SOFT DAY IN WESTOWN

SOFT DAY IN WESTOWN

SOFT DAY IN WESTOWN

This scene caught my eye the other day as I drove home. A person hanging onto a broken umbrella as they struggled up the hill from Westown in the rain. I decided to sketch it and post it. Of course, being me, the whole caption has expanded into one long diatribe against weather whingers. Again. I am a weather whinger whinger if you like. If you want, just stop here and enjoy the picture….

I try not to mention it these days, the w*****r, as contemplating it, or more rightly contemplating Irish peoples attitude to it wrecks my head. For sure we’ve had a few bad summers and I know people who make their living from outdoor activities are really struggling and for those with families(or even those of us alone) it makes planning cheap holidays difficult.

On another level the environmental chaos the “bad” weather seems to be portending, whether you believe it’s caused by man or by the natural cycle of things, is depressing. It’s not nice to be reminded of the End of All Things every time you look out the window. It’s hardly any more cheery to think we are merely entering another Mini-Ice Age and the weather will be better in 300 years.

Combined with all this the average Irish persons expectation of how the weather should be seems to have morphed into something wildly out of sync with the country we are actually living in. This has always been known as a rainy country so what has changed?Me, I think it’s the TV. Seriously. California is being beamed into our homes non-stop and blue skies have seeped into our consciousness as a template for the norm.

None of this is to say that I don’t like the heat or the sunshine, I do, I love it, but I don’t expect it. Anyway I find the direct sunshine in Ireland more brutal and vicious, (though not aprticularly hotter), than any I have experienced anywhere else even in the deserts of Africa. I knew an Iraqi once who first experienced sunburn on Tramore Beach after a lifetime unburnt in the desert.

I’d much rather have sunshine in another country or even in another season than in summer in Ireland. In truth I am flummoxed at how eager the parents of Ireland are to take their children out to fry in it but eager they are and in the Summer one can barely hear the patter of rain over the appalling racket of complaints about the lack of continual sunshine. My God even after last weeks sun the complaining started before there was even a rumour of a cloud.

Similarly in Winter there is wailing and gnashing of teeth if there is no major fall of snow. (I can’t blame California for that though March of the Penguins could have had a hand in it.) I like most weather, even snow, but since being trapped in my house for a week in 2010, losing a weeks holidays and struggling with mounting fuel bills ever since I have developed a morbid fear of it and does irritate me that people loudly pray for massive and prolonged falls of it in the Winter. Not because I think their prayers will be answered but because if anyone demurs because they can’t afford a new winter coat and snow tyres and extra oil or they’re living in a box on the street they’re accused of being a big fat spoilsport.

It seems that the majority(or at least a very vocal minority) wants one extreme or the other which leads me to think that some of us are no longer able to appreciate the weather in all its shades and that mindfulness or consciousness are scarce commodities, which is sort of scary.

Like everyone else I hate endless months of rain or cold. I hate the wind because it makes running and cycling really hard and irritating. I hate snow too when it traps me in my house and costs a fortune but there’s absolutely no bloody use complaining about it, its won’t change the weather and it will just raise your levels of frustration not to mention those of the people around you(me).

There’s something to see every day if you just open your eyes. There are photos to be taken in the rain and the snow and the sun and fun to be had in all weather even if its being curled up on the sofa with a book.

We are lucky to have weather at all and if you don’t believe me feck off to Namibia for a while. When you’re lying in a tent in 45 degree heat with the sweat drying as soon as it come out of your pores you’ll realise that sunny days are not good weather so much as the absence of weather, an absence that quickly fills with vivid, yearning fantasies of soft skies over veiled grey fields as you lie there muttering feverishly “Soft day thank God” through parched lips to no-one in particular.

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