The weather has always been something of an obsession to the British – particularly the English. In the north of England especially complete strangers often stop you in the street to discuss the weather. "It's a bit too hot for me" or "It's a bit too damp for me" or "It's a bit too icy for me" are common expressions these total strangers will express to you as you innocently wander towards the local shops.
I generally settle for a polite "Yes isn't it?" and a gentle smile. Disagreeing with them is unwise and ignoring them marks you down as an alien from either London or Mars.
It is a rare occurence that the weather of some other country finds its way into northern conversations of this nature.
Earthquakes in New Zealand? "Teach 'em to keep their sheep on a fault line" is about all that's said.
Floods in Bangla Desh and Pakistan? "Well they shouldn't live by a river should they?" is a regular suggestion.
Drouts in Africa? "Well what do they expect living in a desert?" is about as inciteful as the north of England gets.
They're generally too busy muttering about it being too hot in Leeds or too cold in Rochdale to spend much time noticing the considerably worse weather elsewhere on the planet, not to mention the casualties of such weather. These places are a long way from Oldham so not really the concern of the natives around there.
The current hurricanes hitting the USA and surrounding islands have actually made many northerners sit up and take notice though.
"Ee by eck, it's a bit breezy and wet around Florida in't it love" as a large truck floats gently by and shots of several former houses, now rubble, appear on the nightly news.
"A reckon it be that climate change ‘appen?" will often be the question raised.
"A reckon thi be on to some'at there love" will often be the response.
Even the north of England, where I orginate, a place that often believes it is ignored by the government in London and by that reason is often insular and wrapped up in it's own problems has started to notice something weather related appears to be going badly wrong.
Now when Lancastrians, Yorkshire people and Northumbrians start to pay attention to the weather in and around Florida, unless they're headed there for a holiday, you can bet your bottom dollar some'ats up – and it is.
Hurricanes happen. They've been happening forever. Hurricanes aren't that unusual. They're so frequent they get their own names and yet, there is something different going on here.
Particularly powerful hurricanes – at least as powerful as the current ones – are relatively rare. The odd one pops up now and again. Here we've got two, (or is it three?), potentially devastating and powerful hurricanes popping up one after the other.
The north of England is so unusually concerned with weather elsewhere on the planet I just know something abnormal is occurring and, if so, it is related to climate change.
To any Americans living in the path of these hurricanes – stay safe. Don't do anything daft. If you are advised to evacuate then do so.
Yes, I know there's a risk of looters but, ultimately, better to lose your dining furniture than your life.
Stay safe America. Even the north of England have noticed you've suddenly got more weather than them.
At first they were probably a bit jealous but now even they've realised this is serious and getting worse.
You're in our hearts and minds America.
Good luck from Blighty xx