“Hi, we’re your weather girls, and we’ve got news for you!”
“Humidity is rising, barometer’s getting low”
“It’s raining men! Hallelujah, it’s raining men, AMEN!”
When I heard the opening chords of this one, and I just laughed and laughed. Not because it has or hasn’t been raining men, but just because it has been RAINING. Whatever happened to the wonderous summer that has been creeping over Manchester, you ask? Well, yesterday and today, someone made the sky gods angry, and it has been persisting down. Pelting. Pissing. Really chucking it down. Nice weather for ducks. (Paddington movie shoutout – he really is the best bear.)
It’s been funny being a hemisphere away from our parents because we have heard the blow-by-blow of how cold it is in Cape Town – for reference, going all the way down to single figures. For us, high single figures usually means a hoodie, but I have seen great photos of my brother-in-law in outdoor-layers cuddling their very photogenic cat on the couch. My parents-in-law have a gorgeous old cat too, who becomes more and more attached to her heat pad and heater in the living room as the months shift us towards July, and becomes more and more of a velcro cat – sitting on one of her two long-suffering human hot water bottles. I miss those furballs, and I can’t wait til we have a place that we can have a pet in. It probably won’t happen for several years, which is a pity, but I can hope.
The weather over the last few days has been really changeable – and way more than I’m used to. I spent my youth being told that Cape Town was a city of four seasons in a day, and I think that was somewhat accurate, but not very accurate. In winter, you might get lucky with a day’s glorious sunshine, which in winter often also means no bladdy wind (the Cape Doctor, a fierce Southeaster, pelts the City from November to April-ish, and in some neighbourhoods, the trees grow sideways to show the direction of the prevailing wind).
Having arrived in Manchester in November, we arrived straight into the first proper cold cold-snap of winter. We walked out of the airport into 3-degree grey skies. We quickly became accustomed to the wet and cold, and became adept at the gloves-beanie-scarf-layers game. Sure, we haven’t seen proper cold, and despite the weather forecast saying it would snow several times, we never saw it. My abiding sense of winter weather is just persistent drizzle. Which some might moan about, but hey, we chose to move here, so we should just suck it up.
Then, winter started lightening up, and spring crept into the earth, mostly in the form of sections of daffodils that stuck their heads out of the still-very-cold ground. And as we all retreated into our homes for the first of the three months so far of lockdown, the weather became sunny and warm. The warmest and driest spring on record, apparently. While we were inside. Typical.
Now, we are into summer, in a way, and we have had muggy, close days, sunshine in the morning, and flinging open all the windows when we wake up, only for the thick dark clouds to roll in, and the world to suddenly go dark and thundery. And drenching rain will pelt the ground, so much so that our block of flats’ downpipes can scarce keep up with the torrents that flow down them. And then back to sunny, in way that makes you feel like a total wimp for not going for your run. Until the next wave of dark thunder obscures the sun. Sometimes, this is repeated several times in an afternoon.
I guess we will learn, as we become more used to Mancunian weather, whether this is the norm or an unusual summer storm season. All I can say is that I’m glad to be indoors when the heavens open.
This process is starting to get into my habit. I opened by laptop after work, and I felt like writing. That’s such progress from a month ago, I can’t even tell you. (Strains of ‘At Last’ drift through the open window on the summer breeze… I can feel myself morphing into a Real Writer ™ at last. Which totally is going to be short-lived, and tomorrow, writing is going to be like pulling nails.)