rainThis year’s weather is getting everybody down. It’s cold. It’s wet. Spring was late and never really sprung and it looks as though we won’t be able to count on a good summer either (something to do with the ocean currents and the winds, someone said). So this morning, as we set off for an in-law’s eightieth birthday party in the Ardennes, we were thrilled to see blue skies and, yes, the sun shining. It was perfect timing for the party. But we had thought too soon. On the other side of the Meuse at Namur the weather closed in, and by the time we got to the Famennes it was raining. Worse, the rain got heavier and heavier. It was a disaster, or so we thought, especially since the caterer was roasting a suckling pig on an outdoors barbecue. In the end, contrary to expectations, it simply didn’t matter. Spirits were so good and the occasion was so happy that the damp weather proved to be an irrelevance. Tents and shelters were improvised. Umbrellas produced, coats worn. Evelyn Waugh once explained that the easiest way to infuse a scene with sadness was to make it rain. Well, we weren’t Singing in the Rain, but our spirits were certainly not dampened. On the basis of today’s example, by-the-way, eighty is definitely the new seventy!