It’s a cliché that Brits are obsessed with the weather but right now there’s a good reason for the interminable moaning about our island’s awful climate.
Everyone is heartily sick of the weather this summer – the floods, the unrelenting rain, the cold and the extreme storms.
A work colleague has likened the weather to the opening sequence of Bladerunner in which Harrison Ford battles through relentless rain in the hell-hole of the metropolis of the future.
Back in the UK, festivals, agricultural shows, school fetes and – God forbid – family BBQs have been cancelled.
Even Pete Waterman’s Kylie Minogue-Jason Donovan musical reunion in Hyde Park has succumbed as a result of the downpour. Perhaps Kylie didn’t have any waterproof knickers strong enough to cope?
Last week’s camper van trip to north Northumberland became our very own victim of the weather due to the waterlogged ground at Paxton House.
This weekend we’re hoping to risk a van trip but this time we’re heading to a site with a hard standing – and hopefully a pub with a blazing log fire nearby! We’ll also be taking plenty of books and DVDs.
As I type it’s currently an unseasonal 13 degrees in Newcastle – and it continues to pour down. But it’s even worse down the road in Stoke where the temperature is a bracing 9C.
This isn’t funny anymore… the Brits are now starting to get fed up about an entourage of experts speculating about why Britain is currently in the centre of what feels like a perpetual low pressure zone.
Apparently there is no end in sight until 7 August – so we could experience the wettest Olympics in history!
The London 2012 Olympic organisers have ordered ¼ million ponchos to keep those lucky enough to get a ticket for the event dry. At least I feel better now about failing in my bid to buy tickets for the beach volleyball and mountain bike racing.
Some weather experts are blaming the jet stream being too low; others think this is the by-product of climate change and the melting Arctic ice caps.
One of my family is blaming global conflicts and missiles, no less, whilst others suggest it’s down to satellites and space travel.
One expert today even talked of weather control and ‘moving’ cloud banks from the London Olympics to some other unsuspecting locality like Reading or Manchester!
Whatever the reason, our global weather appears to be getting more extreme across the planet with recent floods in Russia and Poland, excessive heat in the USA and super-charged storms across the Mediterranean.
During a recent holiday in Italy friends and relatives were in touch to tell us the sensational news of an ‘Apocalyptic super-cell storm’ over Tyneside.
A lightning strike hit the Tyne Bridge, cars were floating down flooded streets, and the sky had turned an angry, dark pea green, shot through with Biblical black.
Back in Italy there was another sort of extreme weather with temperatures more than 10 degrees above the seasonal average, hovering around 37-40 degrees in Umbria.
Apparently, it was the result of hot air coming in from north Africa, causing even the Italians to groan about the heat. Scorchio!
Today, I read that the extreme heat in Naples has resulted in a plague of cockroaches scuttling through the streets. They’re 4 inches long, prompting mass spraying and extermination on a scale rarely seen since the Black Death.
Sometimes intense heat can be – sorry to say this to any Brits – too hot!
So what lessons can the traveller learn from this extreme weather?
Read Tammy’s top tips for coping in extreme weather in her next blog post coming soon.