In June and July the English weather lulled me into a false sense of security. I got used to hot sunny days and balmy evenings. I got used to not needing to wear a coat or socks and not having to smear goose fat all over my body to keep me warm and dry every time I left the house. I even considered that I might have to admit for the first time since the long hot summer of 1976 that living in England with its pleasant climate might be acceptable.
Today was August Bank Holiday Monday. A day for trips to the seaside. A day for barbeques and paddling pools and ice cream vans and running around in just your knickers. Well it would have been if the weather hadn’t got all nasty and spiteful. Pardon my meteorological terminology but today the weather was shit with a capital effing. Today it rained cats and dogs and the entire population of Noah’s ark. Noah definitely had the right idea, you know. When the rains came he built a big boat and sailed off to somewhere warm and sunny but, if I have understood my bible readings correctly, he got a bit of warning and plenty of time to prepare for his alternative lifestyle. It would appear, therefore, that chapters six to nine in the book of Genesis are a more reliable source of information than the Radio Five Live weather updates on the BBC.
The good thing about our twenty four hour, non-stop, biblical style deluge today was that it reminded me that I am living in the wrong country and that I need to do something about it. I have, in fact, taken immediate remedial action by turning up the central heating to the max, pouring myself a large glass of Ambre Solaire with a plastic umbrella and a cherry on top, and employing my entire vocal range to belt out Wham’s Club Tropicana rock anthem. Although my kitchen now resembles a tropical paradise I feel I need to do a bit more and the bit more has kicked off with a bit more deep thinking and soul searching about where I really want to finally lay my hat. I’ve only been thinking deeply for just over an hour and already I’ve managed to cross Syria, Las Vegas and England off the list of possibilities, though only in the latter of those three do you need to put your wellies on to go to the front door to pay the milkman.
I went to see a Peruvian band today. They were called the Cumbian All Stars and they were performing live in Devizes Market Place as part of the town’s annual international street festival. I’ve known their music for quite some time now so I wouldn’t have missed them even if it had been snowing. They were exceptionally good but sadly, because it was precipitating it down, there were nearly as many people on the stage as there were in the crowd. These fine musicians have been entertaining people all over the world for more than forty years but I bet their piss wet Bank Holiday afternoon in Wiltshire is one gig that they’ll never forget.
Just as illegal immigrants hang on to the undersides of big lorries to get into Britain, I considered strapping myself to the underside of the Cumbia All Stars’ tour bus to escape to somewhere where the weather suits my clothes, but then I discovered that tomorrow they’re playing in Guildford.
The Cumbian All Stars performing in Devizes Market Place ...
wishing they'd brought their brollies.