This week, BBC made this very poignant announcement that they will not be doing seasonal weather forecasts anymore. So no more barbeque summer and ‘mild winter’ forecasts. I have never followed the seasonal forecasts and so the announcement is not going to affect me much. But it does serves as a reminder to me on how seriously does this country take its weather.

Before I came to the UK, I knew about he British obsession with weather. No one really called it an obsession but if British media, literature and even movies constantly make references to it then it was easy to identify it as an obsession. But nothing prepared me for the real obsession which I experience everyday. First of all, the weather is really something to be obsessed about. It is a drama everyday. At my workplace , I have a television in my line of sight and everytime I look at the weather graphics I see the clouds emerging from south-west of england and as the hours go by the rain makes it way to london, sometimes it goes to the north and misses london and sometimes it stays course and goes over London, or sometimes it peters off by the time it gets to London. I look at it wishing it would go somewhere else and it makes for a thrilling ending.Until the next bunch of clouds appear on the horizon. I am absolutely mesmerised by those weather graphics. Second is the temperature, which moves up and down by a couple of degrees for no explicable reason. Its fun to see the temperature change and I keep wishing it to move higher and higher.Then there is the grand Shipping Forecast.

The British take their weather very seriously. A small portion of my Monday morning at work is spent discussing the weather over the weekend and the outlook for the week ahead. A high proportion of meetings and presentations are started by first talking about the weather. A seasoned local is never caught without an umbrella, or an extra layer of clothing to put on or strip off depending on the weather. The tour of the BBC Television Centre involves doing a weather forecast and also this important piece of information that the weather presenters are actually Met Office meteorologists. Two days of rain which seem absolutely similar to me (grey,cloudy, rainy) are like chalk and cheese to the meteorologists. They call them scattered showers, light showers, passing showers, showers, rain, heavy rain, drizzle etc etc. Even the food in supermarket shelves makes references to the weather, like these sweet clementines were grown in some sunny part of the world or these olives were grown in Mediterranean weather. The idea being that by eating that orange or olive you imbibe the wonderful sunny weather of that country.If only !

The British are also sensitive about the vagaries of their weather. More so when it is summer, the cricket season or Wimbledon. I don’t think I have seen a 5 match test series not have a single rain interruption. Wimbledon centre court got a fantastic roof last year and it was never used. There are also the constant comparisons with Paris which even though has more sunnier days gets more rainfall than London. So when it rains there it absolutely pours, while in London it is that soft drizzle sorry passing shower. They also like to portray their city as this sunny place so all movies, documentaries on London are filmed under wonderful sunlight. It’s a big tourist con !

Yet, the weather doesn’t really stop them from doing anything. They put on their rain jackets and go for their morning run, for working on their little allotments and for partying in the mud filled grounds of Glastonbury while they check for the next sunny day and keep an eye out for the barbeque summer.