During my recent visit to London I wanted to watch the Change of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. I knew that it would take place every other day, except in wet weather. As I set out on Sunday morning the sky was overcast and the air was humid with a constant light drizzle. So I started wondering, what exactly is wet weather in London? To be sure, I asked the friendly lad at the front desk, whether this drizzle would already qualify. His answer was, matter-of-factly: “It’s not wet, that’s just air.” Reassured, I started walking through the English air towards Buckingham Palace. Sure enough, it was hardly worth opening the umbrella (and no one did), or even pulling up the hood.
However, shortly after I arrived at the palace, the sky opened up, and I was very happy I had taken the umbrella with me. Other people wished they had done the same, and those who did have umbrellas suddenly became very popular and quickly found many new friends, who wanted to share the cover. People started wondering, whether the show might be cancelled, yet most held out. After all, who knows what counts as rain in England? Eventually, thirty minutes later – my jeans were soaked up to the knees and pools had formed in my sneakers – we were enlightened: it was actually raining, and the Change of the Guard was cancelled. Happy about my newly acquired knowledge I went back to the hostel for a change of clothes.
I did get to see the Change of the Guard two days later. It did not rain anymore during my remaining time in London, not even drizzle. It was, however, increasingly foggy. Which reminds me of Asterix asking upon his arrival in Britain: “Is it always this foggy here?” To which the Brit answers matter-of-factly: “No, only when it’s not raining.”