On Monday, the sky over the UK developed into an eerie shade of yellow, the winds picked up, and it became so dark at noon that it seemed sundown had arrived six hours early. My neighbour later told me that he had been out golfing, he and his friends feared that our troublesome world leaders had begun the nuclear war that they are so fond of discussing. I was chauffeuring my children to various appointments and trying to remain calm and collected as it became progressively more gloomy and amber all around. Later on, I learned that Hurricane Ophelia was to blame. The sun appeared red as sands from the Sahara desert whipped about the sky above England. Starting the week with an unsettled sepia filter really set the tone for a stretch where everything felt slightly off, sunlight was scarce, and rain abundant, also known as life in the UK.
We have our light therapy UV lamp blasting every morning to combat the grey. Unfortunately, we also have a seven year old who requires near constant supervision and wakes up anywhere between 3 am and 8 am. It's quite difficult to regulate sleep these days. As I was typing that last bit, a friendly *neighbour (not the golfing neighbour- so many neighbours) rang our doorbell to let me know that "someone" was throwing rubbish over the back fence. Wonderful start to half term break I say!
I am beginning to understand the English. The weather is boring. It really is. Most days are not yellow, most days are not even blue. Most days are grey. I didn't initially appreciate all the fuss about the weather, but, when all your seasons feel vaguely the same, it is strange. You have to compensate for the dull days in various ways. My favourite antidote for the boring wet weather is humour. It could be said that my favourite antidote for life is humour. I adore dry or dark comedy with a bit of satire or farce thrown in for good measure. While attending films and plays in Canada, I am often the only person laughing at certain points in the action (feel free to corroborate with my husband on this, I am also a loud laugher, such fun and not embarrassing for anyone). I feel that this is not the case while attending a film or live production in England. My laughter is right on cue. Hurrah! Lately, I am loving The Toast of London starring Matt Berry, available on Netflix (perhaps only UK Netflix, I am not sure). I first became aware of Matt Berry during my obsession with The IT Crowd (also hilarious). Literally every time I hear Matt Berry speak, I laugh. He is a comedy genius. I think my husband laughs half as much as I do watching Toast, so maybe it is North American funny too.
A highlight this month was seeing another British comedy legend, Miranda Hart, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. She was there to discuss her new **children's book, which is quite charming, worth looking up! She did a Miranda gallop, made a lot of jokes at her parent's expense (as they were in the audience), and really was naturally funny. Just as I theorize that Canada produces a lot of comedians due to the cold long winters, I conjecture that England is much the same.
I try to stay mellow, or keep calm and carry on, or bear with bear with, even on days when the sky looks like the apocalypse. It helps to live with tiny comedians. "Mom, robots don't have bum holes... anymore," indicative of the type of conversation starters we employ around here. Wishing all you Brits a fabulous half term and you other lot a fabulous week leading up to Halloween! I have accidentally purchased some Halloween candy, so we've begun celebrating early.
*This neighbour then neatly stacked all the thrown items and placed them on our brick wall for me to tidy up easily. I do love a kind meticulous person.
**The Girl With The Lost Smile, by, Miranda Hart