Umbrella organisation

'It is British folklore that certain urban areas, notably Manchester, are especially victimised when it comes to street weather'
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The Independent Online

There was a strange phrase used on the Today programme last Friday. I don't mean any of the usual strange phrases used so often on the Today programme, like, "Well, I can't comment on any specific case", or, "Yes, but where is the money for all this going to come from?", or, "No, this isn't a U-turn in policy, it is a refocusing and an implementing of a new initiative", or even, "I'm afraid the horse we tipped to win yesterday is still running...".

There was a strange phrase used on the Today programme last Friday. I don't mean any of the usual strange phrases used so often on the Today programme, like, "Well, I can't comment on any specific case", or, "Yes, but where is the money for all this going to come from?", or, "No, this isn't a U-turn in policy, it is a refocusing and an implementing of a new initiative", or even, "I'm afraid the horse we tipped to win yesterday is still running...".

I am thinking of a phrase that turned up in the weather forecast.

"This scattered rain," said the forecaster, the man who does for weather what the sports people do for horses, except that he always forgets to apologise when he gets it wrong, "this scattered rain will gradually be replaced by organised showers."

Organised showers?

What on earth is he talking about?

How can showers be organised, and by whom?

Well, it now seems that something has slipped out that the authorities have been aware of for years but have been trying to conceal within their statistics.

English weather is being dominated by a well-organised series of showers centred on the main cities of Britain.

It has been part of British folklore for years that certain urban areas, notably Manchester, are especially victimised when it comes to street weather. If someone is off to Manchester, it is almost axiomatic to offer them an umbrella. Until now, it has been accepted that this was just bad luck.

Not so, the authorities now admit. There is a series of gangs of organised showers making life miserable for people who attempt to make a living in these places.

"It's getting so that you are afraid to go outdoors these days," said one Mancunian who prefers to remain indoors. "You can't go 10 yards before – splash! You've been mugged by a shower of rain. Muggy? I'll say it's muggy!"

The Prime Minister has not been slow to act, because acting is what he is good at. He has acted the part of a Prime Minister who is very concerned about the level of street weather in our cities.

"I am extremely concerned about the level of street weather in some of these great cities of ours," he read out earlier this week. "But I make this promise to you now. During the summer months to come, we shall be working hard to reduce the incidence in the increase of the rise of temperature and precipitation, and I undertake to make sure that this makes a significant difference. I therefore make this target-non-specific pledge. Yes!"

"Yes, what?" is what puzzled MPs were asking, but it was too late – like a jesting Pilate, the Prime Minister would not stay for an answer. However, scientists now believe that the answer really lies in a new theory about the beginnings of the universe, which looks back beyond the Big Bang, and proposes that there may have been a Big Black Shower that started everything off.

"The reason that we think there may have been a Big Black Shower," explains a scientist who wishes to remain illegible, "is that we think that people are bored with the Big Bang theory and want something else. That is why we are introducing new theories about the origins of everything. Science has now revealed that the life span of any new theory about the origin of the universe is getting shorter and shorter, the so-called Bragg Effect, and has to be replaced more frequently.

"Also, we do not think that British culture is suited to Big Bang theories. In a land where volcanoes do not erupt, and earthquakes do not happen, we British are not happy with bangs – we prefer gentler curves. So we scientists think that we will have more luck with a Big Black Shower theory, a Britain-specific idea ideally suited to the British way of thinking, which can be summed up as Dull, Brighter Later, Then Dull Again After That. If it doesn't catch on, we've plenty more theories about the origin of the universe up our sleeve. The Big Back Burner theory, for example."

The Big Back Burner theory? Does he have anything to add to that?

"Not really," says the scientist. "Just to say that I quite fancy Chocolate Devil in the 3.30 at Chepstow."

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