Oh To Be A Weatherman!
Posted on November 19, 2010
One of the best presents I received for my birthday on Wednesday was an external thermometer which sticks on your window and gives you what would appear to be a very accurate reading of the outside temperature with the added bonus of recording the day time highs and lows……………please, stop, don’t turn your computer off, this is really interesting honestly, so stay with it!
When I was a young boy I became friendly with the local Priest………Joke, joke….. I didn’t really. When I was a young boy I developed, like a lot of boys, a fascination for numbers and graphs, things like football league tables and cricket scores and figures, but top of my list was, rather oddly, meteorological figures. I couldn’t wait to look at the back of my Dad’s paper to read the highs and lows of the previous day, and I would watch every forecast I could as well as tuning in to Radio 4 long wave to listen to their forecasts. I even became a fan of the shipping forecast and names like Tyne Dogger and Forties Cromaty entered my vocabulary. I was that person who didn’t mind Test Match Special being interrupted by the shipping forecast. The highlight of the week for me was 11.55pm on a Sunday night when I would listen to the Radio 4 weekly outlook that bizarrely seemed more accurate then than what is on offer now.
I suppose the weather was my imaginary friend, I was a relatively good footballer at school which in turn made me quite popular, so I tried not to jeopardise my reasonably elevated social status by admitting that I admired Bill Giles more than Kevin Keegan. To admit I was obsessed by the weather would have been political suicide in a state school where you had to battle for popularity gaining your stripes as good footballer or going out with the first girl to develop anything resembling breasts. Unfortunately, I have to regretfully inform you that I failed with the latter.
However, I blew my cover one day when a school trip was cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Our pompous teacher had tried to sensationalize an inch or two of snow the previous day by quoting a headline straight from the Daily Express……………”We have decided to cancel the trip to Southampton tomorrow because we have have had severe weather and the forecasters say there is even worse to come.”
What a terrible liar………..I couldn’t stand for that.
“Sir…….it’s not going to snow again, there is much milder air spreading from the South West overnight and though it may snow briefly it will soon turn to rain unless you live in the Cumbrian Fells or Southern Uplands. In Southampton and other coastal areas there will be no snow at all.” That quietened the class down I can tell you.
My inability to keep quiet had led me head first in to a game of childhood Russian Roulette, the teacher ignored my forecast and the trip was cancelled, but thirty kids had heard my prediction which had now become more important in the playground than the great debate revolving around whether Stan Bowles should play for England. At about 11pm that night, snow began to fall and was accumulating at an alarming rate, how ironic it was that I loved the snow, but now I was praying for it to rain. I slept fitfully and awoke in the early hours to see rain lashing at my window, thank you God….thank you.
As with all teachers there was no admission of his error, it was swept under the carpet, but at least my announcement had been vindicated, and my peers started seeing me as a bit of a genius and spent the rest of the winter asking me when it was going to snow. It was then I realised how the weather works, if I told someone that there may be a dusting of snow on the Pennines, two hours later word had spread that I had predicted a blizzard and that we would all be off sledging the next day. I think a lot of my peers must have gone on to be journalists at The Daily Express.
My dreams of becoming a Weather Forecaster were never going to materialise because though I was a keen Geography student the Met Office demanded qualifications in one of the Science’s and Mathematics, subjects I desperately tried to understand for a while before my brain caved in and couldn’t take it any longer and decided to be disruptive instead. However my love of weather facts and figures never really diminished like a lot of childhood obsessions do, and I continued to keep (in secret) a diary of daily temperatures and weather conditions right up until I left school, and even to this day I go straight to the weather page in the newspaper and bbc.co.uk/weather is on my favourites lists on my PC.
So thank you Sally for you gift. “When Bob Met Sally” sounds like a 1980’s Romantic comedy, and though we are not romantically linked, meeting someone with whom I can discuss the impending easterly winds that will bring a noticeable temperature drop this weekend, has given my obsession a fairytale ending that would undoubtedly be a Hollywood Blockbuster that would even out sell the copies of my soon to be published book you are all queueing round the block for.
One fact before I finish. If anyone ever tells you it is too cold to Snow, punch them in the face for me. It is never too cold to snow, it snows on the North Pole when it is -50c. Try telling some posh bloke who has to become the first posh bloke to try cross the place with just a flask of soup that it is too cold to snow. He won’t give you a punch in the face because his fingers have snapped off, but he will certainly give you a short shrift.
Get your jumpers out it’s cold next week ( except for Priv and Trevor in Australia who I presume are getting hot next week).