Musings From A Rainy Isle

A personal reflection on what it means to be British

Allan Milne Lees
7 min readOct 24, 2020


Image credit: Rebloggy

The sky is gray again today and there is no flush of wind. The drizzle falls slowly, dampening everything with its drab persistence. Wet leaves blanket the trottoir, though of course no one trots in Britain: people waddle and slump along, barely distinguishable from their American counterparts whose worst traits the British seem so pathetically eager to mimic.

British food was always appalling: bland, stodgy, and unrelentingly unimaginative. But today there’s a McSlop on every High Street to ensure nutrient-free obesity and a Kentucky Fried Cancer just around the corner to ensure everyone can have their fair share of heart disease.

This is, apparently, “progress.”

Nearly every aspect of British life is small and second-rate. Nothing works properly but nobody will ever have the initiative to fix anything. The British are used to things not working properly. “It’s always been that way,” they say, with a kind of defiant pride. Why, after all, should anything work? The British have stumbled and blundered through hundreds of years of history (which they then deftly re-write in order to make it seem less shabby and awful) so why should anything change now?

Remember: these are the people who voted for Brexit because, well, it was such a very British thing to do.

British weather is a consequence of the Gulf Stream, a flow of warm water that keeps the nation from freezing over each winter and ensures the summers are humid even though they are rarely hot. It’s why one can wake at 4am in June and see a bright blue sky but by 9am it is once more cloudy and gray. Only just before last light will some hint of freedom from moisture return to taunt the upturned faces of those who wonder, in a very unBrexity sort of way, whether it would be in fact quite wonderful to have if even for just a few days the vibrant sunshine of the Mediterranean.

The British character is shaped by the dreary weather. British people are used to being damp, and used to things not working because the overall dreariness makes it too difficult to fix anything properly. British people are used to “making do” and complaining endlessly about trivial things but always concluding with a…



Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.