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THE CLIMATE IN THE FOGGY ALBION
Why the Foggy Albion? Albion is the oldest known name for Britain. It comes from the Latin word “albus” for “white”, and may refer to the white cliffs of Dover. Everybody knows Britain is famous for its fogs. That is why – the Foggy Albion.
According to the legend when the Romans in I B.C. under Julius Caesar reached the shore of Britain some sailors cried “Albus” having seen the white cliffs of the island. According to the other version “Albion” comes from the Celtic word “albus” meant “mountains”.
Great Britain is situated on the islands and is washed by seas from all sides. That is why the climate is humid. The seas surrounding the British Isles are shallow, that is why the water is warm. These seas keep the island warm in winter and make the air cool in summer. The mountains in the west and in the north prevent the country from the cold winds.
But the main warmth comes from the Gulf Stream, the warm current, which flows from the coasts of America across the Atlantic Ocean. It is never too cold or too hot in Britain. So, the British climate is mild.
Due to the geographical position the weather on the British Isles has a very bad reputation and not without reason. It is so changeable and fickle that the Englishmen say: “Other countries have a climate, in England we have weather”.
The English also say that they have three variants of the weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the after noon or when it rains all day long.
It rains very often in all seasons but the wettest are autumn and winter. The two worst months are January and February. They are damp, cold and unpleasant and the best place in the world then is at home near the fireplace.
British houses have large windows to have more light during winter, but they do not have double windows. Few houses have central heating, they have fireplaces instead. The British people are very conservative. They prefer shivering with cold but never changing their customs and traditions.
On a typical January day the temperature remains above the freezing point. The average temperature in winter is from 7C till 3.5C . Winter temperatures below 10 degrees of frost are rare. The snow may come but it melts quickly.
The best time of the year in Britain is spring. Due to humid and mild climate trees and flowers begin to blossom early in spring. It is the driest period (though it rains too).
Summer months are rather cold . The average temperature is about 16 degrees . Sometimes the temperature rises above 30 degrees in the south. There can be a lot of rainy days and the British enjoy every chance to bask in the sun. Most people who look forward to summer holidays, plan to go abroad in summer to France or somewhere on the Continent.
The most unpleasant aspect of the British weather is fog and smog. Fog mixed with smoke gives smog, which is very unhealthy. But the worst to be said about London fog belongs to the period before 1956. That year the Parliament prohibited to burn coal in chimneys in big towns during the winter. Since then the pea soups described in the novels by Dickens and Galsworthy have become history.
The fog spreads everywhere, it is in the streets and it creeps into the houses. Cars move along slowly, but still street accidents are frequent in the fog. Sometimes the fogs are so thick that people cannot see each other.
So, we can say that the British climate has three main features: it is mild, humid and changeable.
‘When two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather.’ Samuel Johnson, English poet, critic and lexicographer In Britain, it is considered rude to ask personal questions. At the same time silence is also rude. So the weather is a very convenient topic ‘to fill the gap’. -- Just think – such a day in July. Rain in the morning, then a bit of sunshine, and then rain, rain, rain, all day long. - I remember exactly the same July day in 1980. -- Yes, I remember too. - Or was it in 1985? -- Yes, it was. - Or in 1988? -- Yes, that`s right.
Remember a very important rule: You must never contradict anybody when discussing the weather. Should it hail and snow, should hurricanes uproot the trees from the sides of the road, and should someone say to you: ‘Nice day, isn`t it?’ – answer without hesitation: ‘ Isn`t it lovely?’ For good weather For bad weather ‘Lovely day, isn`t it?’ ‘Isn`t it beautiful?’ ‘Isn`t it gorgeous?’ ‘Wonderful, isn`t it? ‘I adore it, don`t you?’ ‘Nasty day, isn`t it?’ ‘Isn`t it dreadful?’ ‘I don`t like it at all. Do you?’ ‘The rain…I hate rain…’ ‘Isn`t it awful?’ Examples for conversation
When the weather is wet We must not fret. When the weather is cold We must not scold. When the weather is warm We must not storm. But be thankful together Whatever the weather!