Well, I am English so of course, I’m gonna talk about the weather. It’s an English past time. And having moved to Texas, we’ve been given oh so much more to talk about with regards to that topic.
As I type a storm is raging outside. We’ve had approximately 7 inches of rain fall over night. They’re saying it should end by 9.30am but it’s been going strong since 3am (well that’s what time it woke me). It’s been at times, like a horror movie storm: the kind of crashing thunder where when the lightning flashes, you see a once hidden murderer poised with his axe lit up ready to strike on the over excitable teenagers who were just out to carry on the prom night party fun. House shaking thunder. It rages for a while then quietens. Then suddenly the whole house is illuminated again and the accompanying roar reminds us this storm is not done yet.
We frequently still get asked how we like Houston. People hear our accents and get excited. It happens at least once a week (erm, well maybe once a month since we’ve not been going out thanks to Covid) but whenever we meet new people they ask. The answer that feels the most truthful is we love it here but the weather always seems to be trying to kill us.
It doesn’t just rain, the clouds seem to explode with cascades of water which seem to be compelled to slam into the earth with an unseen, unbreakable magnetic force. The windscreen wipers on their highest speed cannot deal with the deluge so driving becomes a white knuckle ride. So many times I have tried to turn my wipers on harder but they’re already maxed out. Then, you turn a corner and suddenly the rain has stopped. Just gone! Often it never even started there. The streets can be almost flooding 10ft ago but now my wipers are flailing their little arms left and right all over my now dry windscreen with a squeaky scream each time almost like they’re calling out in exhaustion “please let me stop!” The road’s dry and the sun’s shining. The first time I experienced this I remember feeling a little panicked as 100ft away my vision seemed blurry. I was scared I was ill but as that 100ft decreased I realised I was about to enter thru an invisible curtain, thru to torrential rain and the blurriness I’d imagined was just due to the unrelenting downpour that was taking place further up the street. I’m not crazy, I know rainclouds have to have an end somewhere but I’ve never known them to be so linear. Dry. Wet. No inbetween.
I so miss drizzle. I miss those cold November evenings coming home from work when the street lamps, the traffic lights and car headlights and their indicators reflect onto the damp roads and pavements. When you squish your eyes up to make things seem blurry so they’re almost hinting at being twinkly Christmas lights (obviously when you’re not driving). The sound of the swooshing the buses and vans make as they drive along the wet but not flooding roads. Obviously, I think absence makes the heart grow fonder and this maybe gives my memories a rose tinted sheen as I also remember shivering my a** off as I stood double checking the bus timetable, looking at my watch and cursing the typically delinquent bus.
Thankfully here, I don’t have to rely on buses. The thought of waiting at a bus stop fills me with dread and more thoughts of dying. This time from the heat and humidity. Davy Crockett apparently said “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas” (although some reckon he said “Y’all can go…” which sounds much more likely). He wasn’t wrong. Summer in Texas is unbelievably hot and uncomfortable. Stepping outside sometimes feels like that overbearing draught you get when you open a hot oven except you have to step into it instead of just shutting the door and waiting a while longer on your roast potatoes!
Today it’s 91°f (32°C) with the humidity making it feel like 103°f (39°C)! It’s not even the height of summer yet-it’s going to get hotter! Five minutes outside and the sweat starts to trickle stickly down your back. Two or three showers a day are common. When we first arrived (in October), we couldn’t understand why everything was drive thru. Drive thru banks, Drive thru pharmacies, Drive thru donut shops. However, by the following May we had begun to understand. Literally just walking across the car park to the store is an actual effort. Shade is a slight and infrequent blessing but with the humidity, unlike in the UK, it doesn’t actually make much difference heatwise surprisingly. You still feel like you’re melting. For me, swimming is about the only activity that is enjoyable outside here but even then in the summer months, it feels like a warm bath. If the AC even begins to sound troubled, my anxiety increases tenfold. In England, the cry was always “Shut that door! You’re letting the heat out!” Here it’s a similar cry but instead you’re being screamed at because you’re letting the heat in! The relief from walking out of the heat into the blessed joy of AC is always welcomed with more excitement than I ever felt changing temperatures would warrant.
My favourite season here is autumn without a shadow of a doubt. October brings plentiful sunshine and no humidity. Rich has become a bit of a grill master here and it’s always perfect weather for grilling and margaritas. I just love it. Bike riding and walks are possible to enjoy although with my cycling history, I still stay clear of bikes!
The other saying they’re fond of around these parts is if you don’t know what the weather is going to be, wait an hour and it’ll change. (This is more for winter, spring and autumn. Summer is either hot, hot or hotter). I’ve sent the kids to school in jumpers, coats, hats and gloves and they’ve come home having left them all at school as the weather changed and it was too warm for a jumper, let alone a coat with a cute bobble hat!
But Texas never disappoints where weather is concerned. Yep, I think I could do without the hurricanes and tropical storms. The frequent trips to the closet in spring time as I can’t ignore the tornado warnings despite only ever seeing a spout on a photo a couple of miles from here. The oppressive heat. The three day winter…we had snow here once-I woke the kids up at 5am to play in it which was a good decision as it was gone by 9.30am! Rich has even had work cancelled because it was a bit frosty and they’re just not set up for that kind of silliness. If you’ve seen some of the overpasses here, it makes far more sense…you’d not want to try one of them in icy conditions! But it certainly adds to the adventure of living here. Texas weather doesn’t disappoint a secret weather enthusiast even if it does terrify her at times. There’s always something in the air here!
Wow! I’m definitely English with all that weather waffle. Thanks for bearing with me if you did! It took me a couple of days-thats why the weather changed halfway thru! And I didn’t even get onto clouds which are totally epic here 😉!!