|A sign in Baker Street on a dry day in 2012|
It’s raining here in Cincinnati. It also rained yesterday, and it will rain tomorrow. It rained last week and will rain next week. Oddly, this reminds me of London.
Our last visit there, in 2012, was just after the rainiest English spring in decades. I even worked the soggy weather into my London-based novel set in that year, The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore. That is only natural. Watson tells us in “The Problem of Thor Bridge” that it was after “stepping back into his own house to get his umbrella” that Phillimore “was never more seen in this world.” Surely it must have been raining!
But rain isn’t the weather one usually thinks of in conjunction with Sherlock Holmes’s London. Fog is more likely to jump to mind, as in this evocative description from “The Adventure of the Copper Beaches:”
“It was a cold morning of the early spring, and we sat after breakfast on either side of a cheery fire in the old room at Baker Street. A thick fog rolled down between the lines of dun-coloured houses, and the opposing windows loomed like dark, shapeless blurs through the heavy yellow wreaths.”
This is the London that Vincent Starrett evokes so well in his poem “1895.”
But Holmes and Watson also knew what rain was. They got a heavy mood-setting dose of it at the beginning of “The Five Orange Pips:”
“All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney.”
Nobody does weather better than Watson!
I like the rain, but I hope it takes a break for the All-Star Game in our city next week.