Always take the weather with you

Thu, 25/03/2010 - 13:27
Submitted by sarah baxter

I'm sorry. Really, I apologise. For every time I've ever moaned about the Great British Weather when it's interrupted a good country walk.

I've sworn at rain, cursed at clouds, vented fury at Nature's vented fury, and generally whinged when the weather has not been to my liking.

So why the sudden change of heart? Samoa, that's why.

Last month I was lucky enough to jet off to the South Pacific for six days in paradise. Friends seethed with envy. My Mum, a sun worshipper of the most evangelical order and one prone to malaise in the gloom of February, practically disowned me, changing the subject huffily if I dared mention my upcoming, winter-escaping jaunt.

And, don't get me wrong, it was wonderful: lush, palm-fanned, packed with fascinating cultural quirks and exotic drinking coconuts. But, boy, was it HOT. And WET. And then HOT again. It was meteorological mayhem – there were no half measures; no 'quite warm' days or 'light drizzles'. It was full-on torrential downpours interspersed with humidity so high it may as well have been downpouring anyway.

This made walking a challenge. Indeed, I have never sweated so much on a pre-breakfast stroll. As locals, well-used to the air's ferocity, strolled with a nonchalant ease, I wheezed and dripped, wiped my brow, and dripped some more, before the sun had even made it far off the horizon. On a hike up one of the island's youngest volcanoes, a Lost World of creepers and banyan trees surely inhabited by dinosaurs, I was reduced to a puddle of my own perspiration.

And then the rain! Or, to be exact, the fringes of a cyclone, which threatened to pummel poor Samoa head on, but thankfully diverted at the last minute. Winds howled, droplets splatted like pancake batter. This wasn't just rain; this was M&S rain – no nonsense, top-of-the-range, biggest and best you can get.

I loved Samoa. And, curiously, I grew to love walking there – so verdant and alive, so truly tropical, so different from back home. But the thought of swapping our homegrown temperance, our mizzle, overcast afternoons and relatively slight breezes for this tirade of tropical conditions... well, that just brings me out in a cold British sweat.



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