1 EAGLETON NOTES: On Getting Wet

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Wednesday, 29 January 2020

On Getting Wet

Pluviophile (should that be pluvia (L.) meaning rain?): A lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. Antonym: Ombrophobe.

So long as I am prepared for it I don't mind walking in the rain. When I was a youngster we spent our holidays in North Wales or in The Lake District. Our annual holiday were always in August (school holidays and Dad's holidays) which was the busiest month for those areas. However, August was also the wettest summer month in North Wales and The Lake District.

The family's big love was walking up hills and mountains. Bearing in mind that we had waterproofs which were well behind the modern day standards of breathable, overnight drying materials, we often started out with waterproofs not much drier than we had arrived home the previous evening. 

We decided that it was such an inevitability that there was no use moaning about it so we simply got on with it and decided whether we were going to be Lesser Wetted Hikers or Greater Wetted Hikers that day.

Even today I am very happy to go out for my walk however wet it is. But then I have superb waterproof gear and by the time I arrive at The Woodlands for my morning coffee after my morning walk and have hung up my waterproofs I'm as happy as Larry. A far cry from my Lake District days.

I'm not, however a pluviophile. Today started out dry. The afternoon was dry. I went to a funeral at midday. On Lewis the coffin is carried by the mourners in turn for as long as it takes for every mourner to have a 'lift'. (A good Lewis tradition worthy of a post perhaps). I was wearing a Crombie (heavy wool overcoat). I was wearing black leather town shoes. During the half hour that it took to carry the coffin the heavens opened. We got wet. There is nothing heavier nor more uncomfortable than a soaking Crombie and wet town shoes.

39 comments:

  1. Oilskins and wellies would do the trick.

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    1. Adrian, yellow oilskin and wellies are great for working and for keeping in the car for accidents etc. They are not so comfortable for a 10 mile hike around a lake or up a mountain.

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  2. Pluviophile (should that be pluvia (L.) meaning rain?): A lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. Antonym: Ombrophobe.

    That's me! I love the rain. I love the sound of it on my roof. I don't own either a raincoat or an umbrella, and haven't done so for many, many years.

    If I get wet...I get wet. And in summer here it is a relief to be caught in the cooling rain. To be honest...if or when I'm ever caught out in a sudden shower I'm never far from shelter. And if I am caught, I never run for cover... I just walk a little faster.

    In my opinion...(I could be wrong...I so often am) you get just as wet running as walking fast to get under cover....if not wetter by running. I think the force of running in the rain causes one to get wetter...and slip!

    Don't try to understand my mindset, Graham...don't venture where experts are scared too scared venture! :)

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    1. Lee, I can see your point about loving rain. I think that to some extent we all love rain. It's a matter of degree and what we want to do when it's raining. I don't mind walking in the rain although I'd far rather walk in the dry. That may have a lot to do with the fact that on Lewis we probably have rain on average 12 days each month (24 days a month in winter months). It's also much colder than with you. Our average maximum summer temperature is about 16ºC.

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  3. Pluviophile - that's me too. Might have something to do with living on the driest continent! Just love a rainy day ...but not the humidity that comes with it in Summer as we are having now.

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    1. I'm with you, Helsie. The humidity here again today is horrendous! It's so debilitating....so draining.

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    2. Helsie, I think my comment on Lee's comment also answers your point.

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  4. I used to like being out in the rain but not anymore.

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    1. Red, it depends what I'm doing: mending the roof and gardening are definitely dry jobs!

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  5. Wet clothes are so uncomfortable - is that why we are so fanatical about avoiding rain which is, after all, only water? I've only been really truly drenched twice in my life, to the extent where it was almost impossible to dry off afterwards, but both times the folk involved treated it as a huge joke. A hot shower and fresh clothes and a steaming hot mug of soup, and we were right as rain again (pun intended LOL).

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    1. Margaret, I think you are right. Most of us don't mind the rain if we have the right clothes on. Having said that there are a lot of things which are unpleasant in the rain even with waterproof clothing.

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  6. I think I read once that the umbrella was invented as a sunshade and humankind basically just had to put up with getting wet when it rained. It would stand to reason that the much later invention of waterproofing material implies that we are meant to be comfortable being drenched. For myself, the drowned rat effect is only ever by accident, not design!

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    1. Pipistrello, umbrellas are a no no in most of Northern Scotland because it's usually too windy.

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  7. 'Ombrophobe' sounds more like a lover of shade to me. I too have some pretty good wet weather wear, a long plastic coat with built-in hood. Nothing gets through that.

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    1. Cro, the coat is great for shortish walks but hiking up a mountain in plastic is horrible. By the way 'Ombrophobe' is from ombros the Greek for rain.

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    2. I'd imagined it was from Ombre; French for shade.

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    3. Cro, I've not got much knowledge of the origins of the French language but could 'Ombre' also have a Greek origin? I know French is a Latin language but my knowledge on the subject is otherwise nil.

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  8. I don't mind a bit of rain when I am dressed for it, but I hate having to take an umbrella as it limits my sight and occupies one hand (sometimes both, when it is windy). Getting rain on my glasses limits my sight, too, so...
    But I really like being at home when it rains, especially in bed at night, when I hear the sound the rain makes outside. It is comforting to know our gardens, fields and woodlands get some much-needed water, and to feel cosy, safe, warm and snug in my own bed.

