In my very first Postcard, I gave you all a warning that there would be plenty of whining about the British weather to ensue in my blogs. I think I’ve been pretty restrained on this front, so I’ve decided to hit you with it all in one shot for my final Postcard. So be prepared.
Early on Monday morning, I awoke to the sound of rattling windows and pelting rain in the middle of the night. It had arrived.
All week, the weather forecasts for the UK had been warning of an approaching storm which had been named St Jude. The storm was predicted to have a devastating impact, with many reports drawing comparisons to the infamous Great Storm of 1987 in England. We had been warned to stay away from trees, avoid unnecessary journeys outside and keep emergency power and lighting at hand.
As I went to sleep on Sunday night, I did my usual last-minute flick through my Facebook and Instagram feeds. I was incredibly jealous to see pictures of my friends back home heading to the beach to celebrate the end of their academic term, or clinking cocktail glasses together with the sun shining overhead. It was a cruel reminder that I’m about to descend into the depths of British winter, which I can categorically confirm I am not looking forward to.
Luckily, winter’s redeeming quality is the chance to don fabulous coats, scarves, gloves, hats and generally lovely knitted jumpers, etc. Unluckily, the English have an over-dependence on heating systems and radiators, so your clothes can become your own prison as soon as you walk from the cold, blustery streets into a heated store or onto the tube. You’ll be met with a barrage of hot air thrown in your face which is incredibly unpleasant. The Brits seem to have developed an immunity to these changes in temperatures. I always look at them with a confounded face when I see them sitting on a train with their puffer jackets and woolen scarves, looking so cool and collected whilst a sweat moustache is forming on my upper lip.
London is notorious for its perpetual drizzle when the weather turns. But when the rain comes down, the umbrellas come up, and I get to partake in a favourite game of mine spotting umbrella fashion. It may seem pointless, but it has been known to bring many smiles to my face during those miserable rainy days. You’re also bound to see an adorable child brandishing an umbrella far to big for them and sloshing around playfully in gumboots (or wellies, as they’re known in the UK).
The inner five-year-old in me is also secretly praying that I’ll see some snowfall during my stay in the UK. Whilst it can become an enormous inconvenience for transport and logistic reasons, to wake up and see the streets of London covered with a glimmering blanket of snow would be a dream come true. Weather gods, if you’re reading this, you’ll get bonus points if you give me a White Christmas.
As a born-and-bred inhabitant of the southern hemisphere, I’ve been warned to look out for the dangers of becoming SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression which is triggered by changes in seasons, particularly as you enter winter. It’s believed to have a correlation with a distinct lack of sunlight, which normally provides the necessary vitamins and hormones we need to stay balanced. For anyone who this may apply to, make sure you pick up some vitamin D tablets, and speak to your doctor is you notice any changes in your emotional health.
As I awoke on Monday morning, I was relieved to hear that the St Jude storm hadn’t been as catastrophic as expected. The biggest implication for me was that trains had been suspended. As such,
a journey which normally takes me about an hour and a half ended up taking three hours. When I arrived home to my apartment, I shed my wet coat and scarf, and looked out my window. The rain had finally stopped, and a rainbow was gleaming over the rooftops of London. I smiled as I realised that maybe I did take a little bit of the weather from back home with me.
I would like to give a huge thank you to Nathan, Dragana and Andrei for their immense efforts
as editors of Catalyst this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed my Postcards. If you want to keep up to date with my adventures abroad, follow me on Twitter (@_EmilyMalone_).