Welcome to theWeather Club: Liz Bentley

Welcome to theWeather Club: Liz Bentley

Tue, 10/08/2010 - 09:05

theWeather Club's founder on a shared addiction

I’m not scared to admit it – I’m addicted to the weather. But it’s not just me. My family and friends talk about it constantly. I know this only too well, as I’m always the first person they blame when a forecast goes wrong.

It’s not just the people around me - talking about the weather is a major national pastime. It’s a constant on the television and in the papers. We complain about its unpredictability and inconveniences, but we also marvel at its beauty, its power, its occasional absurdity, its fragility in the face of human activity, and the deep and fundamental influence it has on us all.

I have always had an interest in the weather. Growing up on top of the Pennines, you couldn't really help it. One minute snow, the next sun, with a bit of rain and wind thrown in for good measure.

My mum always told the story of when I was a few months old. The date was 2nd July 1968. I was outside in my pram on what seemed a beautiful summer’s day when, very suddenly, an almighty storm developed, resulting in hailstones the size of golf balls thundering down into our garden. My mum rushed out to rescue me as I became buried under a thick layer of hail. This may well have been the day I became a weather addict.

Then there were all those winter mornings waking up to find snow so deep you needed to dig your way out of the house, which I loved. And the horizontal rain and gale force winds as I walked to school, meaning I arrived for class with my front half soaking and the rest of me bone dry. These I loved somewhat less, but they always left me wondering how and why.

My interest became an obsession during my teens. A career in meteorology was an obvious choice before I'd even left school. This passion has never left me. I still love seeing a covering of snow. I still get excited when I hear the thunder and see the lightning, dragging my family in front of the window to watch the weather at its angriest.

How boring it would be to live in a country where the weather was the same every day. I couldn’t cope. That would be torture for a meteorologist.

When you tell people you’re a meteorologist you soon realise everyone has an interest. They either ask you for a forecast or blame you for the poor weather. Sometimes they will tell you a weather anecdote of their own. Often they will admit to their own fascination as if it’s been a guilty secret for years.

With the arrival of The Weather Club it need be a guilty secret no longer. The club is a public membership organisation designed to feed the curiosity of people who appreciate the weather for all its manifold wonders and share my fascination with wind, rain and sunshine. It will allow us to come together and share our very British obsession with what is happening each day above our heads.

The foundation of The Weather Club has come about thanks to my work at The Royal Meteorological Society, whose mission it is to advance the understanding of weather and climate. A weather club with membership benefits for the general public just seemed a natural progression in a country with such deep-seated attachment to the subject.

So here we are. We’re all at the start of a journey, and it should be a fun one. We want it to be enjoyable as well as informative. It’s meant to be for everyone, and we want everyone to feel part of it. I sincerely hope you enjoy being part of The Weather Club as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.