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When life is lived under a big cloud
SO FOR how much longer will we have to endure that boundless grubby smudge in the sky, you know, the one that sits there like a great curdled duvet stuffed with all the bad thoughts anyone ever had?
No foray into the outdoors escapes its lowering presence. Just occasionally, the duvet will be pulled away to reveal a patch of blue. This, younger readers might like to know, is the colour the sky used to go in summer.
Then the endless ceiling of grey will return and it will rain. And rain. And rain some more by the sodden bucket-load until the waters rise through the floorboards of June and July and you begin to wonder if the end of the world wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.
And if that all sounds a little extreme, I should know because I have just spent two weeks on holiday. In this country. What sort of a fool does that apart from one who cannot afford an airline ticket to someplace else?
We had a pleasant time away from work, as you do, dodging the rain in North Yorkshire for a week, and then trying the same routine in Dumfries and Galloway.
Here is a double-headed snapshot: out on a run in York the rain started about four miles from home and on returning I was wetter than a Channel swimmer, with rainfall in places rainfall has no business going; and then there was that walk from Moffat, three miles out in the clouds and another five or six under nature’s power-shower with the dial on full, trudging to our holiday home, two big drips in a falling curtain of rain.
Some days the sun shone for a minute or two, and sometimes those fleeting minutes were crocheted into a whole hour, only for normal conditions to be resumed.
It’s the clouds that really get to you. That unending greyness has been truly dispiriting. Has there ever been a summer when the sun was so shy? Well, you’d have to ask a meteorologist, but it feels that way.
It has come to my notice that a national newspaper, The Times, is running a campaign for an improvement in the weather. Well, good on them. While it is not the done thing to promote the endeavours of other newspapers, I am happy to lend my support on this occasion.
Perhaps in return The Times could back my own campaign, launched in this very paragraph, to send the clouds back to where they belong. Deport the lot of them, I say. We don’t want their sort over here. And if any pedant wishes to point out that clouds do belong here, more or less, then they should be sent away with the clouds too.
We don’t need all that negativity. Let’s have some blue-sky thinking, or at least some thinking about blue skies.
Personally I blame Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, for all this rotten summer weather. When the Coalition was formed in 2010, she sacrificed £2 billion from her budget, which represented a cut of 30 per cent.
At which I like to imagine that Mother Nature took umbrage – as it is easy to do where Spelman is concerned – and decided to store up the wettest summer in memory, just to show the Environment Secretary that slashing flood defence budgets could only ever end in waterlogged misery for some.
In case you are having difficulty placing her, Spelman is the one who sounds so condescending on the radio. Without wishing to cause offence in any classroom, she always comes across like a primary school teacher talking down to a particularly bothersome class of five-year-olds.
Of course, one risk in writing about the weather is that whatever is being complained about might well have gone by the time the article appears. Should that be the case this morning, then I wish to claim full credit for the success of my campaign to banish the clouds.
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