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Song of The Weather

I've spoken before about White Christmases in fic and on TV set in and around London. We've had a few "freaky winters" this century, so far, which get one half of the country nodding wisely and saying, "Climate change," while the other half say, "So much for supposed global bloody warming!" But in the whole of the 20th century - and accepting the North/South divide which is a weather as well as cultural thing in Great Britain, small island notwithstanding - London and the South East only got a handful of White Christmases, either in the bookie's sense of "snow fell on a Met Office weather station" or a layer of snow lying round about, deep and crisp and even.

As the popular poem The Garden Year (also satirised by Flanders and Swann) put it, "Chill December brings the sleet,/ Blazing fires and Christmas treat." while, "January brings the snow,/ Makes our feet and fingers glow." Which is how I remember it growing up in the 80s and 90s. The one and only time snow (as opposed to October gales and downed trees) shut schools round our way was February 1992. We got a half-term of nearly two weeks!

But look! Look, look, look!

T'internets offers lots of lovely resources for writers and nit-pickers. (It may be a little... odd, to get quite as excited as I am about this; but see also my previous post about motorway services information!)

Met office weather reports for the 1980s

weatheronline.co.uk (1982s freaky winter - but other articles listed down the side)

London Weather 1981 (NB see the "article.120." part of the link? ".119." gives 1980, "121" 1982, etc etc)

Historical Weather for 1980 (again, just change the "/1980/" part to 1983, or whatever, for other years)



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
I remember being just that excited when I discovered the Britweather site! It's brilliant - These pages give monthly summaries of the weather through the decades. July 1981, for example:
Notable thunderstorms on the 9th. An afternoon storm in central London gave 58mm of rain in forty minutes and caused widespread disruption. Large hail and six lightning flashes per minute, and wind squalls up to 48mph. Flooding around Kings Cross and Tottenham Court Road. Lightning death at Yeovilton (Somerset). As the storm moved northeast, Romford town centre was flooded to two feet deep. Two thunderstorms at Brentwood (Essex) gave 104mm of rain on the 9th. Another storm gave 80mm of rain in 80 minutes at Littleover (Derbyshire). An evening storm gave 54mm in one hour at Bury St Edmunds. On the 11th there was a minor notable downpiour in Glasgow, with 18mm in 15 minutes. There was a cold spell later in the month, with parts of eastern England only reaching 12C on the 24th.

They're not all nearly that detailed, but there's a summary at the beginning of each year too, giving a general feel for it all. Very useful when writing! Plus I do rather like weather...
Jan. 14th, 2015 05:56 pm (UTC)
I know, right! :D

TBH one reason (other than the nit-picky desire to stamp out White Christmases in London when they didn't happen) I started this research was thinking about Doyle's Many Layers in Series 5/4, and a sense of: hang on a mo, if Ojuka was filmed in early November '80, just how cold *was* it if their breaths were misting and Doyle needed to be bundled up like pass-the-parcel?

And thanks for the extra link. All and any resources welcome! :D
Jan. 14th, 2015 06:02 pm (UTC)
I should so not be here, I should be working, but... *g*

I am absolutely guilty of setting various white Christmases (or at least Decembers) in London, though I know full-well they didn't happen. On special occasions I just have to suspend disbelief and go with what seems most magic, though... *g*

That said, for my bigger fics I did actually use the Britweather site I linked you to to check out the weather for the year I wanted to use - or more commonly to check out what year had the weather I wanted to use! *g* The actual year isn't always given in the stories, but I know!

Actually the other thing about the cold, is how long you're standing around in it - it might be that it wasn't that cold, but with long waits in between filming, the lads felt the chill... where we see one or the other of them more bundled than the other (and it can go either way) it might just have been that one was on the set longer! I much prefer, mind, to make up my own Bodie/Doyle explanation... *g*
Jan. 14th, 2015 06:17 pm (UTC)
BTW are you ever, after work, on Gchat or a similar platform? (If you sign up for GYWO (sign ups don't close until the 20th!), they have a members' chat room.

And YES! to or more commonly to check out what year had the weather I wanted to use! - what wil memories of last year, I want a really wet 1980s winter in one of my WiPs, so I looked it up! *BG*

And yes, again! When people comment about BTS puffer jackets and things, I always think, "Well, yes, but if you've been taking 25 takes or camera shots of a five minute section, you've probably been hanging around for HOURS, not moving much. It gets chilly." (As a person with a mobility impairment, I also notice this factor with how slow-moving I am.) Similarly, sometimes actors comment on things like, "My character smoked one cigarette. To get the scene, *I* smoked about 20. In a two hour session. Yes, my voice was gravelly in the next scene. I also had a nicotine headache."
Jan. 14th, 2015 05:51 pm (UTC)
Those resources do look excellent! I don't know if I'd ever be that meticulous, but I admire and appreciate those who are (and it's always good to have the resources).
Jan. 14th, 2015 06:05 pm (UTC)
Well there are two ways of using such sites, aren't there? Either, checking that you haven't put torrential rain in a month when there was actually a drought, which might raise a few eyebrows because people remember freaky weather; or looking through for inspiration - "Oooooh! There was a Big Freeze in January 1982. How can I use that in fic?" (Personally, the July floods in 1981 that BSL mentions above have started me thinking!)

:D Besides, I *like* sharing both Facts What I Know and resources I've found.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Dee Natsuko

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