Monday, January 06, 2014


My American friends always get on my case about how much it rains in my home country of England.

They are wrong. I delight in pointing out to them that the average annual rainfall in England at 33.7 inches is actually less than it is in my adopted home of Rhode Island which "enjoys" about 46 inches of precipitation a year.

But as the map above so clearly demonstrates, every one of the lower 48 states in the USA does experience many more hours per year of sunshine than the United Kingdom (and most of northern Europe.) Even here in New England, tucked up in the far north east of the USA, our sunshine totals are comparable to Italy and Greece and northern Spain.

We do notice it when we go back to Britain. So many days when we never see the sun. Cool grey days. There's so much I miss about our life in England. But not the grey.

Grey is depressing. Sunshine lifts the spirit.

God bless America.


Bursledon Blogger said...

It's what comes of being 10 degrees south of us plus the land mass probably helps, best we can do is move to the Isle of Wight but at least the beer is warm and on the odd day we see blue sky we really appreciate it!

Tillerman said...

Very true BB. The other major difference in the climate between New England and Old England is that we get more extremes of temperature here, hotter summers and colder winters than we used to have in the UK. Again probably something to do with the difference between having 3000 miles of land or 3000 miles of ocean to the west of each place.

O Docker said...

While travelling through the UK this past March with some Anglophile friends of ours, we often retreated to pubs to warm ourselves and, to, uh, rehydrate.

A common thread of conversation was the unique character of the British pub, and how it has no real counterpart in the states. We have bars and taverns and a wide variety of drinking establishments, but hardly any have the warmth and feeling of a community meeting place that is common to most pubs.

For the three weeks we were there, we debated what had given birth to this British institution. We considered a wide variety of cultural and sociological differences that may have created the pub, but we always came back to the weather.

That somber, chilling, British gray must have had a hand in creating these surrogate homes that seem to always pop up just when needed.

In winter, there's usually a wood fire kept burning in some corner to reinforce the feeling of 'home and hearth', but also to keep the gray from ever finding its way inside.

Pandabonium said...

Going by the BBC weather news today, Wales is getting battered by high - really high! - surf and much of England is under water. I say be glad you are in the new world, but for the frigid temperatures. I hope your home islands manage to stay afloat and that you can stay warm where you are.

Tillerman said...

Why stop there Oh Docker? Surely the British weather is responsible for many other aspects of British culture and character? We could have a whole group writing project on the issue.

Tillerman said...

Mustn't grumble Panda. Stiff upper lip old chap. Worse things happen at sea.

HSC Gordon said...

The problem with England is geometry, a subject first taught to me over many cold damp days at Horley Secondary Modern in Surrey. The Sun just never gets that high in the sky. The Isle of Wight is on the same latitude as Calgary. I wish there were pubs in America; if only England hadn't driven out the damn Puritans.

Tillerman said...

Hi HSC Gordon - good to hear from you.

Where am I now, Tiverton RI, is on the same latitude as Barcelona. So why is it 50 degrees colder than Barcelona today?

And why aren't there pubs in America? It surely can't be all down to the Puritans? Actually there are pubs in America. They are just different.

Tillerman said...

And talking of geometry, isn't it approximately true that every place on earth gets the same amount of daylight in a year? The higher latitudes have shorter days in winter but longer days in summer so it evens out as half a year of daylight every year for everywhere.

For you purists I know this is not precisely true because of such factors as atmospheric refraction and earth's elliptical orbit. But they aren't huge factors.

So the variation in sunlight hours as opposed to daylight hours in the map above is not due to simple geometry. It's all about cloud cover in different places.

Is that right? Where is the Natural Navigator when we need him?

Anonymous said...

Well Tillerman, if you really feel homesick, wouldn't a triple dose of Downtown Abbey with a double dose of your favorite ale make you forget the grey skies?


Tillerman said...

LOL. I did try a double dose of Hound's Bum Abbey last night but it was incredibly authentic and realistic with lots of grey weather and unhappy people.

Here's some typical dialogue.
Carson: We shout and scream and wail and cry but in the end we must all die.
Mrs. Hughes: Well that’s cheered me up.

If they don't do something to cheer me up soon by killing the odd character or two I'm going to stop watching.

Post a Comment