All the Brits I know love to talk about the weather. It is one of the main questions I get asked whenever I met a new person who is British or English, or Scottish, or Welsh, or whatever they are calling themselves this week. Most of them think I will comment about how nasty it is or how cold and wet or something along those lines. Truth be told – I love the British weather, possibly much more than they do! So it is common for them to complain about the weather and grumble about it, grouse about it, swear at it, and leave it whenever possible. I am happy to be in it where there are actual seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter. And each season has its own charm and characteristics and accompanying weather.
A very common British past-time is to head to Spain or Italy or Greece during any break they have (from school or work) whenever the weather dips below 20C (around 70F – roughly). A good status symbol is to show up at work during the winter with a tan! Obviously it means you are rich and lucky enough to have gone somewhere warm enough to sit out in the sun for a few days.
I personally have a very small comfortable temperature range. It is a joke in my family that I am most comfortable when the temperature is around 68F to 72F. Anything different and I start complaining about being too hot or too cold. The thermostat gets twisted around, clothes come on, clothes come off, blankets on or off the beds, whatever. All this is probably going to cause problems when we retire to Florida! But I have gotten much better at being out of doors in England in a much wider variety of temperatures. As such, I can run around outside when the weather is in the teens (10-16C) with just a hoodie and stay fairly OK. Any colder, and I am reaching for a good coat, good gloves and scarf or hat as well.
It is amazing that when I am bundled up, there are still many Brits who are so used to their cold winter weather that I am passing them on the street where they are wearing just their t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops! I’ve seen so many Brits dressed in this standard “uniform” at 10C or even 5C. I feel quite proud of myself that I have extended my range of comfortable temperatures but I don’t think I’ll ever get that comfortable.
Yesterday I went out with a friend and it was cold enough for it to snow on us briefly and for me to have a very warm coat and gloves. She had on a sweater and that was it! No fleece, no gloves, no coat, no hat. We had to even stand outside for about 10 minutes and I didn’t see her shiver once! When asked, she said she was used to it because they don’t have central heating in their house! No heating! OMG. I definitely would have a hard time with that. The few times our boiler has broken in the middle of cold weather, I’ve not been able to function without so many layers that I couldn’t function anyway because I couldn’t move!
So my husband and I now joke about whether the weather is T-shirt and flip flop weather or fleece weather or heavy coat weather. In all instances – we’re talking winter weather!