Yesterday in the afternoon, I wrapped up and went out to tend the “garden”, a collection of pots which are home to a variety of plants and flowers in various states of decay. I spent a very pleasurable hour or so, digging and clipping with the help of my neighbour and buddy, a curious Alsatian.
At one point he was feeling neglected and I looked up from a pot to find him lying on his back looking straight at me with, I kid you not, a big toothy grin on his face. I didn’t get to the camera in time but here’s a shot of him reclining on another day, an example of how not to let the weather interfere with your sunbathing. It was wonderful to be able to be out the fresh cold sea air, the ever-changing panorama of sky above me. How grateful I am to be able to get out and be in the world even if its only digging around in pots.
I often have days like this, days that are within the reach of nearly everyone, so I find myself regularly nonplussed about peoples Weather Whingeing. Last Summer the whingeing reached an annoying crescendo. Apparently it was a bad Summer. I deduced this from the high level of whingeing that was dominating every conversation I witnessed. The noise of it certainly ruined my Summer.
I do concede that certain weather conditions that are favourable to people making money during the summer for example kayaking trips or…ice cream selling, were absent and some businesses have had a hard time of it in recent years. I would also say that the water temperature in June last year was the coldest I have experienced it though that may have been because I let the swimming slide for a few months.
But , even though I had torn every ligament in my ankle and I found it hard to get about, every day had something to offer. We had clouds and rain, we had sun, wind, sunsets, dawns. When I picture last summer in colours, I see blue, white, yellow, red, grey, cyan, indigo, cobalt, ochre…..and on and on. So I found myself bamboozled by the complaints I was hearing.
On one unbelievable day I was sitting on Garrarus beach with some acquaintances under an uncomfortably hot sun in a clear blue sky listening to people opining that the weather was going to break four days hence!Jesus people!
Four days was too far away for my liking really. I never know what to do with endless days of sunshine. Not only does it get monotonous but one feels one has to be out in it all the time and I have often found myself sitting foolishly and miserably on the beach in the sun, hoping for rain so I go and get some work done.
I do wonder where this belief that the only good weather is weather that is hot, cloudless and windless. I have developed a theory…as I often do…that television is to blame, as it is to blame for drugging us into a state of acceptance of the horrible situation this country is in, but that’s for another rant.
I figure that so many people are watching so much American TV, a lot of it coming out of Hollywood, California, for example Desperate Housewives, that we believe that endless sunshine is the only type weather to aspire to, if one can aspire to weather. Don’t get me wrong, my favourite TV comes out of the States(but not Desperate Housewives)and I have visited California and would love to go back, it’s a great place, but it’s not Ireland…which is why you go somewhere else in the first place….right?
The fact that the sunshine in this country is more brutal than any I have experienced, even in Africa, seems not to register with most folks. There is a purported hole in the ozone layer above us that reduces any protection from the suns rays. I once had a neighbour who was a Bahai refugee from Iran. An erstwhile denizen the desert no less. The first time he was ever sunburned he was walking on the beach in Tramore. It only took 20 minutes for him to badly singed.
It could be argued that a lot of Weather Whingers are not particularly looking for endless hot days, though my acquaintances on Garrarus Beach give me leave to doubt, but still, I find a lot more to celebrate in our weather than to whinge about.
The only weather that has pissed me off in recent years was the snow in December of 2010. Dark December is a hard month to be tied to the house-the road was too treacherous for safe driving-and I missed some days of work but even with that I had some beautiful walks across the fields and snapped a few lovely photographs and unlike this winter I didn’t get sick because it was too cold for the germs.
The other occasion was when that famous Indian summer was being enjoyed by the top half of the country while we were staggering around under a veil of mist like extras in The Others. And even at that I took myself off to the dunes where I was treated some atmospheric fog and then, for 20 minutes, glorious sunshine. Still, did the Indian Summer HAVE to be in all the newspapers?But, and this is important, I didn’t bang on about it.
Already they have started for this year so to try to counteract this and maybe make folks have a second look, here are some shots from the month of January, mostly from the last 5 days. Diverse, non?
We are lucky to live here in the South East, we get a lot of beautiful and dramatic weather. Don’t ruin it with the sound of incessant moaning like the drone of aircraft on an otherwise perfect day. Enjoy it. We’ll all be dead one of the days.