Big Ben in a rainy London

London Calling

It’s raining in London. What a surprise. Yes, but it’s been raining for a long time, practically the whole summer in fact. All over England, rivers and streams are raging, villages are flooded, fields lie under water. It’s the wettest summer on record. Apparently the jet stream is too far south and has been for some time. I read a prediction today that said sometime next week the jet stream was going to move northwards, back to where it’s supposed to be, just in time for the Olympics. But then again, maybe it won’t. In fact, they are now saying that the biggest threat to the security of the Games (other than the fact they didn’t manage to hire enough guards to police the events) will be the soggy English weather.

Are the Americans’ Ralph Lauren Chinese-made uniforms going to go limp marching into the opening ceremony? Are the horses of the equestrian teams going to get stuck in the mud and end up whinnying helplessly at each other? Are the sailors going to be able to see through all that mist and the rain? No one knows.

But I’m not worrying about any of that. I’m worrying about that glorious summer frock I have ready for the wedding we’re attending in England on Friday, the frock I was going to wear with a pair of golden open-toed sandals and a little feathered fascinator drooping fetchingly down over one eye. How could the weather do this to me? Am I going to have to ditch the sandals for some iron-clad four inch pumps that will lift me so high above the puddles my ankles won’t get splashed? Am I going to have to substitute the fetching little feathered concoction for a hat with a brim so wide that my face won’t possibly get sprayed, or seen? Am I going to have to cover up my delicate summer party dress with a drab London Fog raincoat? These are my concerns. They are, I am convinced, of Olympian proportions.

The raincoat question is particularly troublesome. I marched grimly through the local mall this morning, only to be told by a string of sympathetic but bemused salesgirls that there are no raincoats to be had in this season. Why in heavens name was I looking for one? And indeed, it hasn’t rained very much here in the States this summer, or spring, or even winter. We are in the middle of a drought. All the rain we need is over there in England.

“It’s raining in London,” I told them.

They shrugged and told me to have a great day.

So no elegant London Fog to cover up my delicate summer cocktail frock. I’ll have to wear my husband’s. And what ‘s he going to wear?

But perhaps I am focusing too much on myself. Consider the poor bride and groom. The evening before the wedding, we are attending their Serenata, a traditional Italian event at which the groom has to serenade his soon-to-be wife in front of the assembled wedding guests. It’s been planned as a garden party. Are we all going to stand outside under a dripping canopy eating damp antipasto as we watch the groom kneel in the mud, strum his streaming strings and croon to his sodden sweetheart? And then, on the day of the ceremony, are we, these same damp guests, going to ride together from the hotel to the church in an open-topped bus? Does the hotel have a hundred umbrellas to loan us for that? What if they only have fifty? Perhaps I should call ahead and reserve?

But again, I think I am focusing too much on myself. Perhaps the bride and groom just want to get married, no matter the weather. Perhaps they will be pleased to see us no matter our damp and bedraggled state. And maybe it doesn’t matter so much if my feet get a little wet.

But the fascinator, I draw the line there. I’ll kill to keep that dry. So I will be e-mailing the hotel this afternoon asking for an early check-in and a reserved umbrella, please. And I’ll be monitoring the weather channel to see if on Friday there just might be a break in the clouds. After all, the rain held off for the royals, didn’t it? Might it not do the same for a pair of equally worthy commoners?