people don’t like it so they go to the indoor pool. Which leaves the pool empty for little me and I don’t have to get mad because it’s so full and people aren’t following the Swimming Pool Rules. I like the comfiness of wearing a big cuddly coat, which I can only do in extreme cold because I get hot so easily. I also like dragging out the Downstairs Duvet while watching a film in the evening. The winter forces us to be cuddly and to cook hearty warming dishes like beef stews and cottage pies and apple crumbles. All the things, I like.

When the complaining about the cold continued on into May and early June, it became hard to defend my position, especially given that the garden was looking a little sad, none of the trees were bearing fruit and all the bees were dying. I felt sorry for the bees, as I like them. I’m all into the bee scene.

Small talk during the last weeks of this long winter pretty much only consisted of weather-chat. Whilst in work, when a customer entered the shop with their umbrella and their big winter coat and scarf, they would just look at me with a look on their face and we both knew that weather-chat was on the cards. It became unavoidable. And so I made polite small talk about the weather.

“It’s been too long now, hasn’t it?” I would say.

“I’m still wearing my winter coat, in June!” I moaned.

“Snow?! In May! Unbelievable!” I exclaimed, all the while thinking that I didn’t mind it so much.

When I got up first thing, dressed in my jarmies, and the cold hit me, I’d grumble a bit but it was nothing a cup of tea couldn’t handle.

And then it warmed up. We stopped moaning about the cold and rain and the sun shone. My goodness, did it shine!

And we, the British, we were excited! Brilliant! We sat out in parks and ate icecreams and acted like we were on holiday. We loved it!

Me? I was sweaty and uncomfortable. I was not really having fun. My new job required a half an hour walk and not very much shade along the way. So I arrive at work feeling gross. So I have to take extra clothes to change into. But then I work all day and get hot and disgusting. But I don’t have any more clothes to change into. So my walk home is in already sweaty disgusting clothes. Then I get hot on the walk home and by the time I arrive home, I’m just a mess. It doesn’t make for a very attractive Laura.

And then the weather got really really hot. Too hot. We spent a lot of time inside, hiding from it. We moaned. Yes, we moaned. Because it was too hot.

This time I joined in. I’m not mad for hot weather anyway, as you’ve guessed, so my moaning was genuine.

Then there were thunderstorms so we rejoiced! Ah, what a relief from this overwhelming heat! Thank GOODness! Phew!

Then we saw the forecast for this weekend said there are going to be more storms and rain… And guess what happened?

We moaned. We moaned because we had a weekend away at the coast planned and a birthday party outside down by the river and the damn rain had spoiled it all! Fist-shaking and despairing came into play. And we lamented the awful British weather again!

Are you keeping up with this? I’m not sure I am. Let’s go from the top.

1. It was cold. We moaned.
2. It was hot. We rejoiced.
3. It got hotter. We moaned.
4. It was stormy. We rejoiced.
5. More rain was forecast. We moaned.

Poor weather. When we seem happy about something, he does more of the same and then we moan!

(I personally, am always moaning about extreme heat. I think I was an Arctic explorer in a previous life.)

The time we defrosted a freezer

I was 18. I was living in Africa. I wasn’t that good at being a grown up but I was good at convincing myself I was.

One time my friend Lucy and I had noticed that we couldn’t fit stuff in our freezer anymore because it was full of ice. We thought we should defrost it but just made a vague guess about how exactly you did this. We had a fridge freezer thing so left the door open for a while but in the stifling heat of the coast town where we lived, all our milk and butter was having a bad reaction. We sat and puzzled for a bit about how to go about defrosting in a shorter time.

Then Lucy had an idea. Lovely Lucy, one of those people in life who you want to be like, who’s so easy to love. Lovely Lucy. She picked up a hammer and approached the fridge freezer. I stood by, a little uncertain about what she was going to do with it…..

Then Lovely Lucy used the hammer to smash all the ice to bits and get it out off the freezer. Mid-smashing session, me hovering nervously around, there was a noise. A hissing sound. Ssssssssssssssssss….

On. And on. And on. Went the hissing noise. Until, eventually, it stopped.

We didn’t know what it was but I had the distinct impression that my being-an-adult attempt had failed miserably.

There was a funny gas smell and we giggled nervously as I ran off to email my Dad about what we should do. That’s right. I was in Africa, holding my own as a teacher in a classroom, running the local town newspaper, making my living as an editor/journalist, and at the first hint of something electronic that I couldn’t figure out, I was running off to email my Dad.

The return email essentially said, “GET THAT THING OUT OF YOUR HOUSE NOW!”

Obediently, we unplugged it and got it into the garden and consumed everything which had been in the fridge, to save it going off, not because we’re greedy. Honest.

And there it sat for a few days while we pondered what to do. In those few days, the maggots found it. That’s right. The maggots. We opener the door one day to see if it still smelled gassy, and there they were! Whoops! We quickly shut the door, pretended we hadn’t seen anything and called a friend to ask him if we could put the fridge freezer in his car to take it to the repair shop. He said he’d come the next day.

That evening, something happened. Something which only happened three times the entire year we lived there. Something that pretty much never happens in a desert so you wouldn’t even think about it happening (we were basically living on the edge of a desert). Something that when it did happen, was so much worse for only happening a few times a year.

It rained.

The most torrential rain we’d seen since arriving. The wind and rain whipped the fridge door about furiously. It banged and crashed all evening. The rainwater got into every nook and cranny on that fridge. Inside, in the back, into the plug. Everywhere.

The plus side of this rainstorm was that the gassy smell and maggots had disappeared. Yehhhhh!

The down side, however, was that the fridge was SMASHED TO PEICES. Noooooooo…..

Our friend, George, arrived the next day and looked at it in shock. We pretended all was fine and piled it into the car and off we went to the repair shop. He also looked at it in shock and we just smiled a bit and convinced him to try and fix it.

A week or so later, Lovely hammer-wielding Lucy was passing by the repair shop with another teacher from the school and mentioned that they’d had our fridge for a week and we hadn’t heard anything from them.

“O yeh,” said the other teacher, knowingly. “They’ve had my dishwasher for about four years now.”

We spent the rest of the year without a fridge or freezer.