A Saturday Meditation on Sucking it Up

Wilton Square in the Rain

It was the wettest January on record, and my garden is like a mud farm, with a few dirty stone slabs (that used to be a path) and a massive encampment of slugs (who apparently have gathered there to stage invasions into my kitchen via the kitchen sink while humans sleep away the night.) Every Tube ad seems to be for holidays to the Maldives. The Canary Islands. Egypt. And usually you see these ads while reading about the impending Tube strike next week in the newspaper, or standing under the bus shelter (because you can’t sit as the bench is all wet,) or simply stuck stock still on the 8:50 a.m. replacement rail service to Weybridge because there was a track fire some place you’ve never heard of before, but which is now the most important pace in your universe, and MY GOD! WILL THS TRAIN EVER MOVE?!

Ah, lovely London, in the middle of January, when spring seems like the promise of a dream you once overheard a stranger describe.

But here’s the thing with Londoners: They just get on with it. The weather IS horrible. The rain is never ending. No matter what the thermometer says, the cold can feel like the grip of a conscious malevolent force. But there’s work to do, school runs to take, bikes to read, things to celebrate, pints to drink, etc.

Last year, when the autumn rains finally arrived here, I had planned to take Z to a storytelling event–outdoors in Highgate Wood. When the day started, it was raining, so I scoured the Council’s website, Highgate Wood’s Twitter account, anything for an update–assuming cancellation due to inclement weather. Finally, with no news, I came up with an alternative plan, put Z and me into our wellies, and headed out. Just in case.

Of course, when I arrived, all the parents and kiddos were sitting on the ground, under a little drizzle, happily listening to a magnificent Jamaican storyteller. It was an event that still is one of the loveliest things I’ve done in London.

Conclusions? It rains a lot here. (Fact.) It’s grey a lot here. (Fact.) People talk about this a lot. (Fact.) But no one seems to be troubled enough to by it to put a halt to much of anything.

So, with “Keep calm and carry on” so ubiquitous now that it essentially means nothing, I offer this about my new home:

Plan for rain, and just get on with it.


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