So much for summer — it's all about storms

By Stephen Oliver

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wind

Oliver: British are optimistic
Oliver: British are optimistic
Let's make the most of the opportunities the storm washes up, says Marston's Beer Company managing director Stephen Oliver.

The sun has shone just recently and at last we've been enjoying a summer.

Beer gardens are busy and the telephones in customer services buzz with extra orders.

Of course, just in case we start to believe the weather might be getting back into the swing of things, the mother of all thunderstorms happens. You can feel when this is going to happen.

The air is sultry and oppressive, the skies go overcast and there's the distant rumble of hot air meeting a cold front. Lots of banging, crashing, flashing lights and spectacle. Then the deluge, with everyone running for cover, taking shelter.

And afterwards, the calm, the sense of earthy freshness, the air is clear and no longer crowding in on us, making us all feel hot and bothered.

A new beginning, with the dust of summer heat washed away. A sense of relief at the storm having passed over; now we can get back to what we were doing.

However, there's no doubt that it is — metaphorically — raining pretty damn hard at the moment for the trade and there is probably a lot more furious weather to come.

Those trees that are weak and not robust will be blown over. But the ones with sound roots will be tested, survive and go on to be stronger in the aftermath. There will be debris all over the streets but that will be cleaned up quickly. People will learn to adapt to changed surroundings.

The foul weather will stop and the skies will clear again, bringing that freshness and sense of renewal.

Some commentators have talked about the "perfect storm" affecting the British economy, and the pub and brewing trade in particular. It's pretty clear that many other sectors are deep in very choppy waters, too, such as housebuilders, banks and retail — so there are other boats battling out at sea.

In the real "perfect storm", which happened off the coast of Nova Scotia and claimed 12 lives, the key to survival was tenacity, skill and determination. A certain amount of luck helped, too. But the ones who were brave enough to sail into the wind came through it, despite the 100-foot waves.

One of the endearing traits of the British is our sense of optimism. We like a bit of rain because "it's good for the garden". So, let's make the most of the opportunities the storm washes up.

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