Gonna Get Me A Beetle

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, or even just plain old, I really miss the days when weather forecasters stood in front of real display boards and slapped not-very-sticky cloud/sun/rain symbols on them as an aid to informing us about their meteorological predictions.

I don’t dislike the technological advances since then, in fact I think the BBC’s current weather graphics are brilliant, but I just can’t take in all the information that is packed into a two minute forecast. I watch, listen, pay attention and by the end of it all discover that I have no idea what I have just been told. I think those not-so-sticky symbols represented the limit at which I can take in information.

It all used to be so simple:
Mr TV Weatherman: Look at this map. You are here. (Mr TV Weatherman sticks an ominous cloud symbol on top of my house at this point.) You are under this cloud. You will get wet tomorrow.
Me: Thank you Mr Weatherman. Message received and understood. *Packs raincoat.*

Today Mr TLC was cooking tea (he was cooking, so he got to name the meal!) and I was watching the news when the weather came on. Since Mr TLC is back to cycling in a big way he wants to know what the skies have in store for him on his planned excursion tomorrow. He calls out and asks me to check the forecast for Sheffield.

I brace myself to cope with the expected influx of information. The-weather-forecaster-appears-and-she-is-talking-veryveryfastindeed-and-I’m-really-concentrating-here-so-I-don’t-miss-a-thing.

The real reason why I never have a clue what the weather forecast is soon becomes apparent.
1. We look at some viewers’ photos which-the-lovely-weather-presenter-describes-for-us-attopspeed.
2. We hit maximum narrative velocity as she tells us what the weather was like this morning. Well yes, but I know that already – I looked out of the window and saw it.
3. Next up is a description of the weather earlier this afternoon. Still not too useful, I saw that through the window as well.
4. Unbelievably the presenter than feels the need to offer a reasonably detailed althoughveryhighspeed description of what the weather is doing now. Of course, I already know what the weather is like right now – the view through window is still providing accurate, real-time weather information. We are now more than halfway through the allotted time for ‘The Weather’ and despite being bombarded with pictures, graphics and narrative, I haven’t been told anything useful at all.
5. Suddenly we have jumped to 4:00am tomorrow morning. Whilst I am relieved that we may have reached the stage where some actual forecasting occurs, frankly I don’t care what the weather is going to be like at 4:00am, a time when I intend to be sound asleep in my bed.
6. Whoah! Stop right there! We went from 4:00am Friday to Saturday afternoon. What about the rest of Friday? And Saturday morning? Will Mr TLC need suncream or galoshes?
7. Now she’s talking about the weather that we may, or may not, experience days and days from now. Never mind that – just tell me about tomorrow.
8. Now she’s finished. What about Friday? Where was it?

I’ve concentrated on absolutely everything, my short-term memory has gone into overdrive and I feel like my brain is full, but I still have no idea what the forecast is for tomorrow, other than at 4:00am, when Mr TLC is unlikely to be cycling anywhere. I suppose that’s why it’s just called ‘The Weather’ now, rather than ‘The Weather Forecast.’ Not much forecasting is going on.

A return to traditional methods of predicting the weather can be expected here at TLC Terrace. We will employ proven methods such as looking out of the window and muttering “Looks like rain,” or “Turned out nice today, hasn’t it?”

Of course longer range forecasts could prove more challenging. Beetle in a match box, that’s what I need.

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