Thursday, 7 May 2009

Looking into the future

Also known as gazing into a crystal ball - or forecasting the weather!

The television in our house is regularly switched on at ten o'clock in the evening for the national news, which is followed by the regional news and then the regional weather forecast. I'm not convinced that our regional forecasters are particularly good at their job, but I watch them anyway - and get irritated when they talk of winds 'easing down' and use other phrases with superfluous words (drat it! I've forgotten the word - and it's on the tip of my tongue).

We have our own weather forecast system. It's just a little more sophisticated than a length of wet seaweed, but not much more. Some years ago we spent a week in New England in the hope of doing some autumn leaf peeping. (We also got in some whale watching off Boston.) We travelled across Massachusetts, up Vermont (including the obligatory stop at Tom and Jerry's), a brief side trip across the border, then back down through New Hampshire. We crossed into Maine for the outlets at Kittery (didn't think much of that!), then visited Strawberry Bank at Portsmouth, NH - a kind of open air museum.

It was here that we must have mislaid our normal cynical natures because we were talked into buying not just one but two articles called 'the woodsman's weather stick'. This, we were told, was something discovered by the local Indian tribes and which was guaranteed to forecast the weather. The stick is fixed to a vertical surface such as a wall, and if the weather is going to be fine, the tip points up. With rain in the offing, the stick points down.

So we brought these two sticks back, took one on to France, and fixed the other to the garage where we can see it from the kitchen window. And yes, the stick does bend up and down - sometimes, in fact, it bends at such an angle that I think it will snap! And yes, it does forecast the weather. The trouble is, it only forecasts about thirty minutes ahead - and I can forecast better than that just by looking towards the south-west!

3 comments:

Uncle Skip, said...

"(drat it! I've forgotten the word - and it's on the tip of my tongue)."When you think of it, let us know.

Brighton Pensioner said...

It's that word that means using two words where one will do. I keep thinking it's oxymoron, but of course it's not. Nor is it hyperbole. Don't worry - I'll get there in the end!

Uncle Skip, said...

The only thing I can think of is diarrhea of the mouth and I know that's not what you were thinking