Weather outlook


The weather outlook for Puerto Williams is not what most people would welcome — but it’s the kind of weather Alene would order — and I’ve come to welcome it myself. BTW, temperatures are in Fahrenheit, so for everyone living outside the USA, we’re looking at 5-6 deg Celsius. Alene grew up England, and she’s perfectly comfortable working in Celsius or Kelvin for scientific calculations. She used to set her weather apps to display Celsius — but when everyone around you still talks Fahrenheit (“I heard it’s going to be in the 70s on Monday!”), you might as well think in their language.

English people are raised from infancy to worship and crave warm sunny weather. We invented the idea of taking a holiday with the sole objective of coming home with a sun tan. I bought into it. In my younger days when I had less money to spend, I sunned myself on the beaches of Spain (which was still a military dictatorship back then!) or Cyprus. As affluence came my way, I holidayed in Bermuda and the Seychelles. Then my wife took a fancy to Florida and we ended up going there enough for me to get tired of it. I took a cruise to Alaska without her. It was summertime, but the weather wasn’t summery — and it was nice to spend the whole time in corduroy pants, a sweater and a windbreaker. I think I was the only English person on the cruise who didn’t spend the whole time complaining about the weather — and wondering if the sun would ever come out!

We got taught a lot of nonsense in England in the 20th Century — and judging from the coverage of the recent election, it sounds like a lot of people still believe it. One of the untruths we grow up with is that the British Isles have the worst weather on Earth and that everywhere else is constantly basking in warm sunshine — just to spite us!! I think it’s mainly because our empire was focussed on Africa, South Asia and Australia — so those are the places more British people had reason to know about. (Not many British people went to Russia.)

Alene’s family loved to go on about the cold of the winter — and they were from Cornwall, where primroses routinely flower in January. It is true that a winter anywhere in England can be damp and miserable — but it has more to do with the lousy construction of your typical English home back then — drafty, uninsulated, and with no damp course in the walls. Alene spent her first New England winter in a cosy wood-framed house, comfortably heated by a wood stove, while snow piled up in the yard outside and the ponds froze over — and felt a little annoyed at the way she’d been raised to regard weather. Summers in the eastern US can be brutal too — and by August, Alene had usually had enough of summer.

Seattle living makes one a bit of weather wimp though — and after fifteen winters there, Alene wonders how she ever dealt with New England. Seattle winter weather is very easy to contend with — and it complements the place rather nicely. Alene sometimes wishes she could find a place that has this kind of weather all year round — and is a bit envious of me going into the weather season while she has five months of summer ahead of her. These days she’s usually had it with summer by July 4 — not so much with the weather itself — but from having to hear people going on about it — just like back in England!!


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