Only someone from the UK would move to Brazil, start a blog and then write their first post about the weather. Only someone from the UK would bother to write a sequel.
And this, I guess, doesn’t do much to challenge the depiction of us Brits as a bunch of grumps, whose approach to communicating with strangers – to whom they’d probably prefer not to have to talk to in the first place anyway – typically consists of half-hearted utterances lamenting our perennially mild and temperate climate.
Or perhaps that’s just me.
Yet, whilst we may be the weather-forecasting, small-talk champions of the world – let’s face it, there’s not much else we’re good at these days – the more time I spend in São Paulo the more I realise that we are not alone.
There are others.
For a start Brazilian football commentators seem to be more obsessed about British weather than we are. Next time you watch a Premier League game on Brazilian TV count how many times the commentators mention how cold or rainy it is – even when it’s not that cold or rainy. It’s enough to warrant some sort of drinking game.
My favourite example of this was a recent Champions League match wherein the ESPN commentator remarked upon some slight drizzle.
“And it’s 15 degrees in London, and it’s raining as usual”
Meanwhile, outside my window in São Paulo a bibilical storm was causing whole part of the city to grind to a halt with flash-floods.
“And the second half begins. It’s 15 degrees in London and it’s still raining a little.”
Indeed, just look at that drizzle.
And whilst we Brits like to proclaim that we’re able to experience ‘four seasons in a day’, this is largely bollocks because it’s rare for us to ever witness more than three days of sunshine in one summer. In São Paulo, it’s far more fitting, seeing as the mornings can start a little ‘chilly’ (we’ll come back to this), before regularly getting a bit Clash of the Titans, with Hadean lashings of heat often battling against Zeusian (Ed. Is that even a word?) deluges of hale, rain and those aforementioned flash-floods.
Yet, for Sampa, this ‘four seasons in day’ state of affairs seems a little ironic seeing as in general the city barely ever seems to experience anything more than one season a year. Ok, well maybe two: a very warm summer and a mildly warm summer (otherwise known to me and you as winter).
There is of course – as the charts above suggest – no getting away from the fact that each year London has the winter most Brazilians only see in films or books, although judging by the dread with which Paulistanos tend to greet this time of year you might think otherwise.
For example, last year I remember May, June and July being particularly confusing, because as the temperature dipped below 20c I started to notice people wearing more and more layers, until it reached July, dropped near 10c and you could even spot the odd item of ski attire.
I, on the other hand, wore barely more than one of my trusted flannelled shirts, a move that often resulted in a series of stare-offs, in which people gave me odds looks and I duly returned them with, in true British form, a slight raise of the eyebrow.
One thing I benefited from was the fact that my public displays of disdain for the Brazilian winter saw my position on the masculinity continuum rocket from that of Napolean Dynamite to being somewhere close to a ruddy, bloody, UFC kind of bloke (Ed. Err are you sure about this?).
Of course, the complete opposite occurred the first time my wife visited the UK. I remember quite vividly that one of her first days in London was a barmy 26c – phew! As such, I immediately took her to the park to enjoy the sun, but once there she seemed rather curious as to why most of London seemed to be stripping naked when it was only “warm.”
“Wait,” I said. “Just wait.”
And the next day was duly a miserable one, with a sky full of grey rain clouds and distinctly mild temperature of 17c.
“Ah”, she said, “now I understand.”
After a while though she acclimatised to the cold and it’s now even possible to hear her bemoaning Brazil’s heat every now and again.
And I fear a similar thing might be happening to me. The morning and evening chill has already started to make an appearance in São Paulo, as have the coats, scarves and the occasional pair of gloves. The strange thing is that I am almost half-consciously following suit, with my flannelled second layer now already making an appearance.
Where will this madness end?
I guess my body and mind must just be aligning. Where once upon a time I was just another grumpy gringo moaning about nothing in particular, my way of mind is almost fully in tune with the ways of Sampa – I now want to stay here more than my wife does. Similarly, perhaps my body is following suit, itself becoming a little Brazilianised (Ed. That definitely isn’t a word).
Who knows, perhaps by July I’ll also be digging out my winter jacket. More worryingly, what’s going to happen when I go back to London next week? What the hell am I going to pack? Shorts or a hoodie?
These are my dilemmas.