Earlier this week, we had two -TWO!- consecutive days of sunshine, and I was tempted to write this post then. But I reasoned that I should wait until normal London weather returned to see if I still felt the same. Now, after two rainy, dreary days in a row, I still feel compelled to write the following.
1. It’s like baby bear’s porridge! I should note here that in the two years before moving to London I lived in Minneapolis — a frozen city on the tundra — and Kampala — a dusty city on the Equator. So London’s rather mild climate is a welcome change. I can count on one hand the number of times during my 6 months in London that I have felt uncomfortably cold, and I have yet to feel unbearably hot.
2. You can actually adapt to the nasty bits. In Minneapolis (and other frozen climes), you can bundle up, but no matter how many layers you put on, you will still feel cold when it’s -35 degrees with wind chill. In Kampala, the worst bit was the dust in the air, and there’s really no way to avoid it (I suppose you could wear a SARS mask but I never explored that option). In London, the nastiest weather is the endless rain. Wear a raincoat, and carry an umbrella and you’ve mitigated the worst of it. Voilà!
3. A taste of winter without the full effect. I was really sad to miss out on a whole winter when we lived in Uganda last year. I imagine that everyone — regardless of age — who grew up in a place with proper winters experiences a certain irrepressible giddiness during the first snowfall of every year. But as I see my friends back in the US post about blizzard after blizzard on Facebook, I’m reminded that the giddiness fades somewhere around snowfall number 7 or 8. Thankfully, London had only a few light cases of snow this year (I considered them light, although others disagreed), so I got to feel like I was experiencing winter without the real bitter cold, the mounds of dirty snow-slush that linger for months or the slips and falls on perpetually ice-covered sidewalks.
4. Helps you appreciate something without causing too much suffering. In any place that has bad weather, you can learn to gain an appreciation for some aspect of good weather that people in other places take for granted. In Minnesota, for example, as soon as the snow started to melt and there was even a hint of spring in the air, everyone would be outside running, cycling, and having a good time because we’d come to appreciate any temperature that was even slightly above freezing. Of course, this revelry was only possible because we’d endured a long, brutal winter. In London, there’s a similar profusion of outdoor activity whenever there’s a sunny day because sunshine is such a precious asset here. But it’s not exactly pain and suffering in the interim between sunny days; there are still loads of people running and cycling on the cloudy days, too. You come to appreciate sunshine a lot more after living in London, without getting Rickets!
If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.