It's raining, it's pouring...

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring...

Such is the peculiar but utterly justified British obsession with the weather, we children even had climate-related playground chants. (The old man, by the way, went to bed, bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning, whereupon the doctor came and pulled the chain and out came a choo-choo train!) Like it or not, our weather has crept under our national skin, governing so much of who and how we are. And right now, we're all waterlogged and making gloomy jokes! After two dry winters and a hitherto dry spring we're officially in drought... which means it's raining, it's pouring, and after a week of it we're all somewhat soggy and rainswept, and our fields are flooded, though our reservoirs, apparently, are still pretty low.

Where would we Brits be without our weather? For one thing, we'd be utterly bereft of so much material for dark humour and amusing postcards in tourist spots. We'd also be bereft of so much ice breaking polite conversation with strangers, and meteorological complaints with friends. (Other countries complain as well, of course, it's just that we have an especially rich supply of material!) We'd miss the challenge of defying the weather and somehow enjoying a soggy day out or rigging up a makeshift shelter for a barbeque. Yesterday's May morning celebrations in Oxford were typical of this glorious eccentric stoicism: the rain-spattered choir sang sweetly from the top of Magdalen Tower, Morris dancers deftly avoided puddles and everyone else watched, huddled under cagoules and large brollies.

And we'd definitely miss that joyous collective lift to national spirits when we get a few unexpected gloriously warm and sunny days at the beginning of spring or the middle of autumn... and the full appreciation of something like this, which I saw on Facebook yesterday: The love of the Father is like a sudden rain shower that will pour forth when you least expect it, catching you up into wonder and praise (Richard J. Foster) Here, at least, is one shower we needn't try protecting ourselves from with waterproofs and umbrellas!

I came across this poem years ago - it pretty much says it all, and will be instantly understood by any British-based readers. I have never found out who the author is, but I think it's safe to say s/he has to be British, and from an especially rained-upon part of the country!

It rained and it rained and rained and rained,
The average fall was well maintained;
And when our fields were simply bogs,
It started raining cats and dogs.

After a drought of half an hour,
There came a most refreshing shower;
And then the most curious thing of all,
A gentle rain began to fall.

Next day was also fairly dry,
Save for a deluge from the sky.
This wetted people to the skin,
But after that the rain set in.

We wondered what's the next we'd get,
As sure as fate we got more wet.
But soon we'll have a change again,
And we shall have..... A drop of rain