I'm aware that talking about the weather is a terrible British conversational cliché, so I've been trying to avoid mentioning the weird apocalyptic storms we've been having lately out of a fear of looking even more boring than usual. But I've caved in, they are just too unusual - so unusual that in a country where the sensible take a raincoat and snowshoes out with them on a summer's day 'just in case' people are getting confused.
Firstly, it has been raining, really hard, like way more even than a normal British summer. The windscreen wipers have been on what is referred to in my family as 'holiday speed' pretty much everyday for a few weeks. Entire towns have submerged under the water, Sheffield, especially, seems to have done something really bad to incur the wrath of whatever deity was nearest - when we passed it both going to and coming from York this weekend it was blanketed by gigantic stormclouds and masked by a dirty bastard of a downpour.
As if that wasn't bad enough, this crappy weather, not content with just soaking northerners, has the tenacity to disturb us in London - a city where weather patterns have to check all weapons before entry and behave nicely. The road outside my house was a river the other day, it was washing away heaps of building materials from the innumerable extensions and garden projects that happen on this road in the summer. It must have been around a foot deep in places and formed big pools in hollows.
To cap this all off, we had a hailstorm. A big hailstorm. I'm not talking hailstones that sting your ears and scare cats, I'm talking hailstones the size of ping-pong balls that stripped the pointing off our walls, cracked the windscreen of our car and put some dents in the bodywork.
This clearly all wrong, extreme weather doesn't happen in London, it gets lost - forgets where it is going and just ends up dribbling on people. Poor innocent commuters were staring at each other on train platforms, their frightened eyes windows to panicked minds searching for long since atrophied vocabulary.
"eerm... very erm... moist?.. Crunchy?... weather we're having today? Eh? Clarence?"