Saturday, June 24, 2006

Rain man for hire: my weather jinx

I'm thinking of hiring out my services to the drought-hit countries of the world. Indeed, my reputation for causing major blips in the local climate of foreign destinations is legend among friends and family.

Last year, I visited Tenerife in January. Not too hot, not too cold that time of year. Usually, that is. For my trip it was the coldest winter in living memory; gale force winds whipping off the coast from Africa, locals wandering the streets in overcoats, and a bit of rain in the evenings. With that mad-Englishman-determined-to-enjoy-himself approach, the shorts and T-shirt came out of the suitcase and I perked up a little, although it was a bit chilly round the knees. So, must not grumble too much: at least the sun did come out and I was able to get some good shots of the island (see the UKpix home page).

On to Provo, Utah, from London for business in March this year. It was pretty cold, but I expected that. Afterall it was still the skiing season. What I didn't expect was the snowstorm. Warm coat, but no boots!

Business complete, I decided to fly down to Las Vegas for a week while my colleagues struggled to make their way home to London via Chicago. The jinx continued for them... this quote from a weather blog for March sums it up nicely: 'Twisters and severe thunderstorms tore across 8 states to Chicago’s west Thursday even as city residents basked in the year’s warmest weather.'

What about Vegas? I thought it was supposed to be hot! 'Unusual weather this year with winds coming off the mountains,' said a local. 'That's because I'm here,' I replied. Oh, and I nearly missed my connecting flight home because of a massive snowstorm in Salt Lake City.

June, and Venice beckoned for a short trip to increase my portfolio. Nice easy flight from Gatwick ... guaranteed good weather? Ha, as I stepped off a river bus for the short walk to my hotel on the Grand Canal, an almighty flash lit up the tiny streets, thunder rolled down the canals and the heavens opened. There wasn't much shelter and who on earth packs an umbrella for a short trip to Italy?

The hotel receptionist raised an eyebrow as the bedraggled tourist stepped in from the downpour, cream jacket spotted with rain. 'Think I've brought the weather from London,' I said, as if an explanation was really necessary. As he showed me up to my room, he threw up his hands in horror... there was a puddle on the marble flooring. Not directly my fault, I hasten to add, water was pouring in through an open skylight. So they were, clearly, not expecting such heavy rain.

Thankfully, Venice was pleasantly warm for the rest of the trip and I was beginning to think I had broken the spell. However, London was basking in a heatwave (hotter than Italy). That all changed, of course, when I landed at Gatwick a few days later wearing the same cream jacket... it was freezing.

'Tell me again where you went,' said a colleague.
'Not very brown, are you?'

My other holiday disasters include:
1) Snow in June on a sailing trip to Scotland.
2) Fishing trip to Ireland. It rained so much the rivers were too high for fishing!
3) Snow all melted on a skiing trip to Austria.


Anonymous said...
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steve latter said...

These are the ravings of a madman.. he might be a decent snapper but honestly...

Hooky said...

I can sympathise with your travails Pete. I'm a Kiwi who has been living in the UK for the past four years. I went back home for first time last year, ostensibly for Christmas, but was there for most of December to enjoy the traditional seasonal sunshine. However, "The Land of the Long White Cloud", as NZ is known, was more like the "Land of Evil, Brooding Thundercloud" throughout the duration of my hols -- the wettest December since 1965.

Kathryn said...

We were going to invite you to Godalming for a barbeque but have decided that soggy burgers might ruin the fun!

Johnny Browne, New York said...

Great pictures of Venice. I love the place!