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Weather? You Don’t Have Weather!

It’s recognized as a great British pass-time; talking about the weather. And, it’s true. I don’t think I’ve had a conversation with my mother in the last 10 years where she hasn’t mentioned the weather.  The Brits just love talking about it. Or should that be complaining about it?

The irony is, in general the Brits don’t have any weather. Ok, they have ‘weather’, but not ‘weather’. Not the kind of weather we have over here in Canada. We have seasons in Canada. In spring it rains, the sun shines and it gets hot in summer, the fall* is a little chilly but we’re treated to the beautiful foliage. And in winter, well it snows. A lot. And it’s cold. Very, very cold.

England in winter, and autumn, and spring, and most of the summer

In the UK it’s usually mostly a grey and wet spring, followed by a largely cloudy summer with showers, a gloomy autumn with some downpours, and a miserable wet and cold winter. Barring a day or two of sun in July or August, and the annual few days’ national shut down due to an inch and a half of white stuff, it’s pretty standard fare. Of course, I understand that this is some justification for the complaints, but it’s hardly riveting conversation is it?

“Bit wet and chilly today, innit Bob?”

“Yup, mind you not as wet and chilly as yesterday, Bill”

“Ye’r right there. What’s it supposed to be like tomorrow Bob?”

“Gonna be gray Bill. With a bit of rain. And chilly.”

“Tut, tut. Bloody weather.”

“Yeah, bloody weather, tut, tut.”

Conversations like this have been going on for centuries across the British Isles. There are probably thousands of conversations like this taking place right now.

I genuinely admire the Canadian resilience in the face of extreme weather. “A bit chilly” to them is -10°C, with a -20°C wind chill. They’ll also wear shorts at the first sign of sunshine on grass, regardless of the temperature, and they’ll be sitting outside on terraces milking the last glimmer of sunshine until the last leaves fall.

Now that’s weather, and how to deal with it.

*Fall is Autumn in North Americanish  (for the Brits without North American experience)

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UK. Great Britain. British Isles. England. What’s the Difference?

February 13, 2011 3 comments

This is a question I have been asked more than once. It’s a complex subject. These are concepts that even the British struggle with, never mind Canadians and the rest of the World. People are further confused by the insistence of the Scottish in particular refusing to acknowledge they’re British and correcting anyone terming them as such.

As I researched the subject (yes, I did have to research this subject) it became clear that it was even more complicated than I first thought. I had written 7 paragraphs (about 500 words), and I was confusing myself. Then, up popped a tweet. The Difference Between The United Kingdom, Great Britain and England.

The tweet had a link to a video, which fully explained the differences and relationships between the UK, Great Britain, the British Isles, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Not only that, it also did a pretty good job at outlining all the commonwealth countries, crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories. I could have used that tweet a couple of weeks ago – before I started writing!

So, I highlighted my 7 paragraphs, pressed the delete key, and posted the link here instead. Click on the image to see the full explanation. It’s a good 5 minute watch, if you can keep up with it.

After watching this, you do have some sympathy for non-Brits feeling a little perplexed.

The Difference Between the UK, Great Britain and England - courtesy of Grey's Blog

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