There is one thing that I really detest, it utterly does my swede. Inaccuracy. In this modern age of science, there’s been plenty of research done into the faults or weaknesses of eyewitness testimony and I suppose that is the reason that one of the oldest law codes insists upon at least two or three witnesses to a case. You can correlate the points of similarity, or even better, the identical ones, and build a full picture. It’s an interesting issue though even in everyday life. Do you trust the word of your fellow man, whether it’s a friend recounting a funny story or a sibling dobbing in another for messing with the celebration cake? And if you don’t, where are you left?
I grew up in a family of four neatly divided down the middle by those who remember and those who don’t. Two of us had a tendency to photographic memory and could easily establish a timeline for whatever event you cared to have recalled. I won’t boast nor admit where I stood in this division but I have had at times earnt the moniker of a well known brand of diary/organiser and worked my way through exam papers by ‘reading’ pages of textbooks by memory. (Sadly my memory is being destroyed by that beast ME and I’ve currently been left with a black hole for most of the first part of this year).
I take good memory as given, for granted. I was therefore surprised when a friend and I had an interesting encounter with a stranger on the street and five minutes later, when she was regaling some other friends we met up with the tale, she told quite a different version to my own, details such as age etc were vague and inaccurate and they couldn’t even paraphrase the conversation. I was very surprised.
One of the areas that I meet the greatest inaccuracy in is weather. Now, admittedly, weather is something of a personal taste, even of an opinion and what is hot in one region is another region’s cold but why can’t people accept the basic facts? I see it most in the summertime. People write off summers very easily, too cold, to wet and quickly it becomes that we have had no summer at all.
This frustrates me. Even in a summer of fierce storms we have had some stonkingly hot days, some more pleasant than others when the humidity soared to a greater percentage than if it had rained. Some days have been bogged down by grey skies but it still was warm. So why do people insist that it’s cold? We went out for a day at the beginning of the summer, we were sitting outside unfortunately in a vicious gale force. There was definitely wind chill. You will always feel some chill when outside in such a storm with no shelter. That’s a fact. However, it wasn’t raining (surprisingly because despite my calls for accuracy, I am not the hugest supporter of an optimistic summer forecast) and of the few showers we had, there was definitely hosepipe rain for at least one. (I will discuss this highly scientific term another day). From my own experience, hosepipe rain only occurs in temperatures of fifteen degrees plus, probably at least sixteen or seventeen actually. That’s not cold. Not by summer standards in this country. So why did people persist in calling the day ‘freezing’? (Again, as something of a pedant, I would define ‘freezing’ as zero or below). It wasn’t bad. We’ve all known a lot worse. All I ask is that people stick to such expressions as ‘I feel cold/freezing’ or ‘it feels cold/freezing (to me)’.
I don’t trust people’s opinion of temperature. I know this from personal experience. We went on holiday once, overseas, but for reasons that I’m not entirely sure of, we had a thermometer with us. It proved very revealing. The first week was hot, pretty hot. The second week was ‘freezing’. Really? Well, the thermometer told a different story. The second week was in the mid seventies, the right temperature, or even a little higher, for late spring where we were staying. So what was the issue? Well, that first week had been a record heatwave with temperatures in the mid eighties and we therefore experienced a ten degree temperature drop. On average in this country, ten degrees is the difference between summer and winter. A ten degree drop will feel considerably colder, however high that second temperature actually is. Ask any camper.
I have to say though that September has felt decidedly chilly this year. We have a tendency to ‘Indian Summers’ but this time it feels more like November. A damp chill to the air most morning and evenings which sometimes lingers most of the day too. Not at all pleasant. It is grey and we’ve had some pretty heavy rain and my thoughts turn winter-wards as I regretfully have to put on a jumper and socks.
It isn’t quite winter yet, the indoor temperature is still holding eighteen or nineteen degrees and I’m quite sure that the damp and psychological factors are having the biggest part to play in my opinion of the weather.
I have watched the darkening evenings throughout August with a sense of foreboding, my mood dipping with the light levels as well as the lack of medication. I need light, I like warmth. I don’t like winter, I dread it’s coming. For some people, the autumn is a season of promise and new beginnings, they relish the change in clothes and diet, anticipate the garden’s harvest and delight in the seasonal colours. I am not one of those people. Autumn is just a red flag signalling impending doom. Increased pain, increased layers, increased hassle. No, I’m not a fan of winter.
Summer has seemed so short too this year. I know that we’ve had good spells in the weather since at least May but I feel that I’ve missed a lot of it, stuck in bed or cooped up in the sitting room. I’m just getting back on my feet in time for colds and lurgis, damp and wet, cold and icy. It doesn’t seem fair somehow.
And it’s coming in hard and fast this year. Ask my knees, they’re predicting a dire season this year. I’ve asked my scout about the berries but it’s mainly too early whilst others have been lost entirely with the wet and wind of the summer’s storms so it’s hard to see what their forecast is. But September hasn’t been pleasant, socks and slippers have already had to be found.
I find myself missing summer, wishing that I could turn back time and live this one over with a little more energy and a little more appreciation.