On four different occasions during the seven-minute walk from the Dart to the office today I had to step over the remains of a dead umbrella, lying sprawled on the footpath like a drunken daddy-long-legs in a kilt.
Each of them had obviously belonged to an owner who didn’t know how to use an umbrella in bad weather, which was unfortunate since it is during bad weather that umbrellas are supposed to find their true purpose in life.
The umbrella does have a cousin in the brollus putupus family which thrives best in a sunnier climate. This is the parasol, which is not indiginous to these shores. The parasol’s natural habitat is the deep south of the US, where it is utilised by ladies who say things like “oh, Ashleh”, and whose house gets burned to the ground by “those damned Yankehs”.
(I’ve just read the opening sentence again. It is clear that it’s the umbrella and not me that’s sprawled on the path, isn’t it?)
As with any pet-owners, people who buy umbrellas should learn some of the basic rules about caring for them before adopting one. Fortunately, there is only one basic rule – an umbrella likes to face into the wind. Facing the other way causes the wind to rush up the brolly’s skirt, and they will be quick to tell you that this is not nearly as much fun as Marilyn Monroe made it look in The Seven Year Itch (you just know I’m going to show the picture, don’t you?). Such an event turns the umbrella quickly into a wind-bag, and this can be fatal to umbrellas, though not apparently to politicians (or indeed, certain part-metal bloggers).
One of the saddest things was observing how the umbrellas, after many, well, minutes of devoted service, had simply been left on the street by their owners, who hadn’t even had the decency to give them a decent burial in a nearby litter-bin.
Please remember – an umbrella is for life, not just for drizzle.