The Laughing Toastmaster: The Flippin’ Forecast

What’s another name for the Four Seasons? A day in the UK!

Ha, ha!  I have to laugh! Until a sunny spring day turns to winter in Siberia. Then it’s not so funny.

Not when I’m wearing a cotton dress and get to Toastmasters feeling like I’ve just trekked through the Himalayas. Then it’s not funny at all. I check my toes for frostbite.

Weather in the UK is very unpredictable. Experts say it’s due to, ‘Cold polar air from the north and warmer air from the Tropics pushing against each other’.

Uh oh, that sounds evil. Sounds like my life. One day I’ll be going through a warm, sunny patch of life, when all of a sudden, ‘CRACK! BOOM!’ and it’s dark clouds and stormy times ahead. No way to see that coming.

At least with the weather, we have the forecast:

6 o’clock News & Weather: ‘Sunshine and showers, chance of mist, possible fog.’  Translation: Haven’t a clue.

8 o’clock News & Weather: ‘Heavy rains, chance of hail or snow, possible spring like day.’ Still don’t have a clue.

10 o’clock News & Weather: ‘Sunshine and showers, chance of hail, sleet and any other type of precipitation known to mankind. Possible meteorite.’ Let’s cover our backs.

Confused, I search the internet, ‘Possible clear skies for many, turning increasingly cloudy across some areas. Chance of rain in the North’.

Possible? Chance? What happened to good old-fashioned percentages? As in ‘80% chance of rain?’ Am I part of the many? Do I live in some areas? Is Northampton the North?

Bewildered, I ask THE LOCALS.  They all say the same thing ‘The weather forecast? Oh, they never get it right’.

Wait a minute … did you say never? Never as in … ever? Why not?

What kind of professional never gets it right? Imagine a judge that ‘never gets the verdict right’, or a surgeon, ‘fails those operations every time’.

I worked in the IT industry, got it wrong ONE time and was fired quicker than you can say ‘we’ll weather the weather whatever the weather’.

What’s going on? Why are these people getting away with it? Come annual reviews, what are their managers telling them? ‘Don’t worry, the important thing is you tried’?

Call me naïve but surely in the land that gave birth to Alan Turning (World War II code decipherer and father of computer science) breaking the weather code should be a breeze?

Sensing my despair, a wise Toastmaster informs me of a FORECAST that is a rock among forecast. A timeless British institution, loved and revered around the world for its smooth sounding rhythm, clarity of words and knowledge.

I tune in with joyful anticipation:


‘Viking North Utsire South Utsire Southeast 4 or 5 increasing or 7 veering south 4 or 5 later, occasional, losing identity, good with fog patches becoming moderate or poor.’

Now that’s flippin’ phenomenal, but gets us nowhere in this forecast fumble!

What to do? Follow the forecast and risk frostbite? Rely on my neighbour’s arthritis acting up for possible rain? Dog’s barking for a fast-approaching blizzard? Postmen wearing shorts for hot weather? Scratch the last one, British postmen wear shorts in the dead of winter.

More importantly, what to do about life? Because if we can’t even work out the weather, what are the chances of forecasting when life will hit us with dark, devastating storms? As in, breakups, failed promotions, not even placing in that speech contest.

That’s where Toastmasters comes in, because our organization provides the knowledge and resilience to be able to get through the toughest of times. Let’s face it, if you can stand in front of a group of people and give a speech, you can face life’s harshest hurricanes.

A club member once said that Toastmaster comes with a protective umbrella that helps you through life. I disagree. I think it gives you the skills needed to cast that umbrella aside and face life’s challenges with the courage and resilience of our Toastmaster spirit.

Whether life be fine, Or whether life be not,

Whether life be cold, Or whether life be hot,

We’ll weather life’s weather, Whatever the weather,

Cause we’re Toastmasters, are we not?

Sonia Aste is an engineer, writer and comedian. She’s a Toastmaster and member at Riverside Communicators Club.
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