Do the British hate rain that much?


Last night we woke up in the wee hours to hear a roaring downpour outside, and were greeted this morning by a gray, cloudy, wet dawn. My windshield wipers were in shock as I drove to my Pilates class — they haven’t been used in many months. And of course it’s time to replace them. I’m accustomed to having to replace wiper blades every year, but back in Oregon it was because they just plain wore out from endless hours of scraping back and forth across the windshield. In southern Portugal it’s because they quietly rot in the UV radiation, courtesy of endless months of sunshine.

On the way to my class, there’s a spot where I frequently pull over and get out of the car to enjoy the peaceful landscape and delicious smells. This morning the scents were extra delicious, with the moist soil and all of the happy, hydrated plants releasing what I think of as Pleasure Molecules into the air. Then I got back into my car and listened to a British morning radio show. The DJ complained about the rain and flipped over to a forecast, which indicated that the rain would be just a morning thing, at which point he interrupted to celebrate the fact that it would be “better weather” soon.

Really? We’ve had maybe one actual day of rain since late June and the DJ is already bothered by this oh-so-necessary bit of water?

I arrived at the class and greeted my (mostly British) students, one of whom said, “I was so looking forward to the rain, but I forgot how dark and dreary it is!” The others all nodded.

Keep in mind, we’re in a drought. I can practically hear the landscape groaning in pure happiness from this blessed water falling from the sky, and by 09:15 the Brits are already complaining about it. Do they really hate rain that much?


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in culture, Europe, life, Portugal. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Do the British hate rain that much?

  1. Carys says:

    It’s not so much that we hate the rain (though we obviously do), it’s more that we *love* to complain about the weather. If it had been really hot this morning then they would all have been moaning about the heat. It’s a national pastime. The Aussies don’t call us whinging poms for nothing.

    • oregon expat says:

      πŸ™‚ Thanks for the chuckle. I did know what whinging meant (love that word), but had to go look up “pom.” My dictionary says it’s an Aussie derogatory term for Brits. Is that by any chance short for “pomeranian,” and if so, where did that association come from?

  2. CathyW says:

    Yes, because it never bl***y stops raining lol. As I write I am sitting in soaking clothes again having had to herd my newbie hens back in to their run for dinner because at 3.30 it was so gloomy. There was no Summer, 4 days (it rained at night) dry and folk were dancing naked round the fairie ring giving thanks ! I exaggerate only slightly πŸ™‚

  3. Jason Cleaver says:

    Complaining about the weather is the National Pastime. If we didn’t talk about the weather, no one would talk to each other πŸ™‚ And before the six solid months of non-stop rain we had – most of it falling in two months – Three quarters of the UK was in drought conditions.

    I have no idea where the ‘Poms’ thing comes from, but complaining is another of the British staples. Doesn’t matter about what. And always being dreadfully polite and never talking to – or acknowledging – anyone else while on any form of public transport, even if you are packed in so tightly, you couldn’t fit a Higgs-Bosun between people.

  4. Deb says:

    No one knows for sure where Pom or Pomme comes from but one explanation is that it is an acronym for Prisoner of Mother England.

    • oregon expat says:

      Ooo, I vote for that theory one on grounds of Most Interesting. I’d think the Australians would call themselves Poms in that instance, but perhaps they’ve ironically turned the concept on its ear?

  5. Lisa Shaw says:

    Well blimey, I must actually be British because I hate the rain that much too. πŸ™‚

  6. xenatuba says:

    Most of the time, I don’t mind the rain (good thing since I live in Oregon) although occasionally it gets in the way of motorcycle riding. I love the smell of the earth after a good rain, and love the concept of “pleasure molecules”. Kind of like the way the mint fields smell at dawn during the summer….

  7. Ze says:

    Pom = pomegranate – because that’s the colour pale-skinned Brits turn in the Aussie sun (we’re not smart enough to avoid burning – just watch us frying by the mile on Algarve beaches!!).

    (The prisoner of mother etc. thing is a modern myth – we stopped sending convicts there in the 19th C – acronyms are pretty much a 20th C invention)

    We love to grumble about the weather – if it were an Olympic sport we’d win all 3 medals at every games.

    But it’s been raining almost non-stop in the UK since April. We’ve had floods in several areas, several times. More rain fell in the first week of June than normally falls in a month. More rain fell in the first two days of September than usually falls in the whole month. And we had October’s total in one single day. And this is the second year running it’s rained for most of what passes for summer… So we’ve elevated grumbling about the weather into an obligation not just a pastime.

    • Jason Cleaver says:

      And if the sun comes out, the media will declare we’re having ‘a scorcher’ and go all hysterical, plastering pictures of people on beaches, women in skimpy bikinis and kids running under sprinklers all over, combined with big bold headlines about sizzling temperatures.

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