The British have a strange approach to the rain, in that they quite often deny it is actually happening. “Rain, what rain dear boy, it’s just a mild precipitation” as thunder and lightening keep you inside.
So many Brits will tell you that it hasn’t rained for ages, even when your weekend trip with them to the coast was spent driving through a heavy mist and that brief walk along the seafront required a change of clothes. And that evenings weather report will say it was just “showers”.
No, rain to the British is a monsoonal downpour that is “enough to water the garden” but to anyone from overseas is enough to wash half the garden away. But come rain or shine, there are - thankfully - plenty of fantastic pubs in which to take refuge. A few hours out of the rain sitting by an open fire (check out the superb fireplace at The Stag on this free London pub crawl or walk, not far from Hampstead Heath – my favourite London park, due to its diversity) with a fine bitter in hand is enough to make you see past the wet weather and perhaps agree, “yes, it’s just a slight precipitation”.
Sitting in one of London’s fabulous pubs one wet stormy night, a friend told me about “rain-dogging” - a term applied to people who wander around aimlessly, normally in a drunken state. It comes from the observation of dogs who not only mark their territory with their “scent” (by pissing on things) but also use other dogs’ scent to navigate home. In heavy rain dogs wander around in a confused state trying to sniff their way home, but cannot find their path as all the scents have been washed away. I feel quite certain that in my younger days I may have actually committed this somewhat bizarre act, particularly on late nights after a few nice ales (though trying to navigate from well known city sites, not dog scents).
So, the next time you are in a nice pub sheltering from the rain, have a thought for our canine companions lost in the streets and suburbs without the ability to seek shelter and supp from a nice bitter till the rain has passed. And if, on your wander home on a rain filled evening, you run into a confused-looking dog, you’ll now know why.