We talk about the weather a lot. It confounds us, exasperates us, occasionally it even delights us. It dominates our conversation, especially with strangers and new acquaintances. But few of us know much about where it comes from, how it happens and how people can go around predicting what it’s going to do.
As someone who spends as much time as anyone else going around under and in the weather, I’ve taken it upon myself to examine our relationship with meteorology. I tell the story of the weather forecast and the stories of the people who over a period of centuries have all contributed to its many forms: the shipping forecast, the little map in the backs of newspapers and the cheery people standing in front of some snazzy graphics at the end of the news.
It’s a story that features a range of characters as diverse as Aristotle, Frankie Howerd, René Descartes, Porky Pig, Mary Poppins, Daniel Defoe, Jane Austen and Steve McLaren. There are plenty of crackpots and charlatans, a fascinating story about what generations of sea captains owe to a young girl’s piano practice and the full story of St Swithin’s only saintly miracle (it’s a bit lame, to be honest). It’s also a story that contains the phrase “a brief shower of sprats in Great Yarmouth” which is one that for some reason pleases me greatly.
I also develop a bit of a weird weather crush on a fourteenth century Lincolnshire priest and tell the much-much-more-interesting-than-you-might-think story of the umbrella.
Buy it here, innit: