Wednesday, 26 August 2009

It's mizzle, that's for-shizzle

My English father-in-law calls today's weather "mizzle" - a hybrid of mist and drizzle. We're apparently receiving the last of Hurricane Bill. It's very true that the English do love to discuss the weather. In them, it produces joy, loathing, regret... the whole range of human emotion.

I haven't been too depressed by rain here, yet. I've only had my wellie boots on twice, and been to a washout outdoor concert once. We went to hear the New England Orchestra play during what began as overcast skies, evolving to mizzle, sprinkles, drops, and finally downpour. Amazingly, all the stalwart Brit picnickers around us formed umbrella tents and carried on drinking their Pimms and champagne in what any American would consider a monsoon. One particular reveler, who we spied eat an entire cake during the mizzle segment, got up in the rain and danced the Blue Danube waltz solo while on his sugar high. Even Chumley started to crack up at the craziness of his fellow countrymen. By the time we gave up and scooted to the car, careful not to wipe out on wet grass or goose turds along the way, we were completely soaked through. Strange, but fun. As Chumley says, "If the English planned their lives around the weather, they'd never leave the house." Too right, Chumley. I attribute this damp-tolerance to soggy DNA. When Chumley runs his occasional road races, he doesn't mind the rain, and even hopes for it, as it speeds him up among the competitors who prefer to remain dry. I married a mudder.

The climate produces some other interesting outdoor phenomena. For instance, I'd never seen a real-life snail until I'd lived here. At first I thought the shiny paths on the concrete were unexplainable, much like crop circles, until Chumley enlightened me that they were really snail squeezin's. Eew.

When we moved into our house, the magpies insisted on leaving round balls of moss they had plucked from our tile roof right in front of our door every morning. Once I figured out what these furry, dark, spongey things were, I wished they would keep their moss to themselves. My only explanation is that they were housewarming gifts. If I were a magpie, I think I'd like a nice wad of moss for my new nest, too. Eureka! I finally get that line of Your Song: "Sat on the roof... kicked off the moss." No wonder Bernie Taupin's verses were getting him quite cross - how could he concentrate with all that damp crud all over? (If you ask me, I'm turning into a savant at this whole "cultural translation" business. )

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