Enduring dirty, filthy rain in Virginia

I have come to dread rainy days in Virginia. And not just because my waterproof appears to be more water than proof these days.

The worst aspect is I am forced to spend my day avoiding the purveyors of predictable comments. I spy them as soon as I come in the office. While I am picking up a newspaper I sense them sidling up to me with a grin that's 98 percent Gorgonzola and 2 per cent Brie.

"So this must remind you of home," they'll quip.

I'll make some affirmative noise and plough on head down, water dripping between my shoulder blades.

Of course what I want to reply is: "No it f... well doesn't. I have never, ever seen rain like this in London."

For the uninitiated London rain isn't like Virginia rain. It's steady and persistent. Or it's light and drizzly and although people stereotype London as a city of perpetual rain, it's actually surprising how little it rains. As I had to trudge up to the Tube station and back for 40 minutes every day, I should know.

It rains even less in Norwich where I have also lived. Apparently the city's annual rainfall is comparable with Jerusalem's. In contrast I spent a year in the Welsh capital Cardiff where it did appear to rain every other day. But still it's steady and predictable precipitation.

In contrast when a tropical storm passes over in Virginia, the heavens open for days on end and dirty, filthy rain falls like nails from the skies. There are tornado warnings and high winds. Homes flood and trash cans blow over. Small dirty creeks become huge dirty tidal invasions that sweep into kitchens. In short, it's messy.

While Paris is meant to be romantic in the rain with the lights glittering on the Eiffel Tower, you can't say the same of Hampton Roads with a wind whipping sheets of rain across six lanes of Interstate.

Still it's hard to convince people not in the know. The same people tend to think it snows all winter in England whereas we haven't had a white Christmas for decades.

"We might as well be in Seattle or London," they'll say.

I have never been to Seattle but I can't believe it rains there like it does in Virginia.

The flipside is Virginia certainly has far more sunny days than London. Those days of blue from a horizon to horizon uninterrupted by a cloud are almost unknown in Britain.

But it's now rained for five days in Hampton Roads. I can't remember that happening back home.

In the spirit of the week I have been thinking of songs about the rain and it's suprising how many there are.

Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythmics was the first 12 inch version I ever bought (how embarassing to even know what a 12 inch version on vinyl is).

Then there's I Can't Stand the Rain by Tina Turner which we used to unkindly sing to a room mate at college who was dating a girl called Lorraine who he wasn't overtly keen on.

Then there's I'm Only Happy When It Rains by the greatly underrated Garbage, the so brilliant Happy When It Rains by Jesus and Mary Chain and Rain by the Cult. Then there's I Wish It Would Rain Down by err um Phil Collins. Yeah not all British imports are cool.

My list forces me to admit my musical taste is rooted in everything pre 1997.

Anyhow the sun's meant to come out tomorrow. But I'll believe it when I see it.


  1. I love the rain and if I didn't my life in Oregon would be miserable. My experience with the rain in London was that it was more of a mist than a downpour. For your sanity I hope the sun shines for you tomorrow.


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