(Originally published 30/11/07)
To say that Wales is predisposed to the occasional torrential rain storm is an understatement of Biblical proportions. It loves to rain. Even when it’s not you just know that the bastard clouds up there are thinking about it and are probably waiting for a day when I forget my umbrella to unleash their liquid fury.
I’ve been living in Wales for over three years now, and in that time I’ve learnt two weather based lessons. One, there is no umbrella on this earth powerful enough to withstand a Welsh gale, and subsequently remain unbroken for more than month. Two, in a rain storm, people (many of whom have lived here all their lives and should know better) are somehow transformed into spatially inept motion retards, banging clumsily into each other’s umbrellas and walking in front of cars whilst blinkered by their enormous Gore-tex coat hoods.
Like drugged ants, these people scurry out of shops and doorways only to open their enormous golfing umbrellas in the faces of little old ladies struggling with their transparent plastic hair caps. People stop in the middle of busy pavements to zip up their jackets, causing a domino effect behind them as swearing flustered pedestrians slop through puddles in entirely inappropriate footwear. Panic stricken mothers drag their crying children through the showers and in front of squinting, rain lashed boys on bikes, and the transport infrastructure falls apart as cars crawl along at 20mph with their wipers squeaking furiously backwards and forth at unnecessarily frantic speeds.
In short, chaos. And yet wherever you go you’ll hear people lamenting the weather with a kind of disbelief:
‘Gosh, it’s bucketing down out there.’
‘I know. Can you believe it? Mind, last week. That was terrible.’
‘Oh yes, wasn’t it? My Trevor was stuck in traffic for hours/my feet were soaked through/I inadvertently took out the eye of a passerby.’
It’s not the first time this country has experienced rain, nor will it be the last. We have daily threats of terrorism, virus outbreaks and war, and yet the people of WALES, arguably the wettest patch of land in the UK, regress into doddering medieval serfs at the very prospect of it.
And now, with Christmas round the corner, the streets of Cardiff are even more perilous in the rain. There are heavily laden shoppers everywhere and bulky bags at knee height in abundance. Not done your Christmas shopping yet? For Gods sake don’t go when it’s drizzling. It’ll be carnage.