Every morning my friend studies the steaming surface of her coffee and, from her findings, concludes how the weather will play out that day. The small bubbles that drift across the top are very clear. Float towards the rim of the cup and it’s wellingtons and emergency ponchos all round. Float to the centre; everything’s going to be fine. Float in lumps; the milk’s gone off.
It’s all to do with pressure in the air and strictly speaking Mr Fish was right, of course.
I mean we all questioned poor old Michael when he told everyone they could sleep safe from stormy conditions and then a tree promptly fell through the house, but he was right. It wasn’t a hurricane in 1987 but an ‘intense North Atlantic depression’.
And as we now know, through the wondrous work carried out by the guys at the UKIP Centre of Atmospheric Science, weather conditions can actually be affected by such things as social reform. And if politics and extreme weather are so sensitively linked then this week is a worrying time indeed for the North Atlantic.
Because of print deadlines I am writing this before we know the result of the US presidential election. Indeed, depending on the outcome, this newspaper may never make it into your hands and this article may never be read as we may find ourselves under 10 feet of water as the sea levels rise and the world ends.
According to NASA the world’s most violent weather already occurs in the United States of America.
In a typical year, the colonies have about 10,000 violent thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,000 tornadoes and several hurricanes.
Of these tempestuous events, the tornado which spun through El Dorado, Kansas, in 1958 is one of my favourites. Leaving Dorothy and the land of Oz well alone, this storm instead pulled a woman out of her house and carried her sixty feet through the air. She landed with minor bruising next to an old LP. When she glanced at the label she found it was Stormy Weather.
Ducking into a quick sidetrack while we’re caught in this weather malarkey, this month sees Anders Celsius – he of temperature fame – turn 315 (though, regrettably, he has missed 272 of those years, how forgetful do you have to be to miss your own birthday that many times?) In Fahrenheit that would be 521.6 which is trickier to mark out in candles and I think why the whole system was invented.
That said, apparently when Anders first thought up the thing he decided to do the whole scheme upside down. Thus freezing equalled 100 degrees and things boiled at zero. This scale would make his current age -215 and I’m really not sure how you delineate that on a Victoria sponge. Bake the candles into the cake? Definitely worth dropping Benjamin Button a line and seeing whether he has a special recipe.
Anders was a distinguished fellow though and no one liked to say this might not be the best way forward so they waited until he died to flip the whole thing round.
His birthday is on Sunday, November 27. Here’s hoping we all make it.
l Tom Taylor’s Sitting Room Comedy Club returns to the St George Hotel, Harrogate on Wednesday, December 14 with club favourite Jo Caulfield (as seen on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week) plus support from John Scott (tour support for Ross Noble and Frankie Boyle), Ian Smith (English Comedian of the Year finalist) and MC Jonathan Mayor (Chortle Award Best Compere nominee).
Tickets and more information are available from the venue or www.sittingroomcomedy.com.
Tom Taylor tweets at @tomtails.