When it rains I hum Vltava

When it came to the outdoor activities of my childhood, my mother and my gran were resolute followers of the MTFU philosophy (though they are both far too well brought up to put it in such crude terms!). Rain was never an adequate excuse to just sit home and feel sorry for ourselves, indeed rain meant wild mushrooms would grow in abundance, and, let's face it, what Slav could resist that? Our family's invariable response to rain was two-fold: there was the plastic rain coat, and the morale boosting Song.

The song went like this:

A cat crawls through a hole,
    A dog through a window (a dog through a window),
When it doesn't rain, we shall not get wet,
   (When it doesn't rain, we shall not get wet).

And when it rains
    We shall get wet (we shall get wet),
We are not made of sugar, we shall dry off,
    (We are not made of sugar, we shall dry off).

As I reached my teenage years, this sentiment crystallised into the conviction that human skin was waterproof and the plastic rain coat was not cool. Some of the teenage hubris got, quite literally, washed off when myself and a handful of my close friends got caught in unseasonally bad weather mid through a week long trek in the Slovakian Tatras, resulting in severe hypothermia of us all. We got away with it, somehow, and a lesson was learnt.

Smetana's Vltava is well known even in the UK, presumably due to all those Pilsner ads. As it happens, the Vltava theme tune is the same as that of the rain song of my childhood, just transposed into a minor key. To my grown up self this, somehow instinctively, seems more appropriate for the gloomy, clagged out conditions that invariably accompany Scottish rain. So when you are out there in the hills on another fine Scottish day, and you think you are hearing the Pilsner ad tune in the fog ahead, just join in -- there is a chance it's not just the hypothermia setting in.