i Assistant Editor's Letter: Our weather obsession...


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The Independent Online


It’s a long-standing joke that Britons always talk about the weather. From an ice-breaker on a first date, to greeting a taxi driver, it’s the subject that we turn to first. And, to that list you can now add editors in their daily columns.

Newspapers, including this one,  are quick to print pictures of people sunbathing, animals eating giant ice lollies or children playing in fountains when it’s sunny; and beautiful woodland scenes, hills dotted with tobagganists and snowmen on park benches when it’s freezing.

But why do we always talk about it? One internet theory says that it dates back to the 1600s, when men and women were supposedly not allowed to discuss anything of significance. Long before women were allowed to have an opinion on anything, talk of children, politics or other people was strictly taboo – the weather was deemed an acceptable subject.

In reality it is a safe subject to broach with strangers. When you meet someone for the first time, it can be difficult to find a common subject. You will struggle to hit on a more neutral topic than the one that neither of you can influence. The only time you hear two people fighting over the weather are when snowballs are involved.

So why am I turning to it? I don’t feel like you are strangers, so you can discount that theory. No, I’m just enjoying the sunshine while it lasts. I’m hoping that because we’ve waited so long for it to arrive, it might last a bit longer.

With that, I’m off to bask in the sunshine and check my iQuiz answers. I’m worried that if I go on about the weather for too long, as soon as I look up the skies will be grey once again!

Twitter.com: @jonesrhodri