Posts Tagged ‘weather’

From My Diary, June 5, 2017


An annoying day winds down, and I’m glad to see the back of it. It’s been raining and blowing hard all afternoon, and I’ve sat and listened quietly to it. No distractions, the block pleasantly quiet.

The driving drum of rain on PVC window frames is one of my favourite sounds, up there with sea crashing onto a rocky beach, a river’s rustle and the song of a skylark on a hot summer’s day. The open windows rattle and creak a little as the gusts bellow through the flat, a ship rolling in a heaving sea. The sounds surround me, wrap me gently in the warmest, softest arms and breasts. Annoyances hurled into the wind and carried away.

Time for bed, though it’s still light. A book open, music adds an extra background sound – the dreamy Sigur Rós () album seems to work well. It will soon be time to close the curtain and kill the lamp. But not just yet. Savour the peace a little longer.


Raining Again


It’s raining again, and raining hard,
Late August, and for once the building’s quiet.
I sit beside the open window,
Listen to rain pattering plastic windowsills
And imagine I’m back at Grandma’s house,
In a comfy chair by the picture window
Looking out at the wet green garden.

In winter, the fruit trees bare,
Rattling bones on each other,
Spring, wind blown blossoms
Snow confetti round the greenhouse,
Summer, the borders awash with colours
Brighter than a child’s painting,
Autumn, the leaf litter swirling,
Crunching underfoot.

All the effort they put in
Mowing, planting, pruning, weeding
(How did they ever have time to go to work?)
Worth every ache and pain
To create this small city Eden.

So I drink deeply of the rain soaked air and
Remember, remember that house, that garden
Of long childhood summers
That were never quite long enough,
A house forever more home than home,
A house that always comes to mind
Whenever rain tap taps on PVC.


A Shortage of Common Sense at the City Council


Today’s front page in The Sentinel concerns Stoke City Council’s decision to ban staff who work outside from wearing shorts unless the council decide the weather is “extreme” enough. They do not say just what is extreme. This is despite them issuing binmen and other staff working outside with shorts last year.

This pettiness is sadly typical of the council now, where it will not show its staff respect by treating them as adults. Surely it’s warm enough for shorts if someone feels it is! It seems blindingly obvious that allowing staff some latitude in what they wear to work means they will be comfortable, and thus more productive.

But why stop at staff who work outside? The years I worked there were spent in various buildings without air conditioning. Consequently, they were insufferably hot in summer, even with all the windows open and fans on. (And typical of the council, there were never enough fans and they wouldn’t buy more). Requests by male staff to be allowed to wear shorts on these days were routinely refused. No explanation was ever given, just like a parent justifying their decision by the old cliche because I say so.

I always regarded this as sexist as female staff were allowed to wear shorter dresses in summer. Just what is the difference? The council’s own dress code contained no ban on shorts, just a vague statement that clothing “should be appropriate”. A word clearly open to interpretation. With the recent warm spell, I’m very glad I no longer work there.

The Sentinel ends its editorial with a call for “the City Council [to start] treating its workers like grown ups”. Now how’s that for a radical idea?

Glorious The Thunder’s Roar


Late October and the evening is closing in earlier today. Then a rumble of thunder and the rain suddenly increases its intensity. Surprised, I pull the curtains to watch for lightning. Surprised as I’m not used to seeing storms this late in the year: I’ve always associated them with summer days. After several increasingly sultry days, a storm arrives and breaks the humidity with a refreshing roar, leaving the air cool and sweet.

Thunderstorms have always fascinated me. A truly awesome spectacle. One of my earliest memories is opening the curtain and watching a storm in the wee small hours. It seems counter-intuitive that a cloud, made up of water droplets, could produce such fierce electrical displays. Today’s storm is not particularly impressive. The thunder occasional and what lightning there is confined within the cloud. It’s been a long time since I saw the sharp jags of forks arcing into the ground, the brief flickering brilliance hotter than the surface of the sun and packing a million volt punch. Followed by long, cracking booming rolls of thunder that make your ribs vibrate. And the rain. Thunderstorm rain has to be seen to be believed. So intense, it’s like looking into a deep waterfall, and within seconds, the gutters are half metre wide torrents flowing so fast the water passes over rather than into the drains, and the rain bounces as high into the air. I recall one such storm about twenty years ago. There had been several hot and sticky days and the storm came as a relief. Dressed only in shorts and T shirt, I went into the yard and stood in the rain, more pleasant than any shower or bath.

No chance of that happening today, and the storm has passed in the time it’s taken to write this. Only a small storm, but no less welcome. They still fascinate me, and I’m glad of that.

Nick Cohen: Writing from London

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