It was the one and only Groucho Marx who said “I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining.”
Apart from being asked “do you really all drink tea at five o’clock” or “can you explain the rules of cricket” and “is it true that all you English are unfriendly” the next question I always get asked is “does it always rain in London.” The answers to the first three are – yes, no chance and not really. The answer to the fourth one was a little harder.
Whether it’s the power of the media or the press, I don’t know, but London has this image of rain, constant rain. My mother-in-law still thinks that we have smog in the middle of London. But that's probably down to the amount of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie films she watches. For what is a good English drama without a murderer leaping from a foggy side street onto his next victim.
Also the wet weather seems to hate tennis! I can’t really remember a Wimbledon tournament without a few drops of the wet stuff. I mean why do you think they built a roof on the centre court, it certainly wasn’t to keep the sun out!
Although the one thing that you won’t see is many people cowering under an umbrella, at least the local Londoners. The same as you don’t see a local in Dubrovnik wearing rubber sandals on the beach...you get acclimatised to the pebbles and we to the rain. So yes, if you were to ask someone, well to be honest anyone, you’d get the reply that it rains more in London than Dubrovnik...I also wouldn’t argue with that.
However it seems that you’d be wrong, believe it or not. If anyone knows the weather in Dubrovnik then it’s the guys at Dubrovnik Storm Chasers. I had the fortune to interview them once and anyone who literally chases storms, as their name suggests, is either mad or loves what they are doing. So imagine my surprise when I read the headline “There is more rain in Dubrovnik on an annual basis than in London.” Were my eyes deceiving me! I read on...Dubrovnik is synonymous with sunny weather…London is synonymous with rain…tourists love the weather…London is a gloomy city. OK, there’s nothing new there, nothing we didn’t already know. And then a fact caught my eye, can that be true, listen if the Storm Chasers say it’s true then who am I to doubt them. This fact read, the annual rainfall in Dubrovnik is just over 1200mm whilst the average rainfall in London is a little under 600mm. Happy days! All those years of suffering the mocking and joking from friends and relatives in Dubrovnik that it rains every day in my hometown and in reality the opposite is the case.
Not only is the opposite true but there is twice as much rain here every year than in London. So if you are looking for a break from the Dubrovnik rain might I suggest a long weekend in dry London? If the constant patter of raindrops on your window here is getting you down, if trying to avoid the puddles or carrying an umbrella has so pulling your hair out in frustration then, again, may I suggest a short holiday in the capital of England to cheer you up.
Let’s be honest compared to Dubrovnik my hometown is like a desert. Oh, and if you are thinking of going to London you can leave your Dubrovnik umbrellas behind, you’ll just need a bottle of water to keep you hydrated and some sun cream and you’re ready. I read more of the article...maybe I should have stopped when I was leading. It continued...rain is rarer in Dubrovnik than in London but it is heavier in Dubrovnik. Ah, that’s not such good news.
What they were basically saying is that London has rain long and slow and in Dubrovnik it’s short and explosive. I read on, London has 1500 hours of sunshine a year while Dubrovnik has 2500 hours annually. Ah, whoops, so when I said you need sun cream in London I was exaggerating a little. A thousand hours of sunshine a year is quite a difference. The article concluded...Dubrovnik is sunnier and has more rain than London every year. A little confusing, however I can still use this to my advantage.
The statistics can be slightly bent to be on my side. “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital,” said the famous professor Aaron Levenstein. I’ll just use the part of the statistics that suit me...and that is there is twice as much rain in Dubrovnik than London every year, full stop. When I meet tourists from the UK moaning about the weather back home I’ll remind them of this fact. And when I’m teased by a local about “rainy England” I’ll again pull this fact from my sleeve.