Miles Kington: The sun's in my heart and I'm ready for love, Mrs Semple

A weatherman is viewed as a figure of authority, whereas we are often shy and insecure. That is why we are drawn to strong, dominant women
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The Independent Online

Today, I am bringing you an agony column with a difference, probably the first in the world where all your intimate problems are answered, not by an agony aunt, but by a weatherman.

Yes, today the well-known meteorologist, Hubert Sandys, brings his own expertise to bear on your emotional worries. All yours, Hubert...

Hubert Sandys says: Thank you very much. And the first problem comes from Miss Angela Bell of Lincoln, where I notice by the way that it's cloudy and wet today.

Miss Bell: It's about my fiancé, Mr Sandys. I want a firm commitment from him to get married, but he keeps shifting the goalpost, and now he says we should stay as partners because marriage is old-fashioned and inhibiting. But I want the permanence of marriage! What should I do?

Hubert Sandys says: You know, Angela, commitment is a double-edged weapon. Ask any weatherman. The public likes a weather forecast to be positive, forthright and definite. They want us to say that the weather WILL do this, and WILL change at the weekend, and it WON'T rain for the garden party. That's what they want. That's what we'd like to give them.

But life isn't like that - and nor is weather forecasting. Today we know about. Tomorrow we sort of know about. The day after, we are pretty hazy about. And after that it's toss-a-coin. So, when you ask your partner for a life-long commitment, you're asking him to make a weather forecast for the rest of his life. It really isn't fair, Angela. So, to sum up, the immediate outlook is settled fair; after that, could be very changeable. And the next, please.

Mr P. of Wrexham: I have been married for two years and our marriage is going through a difficult phase. My wife wants children and we haven't had any. I want sex and we haven't had any. What do you advise? Going to a marriage guidance counsellor?

Hubert Sandys says: Not really. I don't suppose you'll get any sex with a marriage guidance counsellor!

Mr P of Wrexham: Please be serious.

Hubert Sandys says: I am sorry. Weathermen are allowed one little joke a week. That was it. Now, the curious thing about marriage guidance people is that they are always called in when things are going wrong. Perhaps they should be consulted at the time of the marriage - to give you advice while things are still going well! You see, weather forecasters never make the mistake of admitting that things have gone wrong. If we forecast a sunny day and then it pisses down, we never come on air and say: "Sorry, we got it wrong" - by then we are already on to the next weather forecast. The time that Michael Fish failed to forecast a hurricane was not the only time we got it wrong - that happens all the time - but it was the only time that our mistake was so egregious that we actually had to apologise. We must never do that again. So, to sum up: The past is very unsettled, but the future is very clear.

Mr P of Wrexham: How does that help me?

Hubert Sandys says: Not a lot. Have a nice day. Or perhaps nasty. Who knows? Next, please.

Mrs Semple of Lancaster says: If you don't mind me saying so, this is all shilly-shallying. You show all the ambivalence and equivocation of the typical weatherman - more keen to cover your flanks and protect yourself than give proper advice. What is your own personal life like? How does this double-talk play out in your own relationships? Are you capable of being frank and forthright in your personal life?

Hubert Sandys says: Things have not been easy. You are a very perceptive woman, Mrs Semple. A weatherman, like a doctor or priest, is viewed as a figure of authority by the public, whereas we are very often as shy and unsure - and, yes, as afraid - as the rest. That is why so many weathermen are drawn to strong, dominant women like - well, like yourself, Mrs Semple of Lancaster. At the moment I am trapped in a loveless bond and a depression which looks set to continue for some time. But if you care to get in touch with me, I sense that there may be a change on the way, from the North-west.

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