As we're all too aware, sunny days in a London summer are like the city's bus service - you wait ages for one to come and then, not three, not two, but one does eventually come along. And then it rains again.
Of course, it can be frustrating to have picnic plans dashed by unpredictable weather, or a sports game with friends brought to an abrupt end by a sudden downpour. But instead of turning your head to the heavens in despair and getting a faceful of water in the process, how about turning your attention to some other activities while you wait for the rains to subside, for the clouds to pass, and for the sun to once again shine. Read on for a few ideas on how to cope with a rainy day in London:
Barbecue – grab the sausages, burgers, chicken drumsticks and veggies and chuck it all on the barbie (ie. under the grill). You could even try lightly burning a few things to fill the room with the smell of charred food, but not so much that it sets the smoke alarm off or causes the neighbours to call out the fire brigade. Wash the nosh down with a glass of Pimms or three and you'll soon forget it's bucketing down outside.
Meditate – the pitter-patter sound of rain on the window can be the perfect background sound for a spot of meditation. Or, if you can do it without flooding your home, open a window slightly to get the full sound of the rain coming down. Get comfortable, assume the lotus position and let the rain take you to a better place for a little while.
Explore – on one of those rare hot sunny days in the capital, you understandably won't want to spend it stuck inside a museum. But when the cats and dogs do start raining, there's no better time to spend a day exploring one (or more) of London's exceptional museums.
Sleep – it's tempting, isn't it? When you wake up and hear the rain coming down, suddenly the warm bed you're in feels like the best place in the world to be. So stay there - pull up the covers and wait for warmer weather to move in (hang on, that could take a while). Well, stay there for an hour or two more than you normally would, and sleep, doze, read a book, sing...
Organise – it may not be the most exciting thing in this list, but a rainy day is a great chance to sort your life out, you know, catch up on the things you've been putting off for months. Sort out the thousands of holiday snaps clogging up your hard drive, reply to some emails, tidy your place up, sort out your finances, make some goals - you get the idea.
Of course, you don't need to stay indoors. You could use the rain instead:
Swim – if you're outside in the rain, you're going to get wet either way, so why not head across to Hampstead Heath and have a dip in one of its ponds, maintained especially for swimmers since the 1800s. Of course, if it's stormy, with thunder and lightning flashing, do the sensible thing and stay indoors.
Dance – hey, why not? Jump out onto the patio, garden or balcony, choose some tracks that make you move and let yourself go. You have to try dancing in the rain at least once in your life. Jump in the shower straight after though, or else you might catch a nasty cold.
Photograph – inclement weather can be great for taking photos. While many hobby photographers simply stay indoors when it rains, waiting for better weather to come, others know that this is exactly the kind of weather that can help produce some killer shots. Reflections of the city lights in the puddles of water, for example, can work a treat, especially at night. Just be sure to keep your camera dry.