Good old British Weather. A radio report mash-up inspires this post, they want you to send in embarrassing photos to win some prize, probably tickets to see some band I’ve never heard of because I’m not really into all this underground street culture that’s becoming more and more popular. I prefer my songs with a bit of a tune, actual singing and maybe a story rather than a misogynist/political/”insert-random-ideology-here” rant.
So I was flicking through the photos on my phone, and came across this. It’s my old car, covered in snow! We’re heading into Autumn now, it’s already been less than 15 degrees, and today it’s supposed to be getting up to 21C. It’s been torrential rain, but at the weekend I was walking around in just a t-shirt. Basically all over the place. I thought I’d give you a Girl’s Guide to Surviving the British Weather.
1. Umbrella – An all-year-round staple. And don’t invest in an expensive one, not even the most haute-couture designer can save you from that sudden gust of wind that gets you by surprise and nearly takes you flying because your brolly wasn’t facing the right way. In Summer especially the weather is so changeable you can need it in the morning but be peeling layers off in the afternoon. Plus it doubles up as a parasol, to keep food out of the sun on your picnic in the park.
2. Scarf – This actually is the best one. If like me your tummy’s a bit of a problem area and you don’t feel quite comfortable in those tighter clothes in the Summer, you’ve had a Pimms and a burger in a lovely beer garden, then you catch sight of yourself in a shop window and think “what the bloody hell I look pregnant!” Cue the scarf! Even just draped round, not tied it can hide anything. Then, it’s too bloody hot but it was raining when you left the house so you didn’t even think to take your suncream a light scarf can easily shield your shoulder and arms if you’re in the sun for a long time. It also goes without saying that scarves of varying thickness are essential all year round, especially in the Autumn and Winter when you can’t see my face anymore because it’s wrapped up in knitted scarf.
3. Cardigan – It’s boiling outside but everywhere inside’s got the aircon on too high so it’s actually freezing in the office, or in Forever 21. Plus, it can get quite chilly in the shade when the only table left in the beer garden is under a tree that’s still damp underfoot from the overnight rain. In the Winter you never know when you might want that extra layer, or lend it to your friend who didn’t think it was going to be this cold so came out with no coat.
4. Suncream and sunglasses – You might think you can only get away with factor 15, but never under-estimate the power of the British Summer. You’ve seen those photos of old men on the beach with their handkerchief hats and bright red faces, and the French do call us the “Rosbif” for a reason. And Sunglasses I think should be another staple for all year round, especially driving in bright Winter’s snow.
5. Bags – You’ll need something big enough to put it all in. I hate those big wicker beach-bags people have in the Summer. And in Winter I see girls walking round with those tiny little retro bags that can barely fit purse-keys-phone in. In the evening, unless you’re willing to pay for a taxi to take you from one club to another you really need to fit your brolly in there too.
6. Beer gardens – One cloud-break and we’re all out. So get there early, or be prepared to sit at a table in the shade. Then there are those bloody bastard wasps, trap them in beer glasses, or better yet, move inside. More and more places are opening their gardens in the Winter too, with heaters and blankets on offer. What’s more cosy and romantic than snuggling up outside in your scarf with a hot chocolate? I love this idea, so find out what’s going on and get yourself an early spot in the warm.
7. The double-coat trick – In Summer not so much, but in Winter this is a godsend, remember it’s still going to be cold in those bars. And we have the reputation the world over for walking in all weathers between bars in heels and a mini-skirt, couldn’t possibly waste drink money on a cloakroom ticket now could we? So, just do it, just pick your coat up before you leave. I learnt this on my Erasmus year, there’s no shame in taking a coat, you can all leave them in a big pile together if you manage to get a table or a booth in a big enough group where at least one of you is always sitting down. You can even, I know it’s radical, but you can even wear two coats, a thin smart one for the bar and then your big winter one for extra warmth while you’re waiting for that taxi home.
8. Watch the media – I know, I take them with a pinch of salt on other channels but I really do believe every word Carol Kirkwood says. Look at her there in all her BBC loveliness. She from Scotland, so if she says it’s going to be cold then yes, it’s going to be Scotland cold. Floods tell you which parts of the country to avoid, record highs tell you which part of the country to go to. Even social media can help you out, if your friend in Sheffield tweets that it’s raining, you can bet any money that rain’s heading your way.
9. Good hair products – Again, if like me your hair gets knotted in the wind, and whips you in the face so you can’t see anything you’ll need to prepare before you leave the house, or carry a comb and a bobble in your bag for those unexpected bastard gusts of wind. And for extra protection you can use the old reliable, your umbrella even if it’s not raining.
10. Book a holiday – In Summer, sod’s law that whatever week you book will be record high temperatures in the UK, but at least you won’t be stuck in a freezing airconned office or trying to find a tiny patch for your blanket in the local park or beach. And in Winter, get some sun! I used to live in Northern Spain, so maybe don’t try there, but I’m sure in Málaga or even Malta or Cyprus it’s still warm. The sun won’t have been out here all Summer, so take this opportunity to get yourself to Greece in the bikini you’ve been saving up while the flights are cheap.