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Jessica's Column
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Issue 12 - "Great British Weather"
jessica davies from Ecclesbourne School, Duffield

Jessica Davies is a Year 11 student at The Ecclesbourne School, Duffield and is a regular columnist within the pages of this magazine.

British weather is the best in the world. When I wake up in the morning and stumble out of bed to the window, I am always pleasantly surprised by the sight. Variety is the spice of life and undoubtedly the key to the brilliance of British weather. I could easily see sunshine, clouds, rain, grey mist or even snow out of that window. And that’s only February!

You may think if I am seeing a dark storm outside or a morning saturated with rain, why would I be pleased? The answer is in the old adage “everyone loves a good moan”. This is not only true, but also the reason British people love to talk about their coveted weather. A good complain is fun - if a group of people are moaning about the cold together they feel companionship as well as enjoying the whinge. It’s a win-win situation! Combined with the unpredictability of English skies, there is definitely no better topic of discussion. In Europe, you couldn't discuss sun all the time. There's no substance!

I'm sure everyone will remember the fluffy thick snow that fell in February– the heaviest in 18 years. Roads and schools were closed by the white drifts and the flakes coated our houses for days. It really was beautiful – and I'm sure hundreds of digital camera memory cards were filled up in that week from the endless Kodak moments. After all, it's impossible to take an ugly picture of fresh snow! What makes it even more special is its rarity. I can only remember inch-thick snow like that a couple of times in my life – each memory is filled with freezing snow fights and smiling snowmen.

Here, we get cool grey days where we can get on with our work and rest without stormy or scorching interruptions. We have exciting days of sun cream where we laze, sheltering desperately, with tumblers of melting ice cubes. We get wet days too; when the rain comes pouring down heavily and we can laugh and shake the drops from our hair, enjoy a colourful parade of umbrellas and funky wellies or relish the priceless fun of splashing in puddles. Of course, the wonderful rain is what gives us our luscious green countryside.

A lack of sun teaches us to appreciate it more when it does come. Us Brits flock optimistically out to the coast and beauty spots armed with picnics and sunglasses to make the most of every last ray, but at the same time ready to dash for cover. After all, people in England don't tan – they rust!

We do get flooding and other disasters (where were you during the earthquake on 27th February 2008? Measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, the largest in 25 years, it was very memorable for those who didn’t sleep through it…) but thankfully nowhere near as dangerous as some countries. For example the United States experienced over 3600 earthquakes in 2008. 528 of these were over 4 on the Richter scale. We don’t get anywhere near extremes either - in Meghalaya in Northeast India there is an average annual rainfall of 11m, dwarfing London's 75cm.

In reality we are blessed with this diversity of weather. Although we may moan and groan, because admittedly travelling in a blustery gale isn't a joy, ultimately our weather is a cause for celebration. We can see that every cloud has a silver lining and there is sunshine behind every overcast sky!

To end, a couple of weather related jokes to make you smile:

What's the difference between weather and climate? You can't weather a tree, but you can climate!

What happens when it rains cats and dogs? You have to be careful not to step in a poodle!

Jessica (age 16)

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