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Despite the fact that in this country you talk about the weather all the time, weather bulletins over here are pretty dull, if not plain boring. Just read the latest Met office report ( see here) :
“This Evening and Tonight:
Evening showers should gradually disperse to give late sunny spells for many, although one or two may continue overnight in parts of Scotland, where it will be cloudier. Perhaps a few fog patches forming by dawn in the light winds.
Tuesday:
Sunshine and showers for most, with light winds. The showers will mainly affect western UK, with some becoming heavy during the afternoon. Windy in far southeastern UK, with occasional rain.

Maybe that’s the reason why everybody here feels a burning need to embellish the reports and talk about the weather all the time. After all, it is only human to interpret harsh, brutal facts. We all need to interpret facts. By contrast, the French bulletins are much, much more creative. And pragmatic. Take, for instance, the Channel 1 website (see here) and you have a very useful application where, if you enter your postcode, you know whether it will rain within the hour. How cool is this? Come to think of it, this is probably because, in London, you KNOW that you need an umbrella at all times. What a depressing thought!
And on the MeteoFrance site (the French equivalent of the Met office), you have so much more that the weather!(have a look here). You know the exact times , to the minute, of the sunrise and the sunset; you know what will be the highest temperature and the lowest one, and where it will all happen. And finally, you even know which Saint to worship today (Benedict, apparently).
Furthermore, the French forecasts are written in a much more poetic way. Let me try to translate the MeteoFrance bulletin for this afternoon: “It will feel more like summer today despite a few clouds in the North. But the sun will reclaim its rights in the evening and all of the South will experience a hot summer night.” You have to admit that it takes weather forecasts to new levels.
So here is today’s theory: maybe the British are obsessed by the weather because their bulletins are much too factual. As for me, I will now enjoy my hot summer night!

For another post about the weather see here as well…

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London
  • or maybe they are just bored out of their minds…since the weather never seems to change much there. Cloudy with a chance of showers or showers. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest where weather is about the same so I’m allowed to be honest. I paid my dues:) How does it affect your psychology, Muriel…being that you grew up elsewhere? Sometimes I think I get bored in the other direction now that I live here in Mexico where the sun shines almost every day and constantly. Maybe thats why I love summer here. Its the one time of year it dumps rain. Ahhh….

  • Weather seems to be such a preoccupation with people. It’s not like you can do anything about it, or even actually believe that the weatherman will get it right, but we all seem to have our eyes glued to those doppler radar scans! Coming from Seattle, a city known for its heavy rain, I am constantly amazed at how much the conversation circles around a hopeful sky. Fun post!

  • Surprisingly when I was in the UK April 2005 for two weeks it didn’t rain once! How lucky is that!?

  • I’d read the French ones just to get a daily dose of nice prose…but then I’d get depressed because I live in a temperate rainforest…

    It’s a funny comparison, thanks!

  • Enjoyed this post and in particular, that french translation 🙂 I checked mine:

    “Cloudy. Isolated showers, mainly in the east. Winds west to northwesterly averaging up to 30 km/h.”

    That, and the radar is all I needed. But if they were like the french then I’d certainly be paying more attention. 🙂

  • I concur that Brits are obsessed with the weather. I’m not sure why because the weather is very boring (although consistent!) The weather report in France does sound like poetry and of a completely different genre altogether. It is extremely hot and humid in Central Ontario right now, and I know it was well over 100 degrees in Nathville today because my son posted a picture of their outdoor weather barometer on Facebook and commented they were going to delay their evening walk a little this evening!

  • The only weather I ever enjoyed was George Carlin’s Hippy Dippy Weatherman. “Tonight: dark, with increasingly light toward morning.” Really – what else do you need to know.

  • Everyone is talking about the weather and I am stuck at a place where the sun shines way too much, way too long and way too harsh 🙁

    And it hasn’t rained here for ages. So now matter how much I keep clicking on those weather reports; nothing will change! 🙂

    Have a sunny day!

  • Oh, I like the poetic version myself. Funny contrast between the two.

  • that’s hilarious!
    everyone here talks about the weather all the time, especially lately b/c it has been so so so hot! but basically the forecast is hot and dry all the time. It’s very hopeless.

    I LOVE the French forecast! I have never heard it like that anywhere before! That’s awesome!

  • A much better way of reporting the weather!

  • I ADORED the French translation! I wish we got weather reports like that over here.

  • Made me wonder…does the weather make the people, or people ‘making’ the weather (at least the way they’re reported)….hmmm, what an interesting thought….

  • Ahhh! When I was a teen in school, I opted to take French because the sound of the words are so beautiful. So to see here the romantic way they forecast the weather, magnifique!

  • Love that the sun reclaims its rights in France. Wish it would do so over here more often! Just got back from a hot and sunny France where the sun certainly kept its profile high for the week x

  • Hi Muriel –

    In America, the weather person used to be a colorful older man with a sense of humor; some what clown-like. Today in order to make things more interesting and keep up with the changing times, most weather personalities are sexy females with tight knit shirts. Of course, they are always properly “busted”. I will say this. There are some beautiful women here talking about a very boring weather report.

  • Weathermen here make me crazy. They are so gung ho that I nicknamed one of them Boner (which basically means that the guy got a hard on whenever there was a weather condition he could break in on and report). I live in Ohio, and it rains here. It snows here. But you’d think we didn’t know this by the amount of reporting they do when there is a snowstorm or a rainstorm. Boner stayed on the airwaves (TV) for 26 straight hours when we had a big snow last winter. That’s a bit of overkill.

  • I know whereof you speak and that dry weather report that you quote has actually ramped up since the lists and statements of my youth. And admit it, London weather is worse/rainier than French/Paris weather. I also agree that the British are obsessed by the weather. Nothing new, it’s been their main topic of conversation for hundreds of years. But when I visit, they always seem to apologize because it’s raining – Don’t say? In England? Or the reverse, aren’t I lucky to be there when the weather is so good because just last week/month etc. Wherever you go, you find someone who’ll mention the weather, “What a nice/grey/rainy etc. day.” I think it’s because before, when they were more reticent in public, it was one of the few polite/acceptable topics.

    On the other hand, in Mexico City, people seem almost as weather obsessed, but more like complaining. “This year it’s raining too much (in the rainy season), or it’s too hot (in the hot dry season), or “I’ve never known it to be so cold” and so on. In supposedly sunny San Diego where recent summers have been on the grey side in coastal areas, people discuss the weather with concern and talk about climate change, and weathermen make dramatic comparisons to former years.

    So, unless you live in the tropics or in the Arctic, I believe weather may be one of/if not the foremost topics of discussion in most places.

  • I loved this post. One of my grad school professors had lived and worked in London for a long time. He always joked that weather reports were totally unnecessary in the UK unless there was an off chance that the day would be completely sunny. I guess the weather reporters have to justify their salaries somehow.

    On a side note, I have to say that every time I’ve been in the UK (different parts, different seasons) everyone around me has said the weather was unseasonably nice. So if you want a sunny time, just invite me for an extended vacation (hint).

  • It’s not only the Brits. If we get an hour of sunshine it is the talking point for the week in Ireland. “Do you remember last summer?” Yes that was a Wednesday afternoon, July 9th wasn’t it” However, for shy people it is a great icebreaker as it gets everyone talking, from how bad it is to the forecast of the man in Donegal who says it will be a good summer because such and such is in bloom or the dolphins are swimming near the coast.
    Love the translation of the French forecast.

  • We find poetry in the simplest things. Have you ever heard the Shipping Forecast? 🙂