Published in the WOW! supplement of the Evening Echo last Wednesday.
Photo Credit: Rain! by tanakawho
It’s August already. One month will see the kids back in school… but the rain it keeps a falling! The buckets, spades, nets, balls, kites, fishing rods and all the other summer paraphernalia remain steadfastly in storage, untouched and unneeded.
I used to think we were lucky living down here in West Cork – making our home in a place where people choose to come on their holidays. This year, watching disheveled holiday makers trudging their way through the deluge, I’m not so sure. They, after all, are heading home to more clement weather, leaving us to weather West Cork’s unpredictable climate.
With rivers bursting their banks left, right and centre, Cork had the unenviable distinction of being the wettest part of the country for the month of July. The highest rainfall for the month since 1975 was recorded at the Cork airport monitoring station. Soggy, to say the least.
For parents rainy summers are tortuous. Wet weather is bad enough when the kids are at school, but when they’re home it can be particularly traumatic. One of the key parental survival strategies during the summer holidays is the ability to hunt the little devils out to play. It gives them… and perhaps more importantly, you… a bit of breathing space. With that option curtailed by the rain this year, everyone’s been stuck indoors, and it doesn’t take long before tempers start to fray and things go haywire with alarming rapidity.
It’s not just about being out of doors either. The weather affects everybody’s disposition. Bright, sunny skies tend to lighten the mood, while dark, sombre ones send it plummeting. Little wonder, then, that the children are proving difficult to manage this summer.
Planning things is impossible. Organising anything like barbecues, picnics or anything outdoor-related puts you at the mercy of our unpredictable and inhospitable climate. You always have to have a plan B, in case the heavens open. There’s no consistency; everything is spur of the moment – grabbing at fleeting opportunities to make the most of the sunshine while it lasts.
In other countries you’ll find predictably warm, fine summers, and crisp, cold winters. Here in Ireland we seem to occupy a perpetually soggy middle ground that offers none of the benefits of either. Sweden is a case in point.
You might expect the Swedes to have weather just as bad as ours. But not so. I was talking to my uncle recently, who’s spending a lot of his time over there these days. It was a scorching 34 degrees Celsius. When I spoke to him in March it was minus 15 degrees Celsius, and he’d just returned from a spot of cross country skiing through sun-dappled forest. Both times I looked out of the window in West Cork onto a vista of brooding clouds and driving rain. Depressing!
Surely we’re due a bit of a summer between now and when the girls go back to school. A few weeks of consistently fine weather, is that too much to ask? The beach gear is in the car, ready to go (alongside the wellies and the raincoats)… so come on sunshine, we’re ready for you. We don’t mind the occasional half-day of rain here and there, it helps to keep the verdant scenery at its best, but please, let’s have a bit of sunshine to see out the summer.