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The Revenge of the Weather Gods

September 9, 2008

Who was it who wrote, ‘For days on end, instead of falling, [British rain] simply hung around in the air like a wife waiting for you to notice she was sulking.’ ? Ah. Yes. Me, in the opening pages of the second Ruso book, set in Corbridge.

As if to make a point, the rain fell on Corbridge last weekend. ‘Fall’ is perhaps the wrong word as for two days and nights, the rain was lashing sideways. Water gushed out of the drains instead of flowing down them. Dips in roads became muddy rivers as one field flooded into the next. As if this didn’t make travelling difficult enough, there were plenty of fallen trees. A little further north in Morpeth, hundreds of people had to flee as the river flowed through their homes.

Obviously, a book-signing wasn’t the first thing on anyone’s mind. Nevertheless, some lovely (and determined) visitors made it to the museum and several of them even went home armed with Ruso novels – hopefully before the police closed the roads. I’m hugely grateful both to them and to the staff at the museum who’d worked hard to set up the event – but couldn’t set up the weather.

For us, it was an adventure. For the families flooded out, the farmers now assessing the damage, and all the people who depend on tourism for a living, this summer has been truly grim. If this is a temperate climate, heaven knows what it must be like to live in a hurricane zone.

No photos of the floods – we were too busy negotiating them and besides, a wet camera is not a happy camera. Here’s a shot taken further south, before the weather turned nasty.

Spot the Roman Road

Spot the Roman Road

Wheeldale Moor in North Yorkshire. That’s definitely a road, and thirty years ago it was definitely Roman, but fashions change. Now it might be older. Or younger.  More knowledge = less certainty. At this rate we’ll know nothing at all in a few years’ time.

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3 comments

  1. At least they will have something to read when sitting on roof tops trying to escape the water.


  2. I loved that description of British rain because it was such an apt description of a western Oregon winter rain. It rains but it doesn’t rain. One finds oneself wishing it would get it over with. When it occasionally does get serious here in Oregon as in your latest adventure and the rivers overflow, houses are flooded, and roads swamped or washed out, one is reminded that there is more than one way to be weary of the weather.

    The western Oregon weather in the summer is mostly blue and sunny with very little rain while the winters are mostly gray and rainey (hanging in the air). In the long haul, it is really quite nice and besides I should better resist my tendency to complain about things I cannot change.

    I enjoy reading of your adventures on the other side of the world.

    Regards,
    Phil Hall


  3. Phil, I’m disillusioned. I’ve always imagined the western USA to be basking in perpetual sunshine with a little scenic snow in the mountains in winter. Clearly I’ve been brainwashed by watching too many movies.

    We were in San Francisco in August a few years back and caused great amusement on the morning we were packing to go for a long bike ride by asking the very English question, ‘Is it forecast to rain?’



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