Being in a queue isn’t an issue for me anymore.
Having a smart phone with 4g means that I have access to all sorts of information (usually Facebook) and can keep myself not only occupied and entertained until it’s my turn to be served.
I will occasionally chat about the weather if someone brings the subject up. Usually it’s because of concern for the sales staff that has to endure a cold icy draft from the exit doors of the supermarket throughout their shift (why don’t shop designers put checkouts in warmer places? No need to answer that as I know really)
Talk about the Weather
I do find myself coming out with a few old wives tales to other people in the line about the state of the weather, most of these ‘passed down the generations’ old sayings are pretty accurate and come from a time when looking up at the sky was the only way of seeing what nature was going to do next.
"In the morning mountains, in the afternoon fountains" I’ll chirp to the person behind me with a trolley load of food. I happen to know the meaning for this one, although I rarely have to explain as it’s usually greeted with a nod and a smile, although I’ll tell you. - The phrase comes from when clouds building through the morning are often followed by thunderstorms in the afternoon. If atmospheric conditions are just right, clouds will rapidly grow into towering cauliflower-like mountains. By the afternoon, the clouds will have reached the dizzy heights of the top of the atmosphere, resulting in rain and lightning below. Now you know and can pass on the phrase.
There are a few more I can quote too, which also make me sound like I have been dropped into the shop from medieval times to entertain shoppers.
"If a circle forms 'round the moon, 'twill rain or snow soon" I’ll say smiling at a confused looking stranger. This saying comes about because of a layer of ice crystals in the night sky that can create an optical phenomenon called a ‘lunar corona’ - a circle of colours surrounding the moon. Hence, the idea that a weather front is approaching and rain is on the way.
"When the wind is out of the east, tis neither good for man nor beast" I reply when someone comments on the wind coming through the supermarket door, again sounding like I should be in a period drama.
Rain before seven, fine by eleven, Cold night stars bright, are others which although come from a time before mobile internet and the meteorological office are still quite accurate although I wouldn’t hang my washing up just to be safe if it rains before seven as that one in particular can be quite unreliable
The saying is most reliable when weather systems predominantly come from the west as they do in Inishowen. "Red sky at night, shepherds delight" can often be proven true, since red sky at night means fair weather is generally headed towards us.
A red sky appears when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by high pressure. This scatters blue light and leaving only red light to give the sky its notable appearance.
A red sky at sunset means high pressure is moving in from the west so therefore the next day will usually be dry and pleasant. "Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning" means a red sky appears due to the high pressure weather system having already moved east so the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low pressure system.
I have tried to explain this to people in the checkout queue but by the time I have finished they have pushed the trolley to the car, loaded up the boot and driven off, leaving me standing alone, mid-sentence in the car park.
Still at least it’s not raining and even if it was it wouldn’t last long as "Three days rain will empty any sky"
If I am in a really slow queue and have someone interested about old weather sayings I’ll drop out a lesser known one “Mackerel sky and mare's tails make tall ships carry low sails” I say with theatrical projection.
Like the person driving away in their car, they’ve usually lost interest by this time so I resort back to staring at my phone screen to check the weather.