Are you familiar with the old boy scout trick to determine the weather using a piece of seaweed? The way this works is that…
Earlier today, I was meandering my way around the internet (as you do) when I ran across a reference to a Twitter feed called Very British Problems.
“I’m British,” I thought. “I have problems,” I thought (it’s not as easy to be a bon vivant, raconteur, trend-setter, and leader of fashion as you might think).
As an aside, this made me think of the incredibly well-observed book, How To Be An Alien, by George Mikes. I have a copy lurking around somewhere in my office — I’ll have to root it out and re-read the little rascal, but we digress…
So, I bounced over to see what problems the British were having (in addition to having only 20 miles of sea separating them from the French, of course).
One of the first things I ran across was a list of “Things to do when it rains.” Having been born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, rain is something I pride myself I know a lot about (I was 20 years old before I saw the Sun, for goodness’ sake). Of course, I couldn’t help myself from adding one or two items, with the result being as follows:
Tell everyone in the vicinity that it’s raining.
Even though everyone can hear the rain, look out of the window and say, “It’s still raining.”
Stare at the rain.
Frown at the rain.
Moan about the rain.
Describe the rain.
Talk about when it rained before.
Say you quite like the rain.
Say the rain is good for the garden.
Say that at least the plants are enjoying the rain.
Say that the ducks will certainly be enjoying the rain.
Either note that it’s just as well you didn’t put the washing out before it started raining… or comment that it’s typical the rain started just after you put the washing out.
Get caught in the rain.
Step on a loose paving slab sending world’s entire supply of rain into your shoe.
Make funny noises when you get in from being caught in the rain, say “Woah, get that kettle on,” and describe how soaked you are.
Go back to (1) and start all over again.
As another aside, this reminds me of the old boy scout trick to determine the weather using a piece of seaweed. The way this works is that the next time you go to the beach, you gather a 6-inch section of the wide “ribbon-like” seaweed and dry it out in the sun until it’s rock hard (if you leave it wet, it will make your car smell like rotting seaweed on the drive home).
Once you’ve returned home, if you ever want to know what’s happening on the weather front, place the dry seaweed on the palm of your hand, open a window, and stick your arm out. Count to ten slowly and then bring your arm back in again. If the seaweed is wet, it’s raining (you’re welcome).
Just to add a large dollop of whipped cream on top of everything to make things even sweeter (metaphorically speaking), I just discovered that there’s an associated book, Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time.
My cup runneth over! I just ordered a copy. I will report further in a future column. In the meantime, can you think of any items you would like to add to the aforementioned list of “Things to do when it rains”?