Posted by: puebloman | February 1, 2010

The Weathermen

Is there anything more pointless or useless than pretending you can forecast the weather? My auntie Lil used to hang a piece of seaweed outside the back door and so did my auntie Win,whose husband “Old Ted” (as opposed to “Young Ted his son), used to bring it back from Portsmouth Harbour where he was a docker. It was a long flat flabby sort of leaf, and would curl up if it dried out and flap back down in humid air and always let you know whether or not to put on a mac before you went out.

Aunt Lil and aunt Win are the real weather forecasters. The “professional”,  “scientific” weather forecasters of “Forecasting House” on the other hand are nearly always wrong. More often wrong than if you flipped a coin.  Having forecast a “mediterranean” summer and a “warm” winter in the UK they have recently been forced to accept that their long-range forecasts are unmitigated bullshit and not worth the hot air upon which they are bourne. Previously we were expected to regard forecasts as “science” – evidence based and therefore not to be  questioned by we mere mortals. So it seems that they can’t short-forecast and they can’t long-forecast but they know all about climate change.

We non scientific experts love to gossip about the weather. So do the weather scientists, which is why most “forecasts” are ninety per cent descriptions of how the weather was. We are all superstitious and secretly think we can control the weather just by talking about it. I thought we English were obsessed by the weather but that’s nothing to the obsession here in Spain.

It has just stopped raining here in Cutar. From June 2009 to Dec 17th 2009 we didn’t have a spot of rain. Auntie Lil’s bit of seaweed would have been as stiff as a board. All the old boys in the village had been forecasting slow progressive climate doom for as long as we have lived here. Visiting Dutch botanists would take it for granted that the Axarquia was turning into a desert. Needless to say we have never had a hose pipe ban here – not like my Dad, who lives in Hampshire where there’s always a water crisis and where it’s always raining.

Anyway, after seven months of unmitigated drought it rained and rained so you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. It rained solid like that for two weeks and then turned Welsh. You know the thin relentless rain that soaks you to the skin while not appearing to touch you. Fortunately all of our self-lets were occupied by Canadians who are the last of the world’s great pioneers, don’t give a damn, and sat under a dripping roof in their shirt sleeves through Xmas and New Year saying “Well, its minus fourty in Saskatoon, what do we care about a bit of rain?”

God bless them. What do we know about climate change? We are poor little monkeys and are dead almost as soon as we are born. How can we possibly see the big picture when the little picture keeps us guessing?


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