Posted by: Emily | November 18, 2009

Après la pluie, le beau temps

I’m in Paris and it’s raining. This isn’t that surprising to me for two reasons. Firstly, it always seems to rain whenever I’m in Paris. I was here this time last year and it was raining then as well. In fact, I can’t recall a time when I’ve been to Paris and it hasn’t, at some point during the trip, rained. This isn’t always a bad thing. My sister Nicky and I have spent many a wonderful time together drinking coffees and/or Kir Royaux in a cosy cafe in the heart of the 6e Arrondissement whilst outside it pours down. If truth be told, even if it wasn’t raining we’d probably choose to do the same thing. You could even argue that the rain gives us more of an excuse for doing so without feeling like we should be doing something more worthwhile (although what could possibly be more worthwhile than this I really don’t know). In fairness, I’ve never spent longer than a few days at a time here, there’s only so much Kir drinking that even Nicky and I can manage, and people probably say the same thing about the rain and London so I’ll assume that Paris, just like home, has plenty of wonderfully dry days. This just isn’t one of them. The second reason why the rain isn’t surprising is because I didn’t bring an umbrella. This, in itself, is pretty much a guaranteed recipe for a rainy day. The ‘Emily has no umbrella’-‘it’s going to rain’ correlation is so high that I’m surprised the Met doesn’t check with me daily before compiling their intraday forecast. The only thing more likely to bring on rain than me not having an umbrella is if I’m wearing clothing of a ‘see-through when wet’ nature. My long sleeved cream base layer is a perfect example of such a garment, as I discovered last weekend when popping out for a Starbucks and, as it turned out, an impromptu shower.

Once again, I seem to be on a topic that has no (obvious) connection with cycling. It’s becoming a bit of a habit, but I always manage to get there in the end, however tenuous the link. So here it is; replace ‘umbrella’ with ‘waterproofs’ and the same rules apply to cycling. I’ll leave home with the sun shining brightly, blue skies, not a cloud as far as the eye can see and birds tweeting (if there were lambs they’d be making whatever noise lambs make). Naturally the last thing I’ll be thinking about is whether or not I have anything waterproof with me. Big mistake. No sooner will I be far enough from home that turning back isn’t an option than the sun will suddenly vanish. From nowhere clouds will appear and before you know it I’m in the middle of a monsoon. OK, I’m exaggerating wildly, but you get the point. Of course, just as it is with an umbrella, simply bringing waterproofs when cycling certainly doesn’t guarantee that it stays dry, but cycling across London, or anywhere for that matter, in the pouring rain is certainly made far more enjoyable when armed with rubber overshoes and a waterproof jacket. You’re still going to arrive at your destination soaking wet, but there’s something about it that’s reminiscent of being a child (or adult) wearing wellies and jumping into a huge puddle; totally pointless, but inexplicably so much fun.

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