It’s our right to whinge about the weather

0
Have your say

The North West is disadvantaged. You know that. We see it in poor job creation figures, tardy road and rail investment and under-developed third level education.

The North West is disadvantaged. You know that. We see it in poor job creation figures, tardy road and rail investment and under-developed third level education.

We also have the worst weather in the Anglo-Celtic Isles. You’d think people in the sunny south east of Ireland and England would be sorry for us! Of course, they’re not. They do their best to ignore us.

Weather forecasters can’t fail to notice the dramatic difference. Virtually every day in May it was four or five degrees warmer in the south east of Ireland and ten degrees warmer in the south east of England. On many days it was more than twice as warm in the south east of England. We had any freezing wind and rain that was going. Chestnut trees in Dublin were in leaf and blossom a month ahead of chestnut trees here. While we shivered, others baked. Spring was especially cold and if the so-called ‘summer’ is any different it’ll be a rare thing.

So, how do the weather forecasters handle the stark contrast? Answer: They try to be kind to us by glossing over our cruel misfortune as much as possible. They smile and jolly us along. They must have been trained in the airline cabin staff school of jollying people along. You know the sort of thing. No matter how late the flight gets, keep smiling sweetly at everyone, it says on page one of the Ladybird book for airline staff. Just make meaningless, perfunctory apologies hoping people haven’t been too badly inconvenienced but otherwise, ignore everything short of crashing into the Alps. Don’t even try to fake sincerity. It’s a tricky skill best left to the politicians.

Euphemisms roll off the tongues of weather forecasters. The ‘secret’ is to make them sound innocuous, totally blasé. You’ll know the sort of thing. “During the day a few showers will drift in along the north coast from Donegal,” they might say. It sounds like Wee Daniel is popping over from Kincasslagh to sing for us, for an hour or two. Or, “most of us, will have a pleasantly warm day with long spells of sunshine. In sheltered rural spots the temperature will reach 19 degrees.” You have to look closely at the chart to see that here, we’ll be lucky to get ten or twelve with gale force winds making if feel more like January than June. Being jollied along by weather forecasters isn’t any less irritating than being jollied along by airline staff. Why not tell us like it is? Don’t spare our feelings. We can take it. We know we’re disadvantaged in almost every way. It’s character building for us.

Just say something like, “Temperatures in the north west will be disappointing for the time of year but as you move towards the favoured south east things will warm up nicely.”

Of course, there must be some advantages to living in the North West, apart from the obvious ones like the beauty of our landscapes, our unassuming, delightful people and our lovely, deserted beaches. The weather sees to that. If I can think of what other advantages are, I might write about them in a future column. In the meantime, people in balmy eastern places flowing with milk and honey don’t blame us for whinging. It’s one of the few pleasures we get.