We have been having a decent time here in the Lake District over the past few days. The weather has been typical in that it has been very changeable, but untypical in that we have had quite a lot of sunshine. A couple of days ago we all narrowly avoided sunburn. Keswick does hold the record for most rainfall in 24 hours, which was set only last year – there’s progress for you! – so a dryish sunny week is something to be treasured.
Because the Lake District is close to the West coast of England we get the weather more or less straight off the Atlantic. Ireland acts as a slight brake but it’s pretty useless at stopping the weather systems battering us here. The rhythm of the weather here is mich quicker than back home in Germany. We can usually expect our weather to hang around for a few days, sitting in the middle of continental Europe. Here you don’t know what we’ll be getting in the next half hour.
I like weather, so I like it here. I don’t mind getting battered by stormy winds as long as there is a warm pub or sleeping bag at the end of the day. The quickly changing weather also means that even on a bad day, you will probably get a ray of sun shining on a hillside at some stage. You quickly take a picture and, hey presto, your Lakeland Holiday looks fantastic. The days you spent inside with the kids going stir crazy are quickly forgotten. I think we may have pulled this trick on my friend Alan. He managed to convince his family to come to the Lakes for a few days earlier this summer. Oops – total washout. Sorry about that, Alan and family. If it’s any consolation, the weather’s lovely now!
That’s not quite true, we have had a couple of rainy mornings. We have managed to “weather” the rainy interludes quite well – mainly because the kids have a TV in their room. We seem to have crossed the rubicon as far as technology is concerned too. Suddenly we went from me explaining how to use the remote control, to me asking the kids how it works. This means that my children have the whole glorious world of English terrestrial TV at their fingertips. I don’t mind because at least they are perfecting their English. Well, maybe “perfecting” isn’t quite the right word. Their favourite shows are Come Dine with Me (thanks Uncle Rob) and You’ve Been Framed. Their second-favourite viewing experience are the adverts. And, to be fair, the adverts on English TV really are better than in Germany. They are wittier and funnier at least.
Come Dine with Me is a special form of torture. There is a similar show in Germany called Promi Dinner but Come Dine with Me is even more embarrassing. For those who don’t know it, here’s a quick guide. The producers find four “colourful” characters who look awful, can’t cook and have borderline mental health issues combined with no social skills. I was wondering where they find this seemingly endless supply of candidates, but then I recalled our many journeys on the North Sea Ferry and had a seriuos “aha” moment. Anyway, the kids had been quiet in their room for a long time until my patience snapped and I decided to tell them to watch something better. I marched up the stairs wondering if we could find a history documentary or something. Ariane came to look for me ten minutes later – only to find me sitting on the bed shouting at the injustice of one of Diners’ verdict on the toffee pudding. I think she was disappointed in me – but five minutes later she was doing the same.
Well, at least we watched Victoria and, to my despair, The Great British Bake-off so the girls get to hear some posh English as well. Predictably, they loved Bake-off which I hate. The more I grumble about how a country can take it so seriously, the more they are going to like it so I had better keep quiet. I suppose that Bake-off and Strictly do act as deterrents. Anyone thinking about destroying our culture just needs to watch a little evening TV before giving up while saying “Come, Comrade, our work here is done.”