Would it be alright if I have a bit of a….




About the Weather? Just a little one.

I mean I don’t want to go on about it too much or anything, but it’s this –


It occurs to me that dealing with disappointment might not be one of my strengths and quite frankly this wretched summer has taken the garibaldi…. we’re already eye-balling winter and not to put too fine a point on it – I’m well fed up.

I can’t be the only one who felt it was a personal victory if I didn’t wake almost daily to lashing rain, howling gales and life-threatening conditions –and that was July.

Then there was August – surely a month synonymous with glowing complexions, smoothly tanned scantily covered limbs, brilliant sunshine, vast fields of golden crops gently waving and ready for harvest …

In direct contrast –

  1. My face was – and still bloody well is – pasty, sallow and really quite sickly looking.
  2. My legs look as if they’ve been freshly hewn from an out-of-date can of corned beef
  3. AND THE GARDEN IS A FECKING JUNGLE!  Things just won’t stop growing – but not in the right way. The tomatoes have become triffids! – not an actual bloody tomato in bloody sight – just a giant, monster sized tomato-plant mass that’s threatening to take over not only the whole garden but life as we know it. It’s like the Little Shop of Horrors out there.  I am expecting to have to feed it a small child soon to keep it satiated (or one of the Teenage Wretches …. there’s quite a lot of flesh on them.  It’s a tough decision).

And whilst I’m on one about the garden, I’ve got a bone to pick with Gardener’s World.

Now we’re big fans of Monty Don and Gardener’s World in our house.  It comes to most of us at some point or other – ‘You know you’re getting older when …..’ is a cliché particularly applicable to Gardener’s World.  And The Repair Shop.  And Pottery Throw Down.  There’s nothing cool about any of them and you must never admit you watch them as there’s a strong chance no one you like will want to talk to you anymore.

However with age they become strangely and inexplicably irresistible. So we have resorted to watching under cover of darkness, covert, curtains drawn, the remote at the ready to switch channels should anyone come in unexpectedly and threaten to expose us.

But I’m going out on a limb here to admit that I love the soothing tones and supple hands of Monty Don.  Not to mention, there’s something very attractive about a man with all his own hair and a substantial set of tools.

Balancing astride a static bike at our local gym firmly plugged into one of BBC2’s educational half hour slots (the news is so damned depressing) – veins throbbing and rivers of perspiration pouring from my agonised brow – Gardener’s World is the only thing that gets me through this horrendous ordeal.  But – my frustration is mounting – not only is his potting shed ridiculously tidy and sparkly but the spades and forks look as if they’ve just come out of the packet.  I want reality and a dirty spade.  Just saying.

God I’m feeling irritable.  I’m going to lie down.




I am trudging through the squalling rain, head bent, eyes screwed to a slit against the elements. The Incorrigible Lab plods next to me, staring in disgust at the mud and squelch. He tip-toes around the edge of a huge puddle in true cartoon style, and I wonder for the umpteenth time if he is actually a dog?

Earlier I’d held open the door, waved his lead and bellowed “Walkies!” with an enthusiasm I didn’t feel.  I’d already seen the conditions out there but had put it off for long enough, and anyway, it is August, which means it can only be a short shower.

The Incorrigible Lab had looked at me as if I were a complete idiot, and I knew what he was thinking – “You are a complete idiot.”  And – “What the hell are you thinking woman?  It’s raining. No thank you.”

Now, with the rain dribbling down my neck and into my bra I am beginning to wish I’d listened to him.


I look up and see someone I know, but don’t know. It’s one of those people you meet from time to time and ought to know their name but you still don’t. Or you’ve forgotten it. And now it’s too embarrassing to ask so you have to keep thinking ahead with lightning speed, editing each sentence without actually using their name. Anyway, she’s one of those, and is looking equally damp and wretched, although is dressed far more suitably than I am.  She’s surrounded by a group of dogs of all shapes, sizes and varieties and I think “at least I’ve narrowed it down a bit” – she’s obviously a regular local dog walker and I can probably look her up.

We state the obvious.

“Bloody awful, isn’t it!” and “What are we doing out here?” and “Isn’t our British Weather hideous?” and other puerile comments we’ve all heard a thousand times before.  Also, “Why do we always talk about the weather so much?”

I had an American boyfriend once who hailed from the hot and sticky state of Georgia USA.  He came to stay with me for a week one Christmas, and in the seven days he was with me we experienced all of the following in no particular order:

Torrential rain, hail, sleet, 21 degrees of warm sunshine, thunder and lightning, snow, violent gales, 24 degrees of warm sunshine and finally – two days of the general greyness for which we in the UK are famed.

One day it managed five of the above in 24 hours. No joke. He turned to me before he left and said “Now I know why you Brits all talk about the weather so much. There’s so damned much to talk about!”

Another wise American (there are a few) once described the UK as having ‘nine months of winter and three months of bad weather’. He’s not wrong.

She Who Shall Not Be Named (but only because I don’t know what it is) gazes at my bare, mud splashed legs with flimsy skirt sticking to them, looks at me with raised eyebrow and grins.

“Yes I know, it’s ridiculous to wear a skirt in this. But it IS bloody August!  And we ought to be able to wear a skirt in BLOODY AUGUST!  And I fake tanned my legs this morning so I’m wearing a skirt so as to let it set. If I wear jeans I’ll leave all my tan on the jeans, rather than on me! But now it’s all run off my legs because of the freaking rain. And the only reason I needed to apply fake tan in the first place is because we have NO BLOODY SUNSHINE TO TAN THEM NATURALLY IN THIS GOD FORSAKEN COUNTRY!!”

There’s a momentary pause as we both regard my wet, by now stripey shins. They are an interesting shade of ‘streaked coffee’, which mottles nicely into my own more usual hue of flaccid pinky-beige.  They bear a remarkable and uncanny resemblance to two sticks of Brighton rock.  We both guffaw and share a moment of empathic companiable despair, then trudge our separate ways, she with her menagerie and me with a soggy, slightly disgusted Lab….

And the rain keeps coming …..


Ruminations Of A Mad Cow


Part Two Coming Soon …

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