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What do you do when all days feel the same because you can’t get out of the house without being washed out by a wall of rain?
Well, you stay at home, you read, you bake and basically you have to invest in a huge umbrella that doesn’t break as soon as the wind blows.
I am coming from a sunny country, close to the sea, and here I am, stuck indoors, bewildered and waiting for a ray of sunshine. To anyone contemplating moving to London, I would say: beware! You need to be used to the rain over here.
Mind you, the British are not afraid of the rain at all. They are actually a perfect example of a successful adaptation to the crappy weather. At my daughter’s school, they have this wonderful expression: “all-weather sports”. Don’t fool yourself, it sounds nice and anodyne, but it means that your precious little darling will play lacrosse or other sports even if it is pouring, or snowing, or freezing. In France, you would sue the school for less than this. My mother wasn’t letting me out of the house without a hat during winter, and I had at least three layers on me during springtime… Last week, in France, my grandfather was giving a hard time to my dad because he didn’t have a hat on…some things never change.
But look at my daughters: I have to fight every morning for the younger one to make sure that she gets her rain proofed coat on, and I am lucky if she doesn’t forget to put her jumper on. As for a scarf or a hat, well, I had to get used to the fact that she is not going to wear any. We keep losing them anyway.  The older one likes to show off her toned legs with fancy tights and short skirts, whatever the weather. A scarf is only a fashion accessory, and the one she took this morning had skulls drawn on it. I am really out of touch. Sigh.
Where did I go wrong? Why did I have to listen to my mum and keep warm at all cost when my darling daughters are not afraid of playing half-naked in the rain? I have shouted, threatened, punished, explained that they will get a cold but nothing has worked so far. To add insult to injury, they are rarely sick, and have pointed out several times that they are fine, thank you very much for your concern Mum.
I have come to the conclusion that it is a cultural thing. It is part of the British education to be used to the cold, the rain, the wind and any adverse weather in general.
While I am writing the sun has started to shine. Finally. And guess what: my little one has just told me that she is too warm now. Some things never change.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • Great story and one that I can relate to from my youth in France and England, but now in California, I hear, “I love the rain and a gloomy day.” It’s quite rare, so young kids actually enjoy a gray day.

  • This is a peculiarly British trait that actually gets worse as you go further North, i.e. as the weather gets worse! Newcastle ladies are famed for tackling the pouring sleet on a night out in little more than their underwear and a thick coat of fake tan…

  • SarahHague

    I remember going to school in just my woollen school blazer and a scarf as I hated all coats, in the middle of winter. It was just a 5-min walk but still, it got jolly cold! My mother despaired of me too.

    Since living in the south of France I’ve become a right wimp, but my boys are pretty hardy ‘forgetting’ to put on coats, jumpers etc to go and play outside even if it’s quite chilly.

    So, yes, your situation is normal. 🙂

  • Children wouldn’t be children if they didn’t complain about having to wear hats and scarves, but I maintain it is the duty of parents to make them! This is because when one gets older one definitely pays for it physically if one did not protect one’s body from the elements when one could. I know wherof I speak! Arthritis loves to attach itself to bodies that grew up in the cold and damp and were not protected enough. Ditto for tights in the snow!

  • Living in France you can spot the English expat kids at school as they’re wearing shorts and skirts with no tights while the rest are still in fleeces, scarves etc!!

  • Soon the “Great British Summer Story” will appear in the newspapers. Summary; “How lucky we are to have wet summers in England instead of those boring sunny summers endured by foreigners.”

    It’s like Xmas and Easter, it comes around every year!

  • Scrollwork

    I hear you! I was raised in the tropics and get cold quite easily (although I don’t even break a sweat when the temps rise). My three daughters were forever scoffing at my urgings to put on a sweater. My husband used to jokingly threaten to take me to Minnesota (we live in California) in the winter.

  • Penelope J

    I agree with Sonia. Living in Southern California, we enjoy rainy days. When I was younger in England, we took them in our stride, went out in mini-skirts and stockings, and maybe an umbrella so as not to ruin our hairdos. As kids, I don’t think we even noticed the cold or the rain. “It’s raining in England” is not news. What is, is a prolonged dry spell.

    The great Mexican writer, Carlos Fuentes, says that he spends half the year in London because the bad weather forces him to concentrate on his writing, and the other half in Mexico where he enjoys a full social life.

  • Http://

    Once again I feel like a privileged snob living in mostly sunny California. At least I will, or do have many more wrinkles than you do or will. Take heart!

  • MuMuGB

    I found out that, in life, you can’t have everything…tough but true…

  • MuMuGB

    If only I could concentrate on my writing it would be great. I seem to be doing everything wrong…That said, I would love to spend a little while in California!

  • MuMuGB

    It must have been tough for you. From the tropics to the cold, cold winters…That said, your husband might be right here: you could have settled in Minnesota!

  • MuMuGB

    It comes around every year…I would rather say: it comes around every week. I can’t remember the last time we had a whole week without any rain…Sad but true…

  • MuMuGB

    When I was living in provence, we would spot foreign kids because they had no coats. And my parents were saying, with the accent “Completement fada, celui la…)

  • MuMuGB

    I fight, Elizabeth. I keep fighting. But believe me, it is tough. My daughters are strong-minded. And becoming more British by the day.

  • MuMuGB

    Thanks, I am reassured. I wonder if they will get what I say one day. I am not sure…

  • MuMuGB

    OMG. Do you think that they get completely makes in Scotland? I wonder. I will never get it. Sigh.

  • MuMuGB

    Lucky them! Sometimes, I think that life is unfair. maybe we should just swap places?

  • Jpage Manuel

    I remember as a kid, my Mom rarely (umm, actually never) let us out to play with the neighborhood kids. And then everytime we would walk outside, in the streets, there would be constant reminders…Cover your face (to not get too much soon and end up with freckles); cover your nose (to not inhale the smoke from cars / pollution). I grew up constantly sick with some upper respiratory infection. I guess my immune system didn’t develop much because everything was too clean, lol!

  • Marie from Rock The Kasbah

    My American kids are the same. And for the most part I’ve given up the fight.

  • I would have a tough time in London. Here there are less than 10 rainy or gray days/year. I don’t even own an umbrella. But your umbrella store seems to be in the right place! 🙂