Sunday, 4 September 2011

Whether the weather...

For those that know us and/ or those who've been reading the blog, you'll know that after we moved up here on 2nd Jan this year one of the first things we went out to buy were waterproofs, good quality, top of the range waterproofs.  Not that it rains the whole time up here, despite what people will tell you; many's the time I've been enjoying fabulous weather up here whilst chatting on Facebook with friends the other end of the country stuck in their homes with the rain lashing down ouside.  Which rather begs the question: What on earth was I doing sitting at a laptop when the weather outside was so darned good?  Be that as it may, there's one vital piece of usage information you need to be aware of when buying waterproofs that they don't mention on any of the care instructions they now come with; you need to take them with you at all times in order for them to be fully effective.  You'd think I'd have learned that one by now, wouldn't you?
Levers Water from the Old Man on a sunnier day

Not being too harsh on myself, I wouldn't dream of heading off up a fell, even on the sunniest day, without full waterproofs, woolly hat and gloves.  The weather up here can change in a heartbeat and when it rains it's rarely indecisive on the matter, none of this lightweight "it's only spitting" rain, no; when it rains here it rains properly in vertical swathes.  Or horizontal if the wind's kicked in.  We found that out after a hike up the Old Man when our route down was dictated by the direction of the wind.  We had a choice; a gentle path back to the car with the wind blowing the full force of an epic rainstorm into our faces, or a rather less appealing route with the wind at our backs.  We arrive back at the car dripping wet on the outside but warm and snug inside our waterproofs - but then another dilemma kicks in.  It's still hurling down outside but how do you get out of your waterproofs and into the car?  You either need the clothes changing abilities of Superman to ditch the waterproofs and jump into the car or the flexibility and dexterity of Houdini to be able to slip out of your waterproofs inside the car with a steeringwheel in front of you.  If anyone's figured that one out, please let me know.

There have, however, been a couple of occasions lately when we've been caught out.  The first was on a trip to Haweswater, an absolutely stunning lake which we discovered when hiking the Kentmere horseshoe a few weeks back.  It was a glorious sunny day so we decided that rather than walk up a fell we'd take a walk around a lake instead.  We drove there through glorious sunshine, even parking in a shady spot under a tree so the car would be cool on our return.  We'd filled our rucksack with a yummy picnic and, given the weather conditions and the gentleness of our walk, decided to leave the waterproofs in the car - afterall, what was the worst that could happen on a lovely sunny afternoon like this?  Two hours later, when we were safely on the far side of the lake, the clouds that had been hiding behind High Street decided to leap out and suprise us.  Needless to say we were utterly sodden and vowed that we had most certainly learned our lesson.  At least parking the car under the tree meant that it remained dry, and maybe that's the answer to our earlier dilemma, park the car under a tree at all times and then when you return during a dowpour you've got some place to get out of your waterproofs.  Easy when you know how, eh?

Not all fab Cumbrian views involve fells.
Then there was yesterday and the Mintfest in Kendal.  I admit it was raning a little before we left so we popped our waterproof tops on and donned our walking boots as we were planning to be on our feet most of the day.  Steve even suggested wearing our waterproof trousers but did I listen to the wise words of my gorgeous husband?  No I did not.  In fact I clearly remember saying "I'm sure it won't rain that much, and even if it does, it's only Kendal, we can pop into a shop 'til it blows over."  Idiot.  Once we'd reached the far end of Kendal at around 1:30pm the heavens opened and it didn't blow over until around 10pm.  Sadly we'd given up long before that and squelched our way back to the car, headed home and hung our soggy trousers up to dry.  That was around 20 hours ago and my jeans have only just stopped dripping.

Which brings me to today.  Right now, as I type, it's a gorgeous sunny Sunday morning.  We're planning to head back to Mintfest again today and have the whole itinerary planned from 1pm until it all closes some time late tonight.  I've checked the forecast and it's good, sunny with light cloud for the whole day.  I felt desperately sorry for the organisers when it steamed down yesterday pretty much ruining the entire event, so I think we owe it to them today to take all our waterproofs with us, afterall there's no better way to guarantee a day of glorious sunshine than to pack every item of waterproof clothing you own and carry them around with you, is there?