Simon Kelner: The jet stream nearly did for the Morris dancers

Kelner's view

Share

I come from Manchester, so I'm no stranger to rain.

But even I'm finding this a little hard to take. Apparently, the cold, wet weather that has turned June into November has been caused by the stubborn refusal of the jet stream to disappear from our weather patterns. But that wasn't much of a consolation to those who participated in the summer carnival in an Oxfordshire town I watched at the weekend.

The sodden procession of girl guides, a junior drum band, primary school gymnasts, care-home workers pushing wheelchairs, and even the samba dancers for Alzheimer's (I kid you not) was in many ways a quintessentially English scene, down to the spiteful wind, the crowd dressed in overcoats and the determination that the show must go on. Even the Queen couldn't arrange the weather, I heard someone say, so what chance have we got?

Perhaps we're getting it all out of the way before the Olympics. I sincerely hope so, because if the wind is anywhere near as pernicious as it was at the weekend, javelin throwers might find the spears coming back towards them.

I don't want to depress you unnecessarily as we start a new working week, but the Met men say there's more to come. As I said, it's all the jet stream's fault. If I understand this correctly, this is the band of wind that flows high in the atmosphere and which determines much of the weather in these isles.

By this time of the year, the jet stream should have moved further north, enabling warmer air to be predominate in Britain. But the jet stream has resolutely remained in a southerly position, bringing the wind and rain that almost did for the Duke of Edinburgh, never mind the Morris dancers. And there's not much sign of it shifting.

I have written in this column before about the qualitative improvements of modern life, and one of those is definitely the accuracy of weather forecasting.

Time was when you couldn't believe a thing you heard or read about the weather. In fact, I know of a newspaper which had a one-word summary on its front page and, because the front page for Monday had to be sent early to the printers, it had the same forecast every single Monday morning: changeable. This being Britain, more often than not it was uncannily accurate.

Forecasting is more reliable today. It has to be. When the experts tell you that the dull, cold, miserable weather is likely to continue, you know there's no point in making any barbecue plans just yet.

Extreme weather events are increasing in their frequency, and, even if you don't believe humankind is to blame for this, the chances are that you take more interest in climate change (in the narrowest sense) than you once did. The joke is that the British are obsessed with the weather. Sadly, we have good reason to be.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Public Accounts Committee found widespread concern among civil servants that they would be victimised if they spoke out about wrongdoing  

Nikileaks explained: The sad thing about the Nicola Sturgeon saga is that it makes leaks less likely

Jane Merrick
New SNP MP Mhairi Black distinguished herself in Westminster straight away when she made herself a chip butty in the canteen  

The SNP adventure arrives in Westminister - but how long before these new MPs go native?

Katy Guest
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?