Crowded House sang “always take the weather with you,” but we clearly didn’t get the memo and we forgot to bring the 2012 North American Drought to London.
The first morning in London, we went out wearing our usual summer outfit, i.e. shorts and T-shirts. We took the Tube to Victoria Station, and as soon as we stepped out of it, we were greeted by a torrential downpour.
Welcome to London!
It was cold and windy to boot, and all our hopes that the morning chill would eventually disappear were blown away. We stepped back into the station and headed to the hotel to change to jeans and grab sweaters—a smart decision considering it rained on and off for the rest of the day.
I think this was the first time ever we left Canada for a colder place.
Granted, the end of spring and the summer so far have been unusually hot in Ottawa. Like in most of the U.S., it didn’t rain at all in July, a very rare occurrence here in Ontario. Summers in Ottawa are typically hot and humid, but thunderstorms are frequent and can be brutal.
In London, the weather is typically British: rainy one second, sunny the next, windy for a moment and then calm for the next. It was hard to dress for the weather, especially considering we left the hotel in the morning and only go back late at night after a long day of exploring the city.
It felt strange to suddenly experience much cooler temperatures. It was almost like summer was over—it feels like the weather in Ottawa right before Thanksgiving, for instance. I wanted to sip tea and eat comfort food such as curry. Sweating was like a distant memory and I wanted to take a bath to warm up before sleeping instead of a short cold shower to cool off.
As much as I complain about our long and harsh winters in Canada, this taste of British weather reminded me how much I disliked fall and winter in Europe. Temperatures aren’t as cold in Western Europe—in Nantes, for instance, they rarely fall below 5 °C—but it is always rainy, grey and damp. I have memories of walking to school at 7:30 a.m. and having to sit beside the heater in class for the rest of the day because my feet had been soaked, or because it was so damn damp.
In this case, I take Canada’s extreme weather over Europe’s so-called temperate weather!