An Alphabet Of Things I Like: U


I didn’t own an umbrella until 2001. Once I started to travel by bus to work, instead of driving, I soon realised I was going to get drenched waiting at bus stops. The small ‘automatic’ umbrellas didn’t appeal, as they did little more than cover your head. Huge Golfing umbrellas had become very popular, but on crowded London streets, they made getting around quite hard because of the enormous canopy when open.

I decided I needed a ‘traditional’ umbrella. One with a curved wooden handle, manual operation, and the ability to be rolled very tight when not in use.

Given that strong winds often accompany rain, a ‘windproof’ model was also desirable, as you could see many people with umbrellas that had easily blown inside out. So I paid a fair bit of money for one that would work properly, and might last for a long time too. Since that purchase, I wouldn’t be without one now.
(This is the same one I own)

I still have it, almost twenty years later. It has a tiny hole at the edge of the material, and one of the windproofing struts is a little bent.

But it still serves me well, when out walking with Ollie.

53 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of Things I Like: U

  1. I’ve always wondered about getting a windproof one. I have had many broken or shred to pieces by the wind. I am a fan of raincoats, but they don’t work very well if you have to carry things with you, and depending on the wind you might end up with a pretty wet face anyway. It’s good to know you recommend them. It doesn’t rain that much here, but it has its moments…
    I like them as objects, but apart from problems with the wind, I’ve lost quite a few. I took to buying very colourful ones, in the hope that I’d catch sight of them on the floor or the back of a chair and remember them, with somewhat mixed results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only ever lost one. It was one of the very small automatic ones, that someone gave me as a gift when I didn’t really have much use for an umbrella. I left it in the Hayward Gallery in London, and by the time I realised, I couldn’t be bothered to go back and see if it had been handed in.
      The ‘windproof’ model from John Lewis has lived up to its claim.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. It rained all the time in Oregon, but umbrellas were scarce. We did use a lot of Gore-Tex and hoods. Somehow using an umbrella implied that you were “weak!” Not sure how that got into the culture, but it seemed to have done so.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so much of an old woman now that I asked for a really good umbrella for Christmas last year. Unfortunately Mr O keeps nicking it. I now also have a raincoat for the school run that is very unglamorous but trying to chase Little O and hold an umbrella is too much hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like umbrellas, but I dislike how easily they break. I presume I’m not buying high quality enough or it’s just too windy where I lived and used them. Forget it, in Northern Scotland. They always broke and turned inside out when the wind blew which was always…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Years ago, when I slipped off a plank during a late night rainstorm and fell into the Seine, I lost my umbrella (and my eyeglasses, too). I remember that lost umbrella well. Here in Las Vegas, I’m pretty sure I have an umbrella somewhere. But since we haven’t had measurable precipitation in 196 days, I’m not going to bother to go looking for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You did kind of a double take on the “U”: the word starting with a “u” and the picture of a “traditional” umbrella with its u-shaped handle. πŸ˜‰
    When I was still using the railway for travelling, after a while my umbrellas used to travel on without me! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We didnΒ΄t use umbrellas in Alberta as it seldom rained so bought one, especially for a trip to visit the in-laws in the UK. It was a beautiful May and didnΒ΄t rain once, except for the evening before we flew back. So my brother-in-law made me stand outside in the garden with my open umbrella while he took a picture. Just to show I used it once! Of course, when we moved to Vancouver we had a number of umbrellas, one in every car and handbag, and they were well used.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know if this is predominantly a Yorkshire vernacular, but my deceased ex-mother in law, a proud inhabitant of York, always used to refer to an umbrella as a ‘gamp’; I think Mrs. Gamp is a character in a Dickens story [pardon my ignorance! πŸ˜‰ ] but I don’t know if there was a connection between her & an umbrella in the story. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sarah Gamp is an elderly nurse in the book Martin Chuzzlewit. She is always drunk, and usually carries an umbrella. So it did indeed become known as a Gamp in the Victorian era, because of that connection. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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