The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore – The Walker Brothers — a band formed in Los Angeles that achieved greater success here in the UK (and Germany), than in their native USA, perhaps because they brought a little California sun into the dreary skyscape of the UK.
Last summer, here in the U.K., we had a heat wave towards the end of the summer term, followed by a lousy summer holiday and the year before that a lousy summer holiday followed by a heat wave at the beginning of the autumn term.
As there has been hardly a day without rain since we broke up three weeks ago, I am increasingly beginning to wonder why I continue to live here, having lived in much nicer places, and what the precise point of this bloody country really is.
I derive little comfort from the fact that things are little better on the other side of the Pond, as I learnt after reading this article from last Friday’s Noo Yoik Times.
Not one 99-degree day in Central Park. Not a single day that the temperature even approached 90. For just the second time in 140 years of record keeping, the temperature failed to reach 90 in either June or July.
This summer, 85 is the new 95.
And yet it was the weather, both fair and foul, that made my visit to the States back in 2004 so memorable.
When I arrived at Logan Airport, Boston, it was as warm as it was when I had arrived at a similar hour (3 o’clock in the morning by my body clock ) at the little airport on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea, and I feared that I had arrived in the middle of a heatwave.
Luckily, not so.
“We have weather, not climate,” said a lady at the Tourist Information Centre in Newport, Rhode Island, a coupla days later, when I asked whether it would rain.
As I exited the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the heavens opened and I overheard someone say, “It’s pissing down”, just like they do back home in the U.K. I bought an umbrella and continued to walk down Fifth Avenue, with its stunning 1920s facades by J. E. R. Carpenter, Park Avenue and Madison Avenue filming all the while, the rear lights of the cars relected off the “pavements”. (“Pavement” in U.K. English is equivalent to the American “walkway”.)
There is nothing like walking down 8th Avenue for the first time on a sultry summer day, the sound of sirens amplified in the canyon like streets of mid-town Manhatten adding to the drama, and, while disappointed with the view from the top of the Empire State Building (one could only just make out the outline of the Financial district on the southern tip of Manhatten), the colours, when I later came to view the video recording I made there, were amazing. (The following day it was sunny and, unlike the previous day, there was a queue, I mean, line, half a mile long to get into the Empire State Building.)
Then there was the loudest peal of thunder I had ever heard, followed by an equally loud expletive from the liveried doorman at the Watergate in Washington, D.C., bringing to mind the words of Cole Porter’s song “Night and Day”: “the drip drip drip of the raindrops When the summer shower is through.”
Luckily, whenever the weather needed to behave itself it did, so that I was able to enjoy the birds of prey gliding in the thermals above the Skyline Drive and the view of Virginia’s rolling, hilly and wooded countryside from the house bthat Thomas Jefferson built at Monticello and the view of Hooper’s Island Lighthouse in the Chesapeake from Hooper’s Island off the East Coast of the Bay, while the crabmen minded their own businesses and loaded boxes of crabs into the back of vans on the harbor-side.
Unfortunately, due to past excesses, I now have to tighten my belt and am condemned to spend this summer here in the U.K.
By Golly, I hate this country!