i Editor's Letter: Sunny delights


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The Independent Online


There’s a subject that we don’t talk about much; one which preoccupies the rest of the nation a great deal – not just the Daily Express and Daily Mail; it’s a story that may dominate all our thinking this summer: no, not sex, although now I mention it… no, it’s the weather.

Whether or not you remembered to turn your clocks forward on Sunday, you can’t fail to have noticed what a spectacularly nice weekend we just enjoyed. Better, it appears to be dug in for the week. You see, even mentioning it there seems so - well, not what you do in a reputable newspaper. But what’s wrong with a little discussion of a subject that touches us more than virtually any other (apart from, maybe, sex)? Why does it come with a special aura of naffness?

Could it be that we discuss the weather constantly in private, but during polite conversation, when we –apparently – cannot conjure up anything more sophisticated to talk about? This applies especially as an opening gambit in conversation – be it with friend or stranger. Perhaps that aura of naffness is a mark of awkwardness or a lack of confidence? It’s usually regarded as the “safest” of subjects, surely?

Well, this summer, the weather may suddenly become a hot potato, be it in general discourse, on news programmes and in newspapers, at government and big business levels and, even, across the garden fence. I know that if you are not in the South-east, you are not yet on formal notice of hosepipe bans; are not even officially in drought, but the demands of such a heavily populated area as the South-east will inevitably have an effect on the rest of the population.

I was going to write “drain”, but that would be a lame joke. But, just you watch. The weather worries will give rise to tales of treachery, sneaky behaviour, flouting the rules, Nimbyism and bad citizenship. There will be no hiding from it. You have all been warned. Until then, let’s all enjoy spring’s exquisite sunny delights.