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    1. Meike, I, too, like the sound of rain on the windows (rather deadened by modern double glazing). I always wear a brimmed hat so, unless the wind is driving the rain horizontally, I tend to keep my glasses reasonably rain-free.

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  9. I have no problem with rain. I hate umbrellas and never use one. Like Librarian I like both hands free. I have waterproof hats and a good water repellent jacket for winter. In summer rain my cotton hats are fine and soon dry out.

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    1. Rachel, it's always satisfying when one has solved a problem to one's satisfaction.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. A lot of people like making a lot of hot air about being wet, same as they do about many things in life. When I was working I got wet through one morning on the walk from the railway station to my office - a 30 minute walk in torrential Summer rain. I called into Primark and bought a new outfit and changed before I sat at my desk, not a word said to anybody. Of the things I purchased, the most important were the shoes as sitting in wet shoes all day was not going to be any good.

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  10. I thought that Crombie was just north of Liverpool. Isn't that where Antony Gormley arranged his iron men - on Crombie beach? As for being "as happy as Larry" - the phrase is connected with a boxer called Larry Foley. In the 1890s, before boxing was fully legalised, he won the biggest purse ever offered - of about $150,000 dollars. A newspaper article in New Zealand had the headline “Happy As Larry” and the phrase stuck.

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    1. YP, every day is a school day. I'd never thought of the origin of 'Happy as Larry'. Thank you. I definitely wasn't wearing a beach. It did, however, come from Liverpool: George Henry Lee and Co to be precise. Bought when I was about 20 and still in better shape than Mr Gormley's figures on Crosby Beach.

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  11. I remember getting soaked in a rainstorm when, among other things, I was wearing a pair of wool trousers. The trousers subsequently 'grew' about six inches in length which did nothing for my walking ability. Sadly, the trousers never recovered and I never grew taller, so they were donated to charity.

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    1. Mary, I'm so sorry to laugh but the spectacle you paint is just so funny you couldn't possibly make it up. If it's any comfort I one went to a funeral in my full office suits and my Crombie overcoat and it poured and poured as we walked the coffin to the grave. I was absolutely soaked to the skin. The Crombie and the suit recovered but the salt in the soles of my town shoes migrated into the uppers and they had to be thrown out. The worst problem was the sheer weight of the sodden clothing and the fact that I had to drive about 20 miles home.

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  12. I am a fair weather walker. No rain for me thanks. I'll just stay here in front of the fire with a mug of coffee.

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    1. JayCee, who can blame you. It's evening now, this is my last comment and I'm going to sit in front of the fire with a splendid Armagnac. Night night.

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  13. Sympathies.

    As for rain, one of my joyous discoveries is how the heavy rain funnels between eyebrows to pour off my nose like a gargoyle.

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  14. I do not like getting wet in the rain. Lily, however, would happily stay out in it all day.
    The wettest I've ever been from walking in the rain was one morning in the Borrowdale valley, when the roads were so bad,I only just managed to get the car back to Keswick. I'm definitely a fairweather walker these days.

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    1. Jules, if I only walked in the dry here then I would hardly ever walk. What I don't like, I confess, is waking in the rain with a gale blowing into my face. That's the pits.

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  15. My sympathies regarding the funeral. A half hour carrying a coffin sounds heavy enough even without rain. (I kind of get images in my head from Peter May's Coffin Road...) I'm still sort of grateful that my parents both died in summer and it did not rain at their funerals. It made things a bit easier to bear at the time, and still in my memories (even if it also added a tinge of sorrow to that time of year).

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    1. Monica, Fortunately there were a lot of people helping to carry the coffin (several hundred anyway) so none of us had to actually carry the coffin for more that 10 paces (with 8 people) at any one time. However you don't leave the lift until the coffin is in the hearse.

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  16. Hi Graham, If it were to rain here right now I could well be tempted to go for a walk in it. It's awfully dry. I don't mind getting wet when the weather is warm but being cold and wet are quite different - not for me! After so many years of getting wet when working out and about on the farm I decided getting wet was not something that should happen in my leisure time and refused to watch rugby from the sideline in the rain. My kids still remember this declaration! But I've never wavered, I still will not do it!

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    1. Pauline, warm here is anything 16 ºC and over which is rather different from New Zealand Warm. I suppose when I was a linesman in my youth I would have got wet to the skin plenty of times but not these days. I'm happy enough if I've got my waterproofs on and I'm not walking into a gale.

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  17. I adore the rain. Unfortunately the last year has been quite dry for us, we are in the middle of a drought, no rain since last November and none forecast for the next week. I bought some gumboots last year but haven't had a chance to wear them. As for funerals I haven't been to one in about 2 years but always a sad occasion although people here seem to use it as a chance to celebrate the person's life which is nice.

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    1. Amy, I used to have a saying up on my wall "Happiness is dancing naked in the warm rain" with the sureness and certainty that it was something I would never be likely to have the opportunity to do in Scotland.

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