Umbrella skills in Wellington

There’s a common word uttered around town whenever we Wellingtonians see someone with an umbrella – “tourist”! We all know that rainy days are normally windy as well and it’s just ridiculous to try and keep an umbrella up in these conditions. However, if you have umbrella skills, as I believe I now have, putting and keeping up an umbrella on windy rainy days can be attempted. The criteria for success that works for me:

  • must have both hands free – this means using a back-pack rather than shoulder variety of handbag

  • umbrella must be one of the folding kind because they are far more flexible that the long handle ones

  • once the umbrella is up, keep it low, almost resting on your head

  • peep out the front regularly to avoid bumping into people

  • swivel eyes constantly around what you can see from underneath the umbrella to gauge the direction of the rain and ensure the umbrella top is pointing right at it. Be prepared to snap-&-point as the wind direction can change in a split second

  • on especially windy days your second hand should be on the clasp ready to collapse the umbrella and the second it appears to bend outwards, release the clasp to partially collapse the umbrella to avoid it turning inside out (this should be avoided at all costs because it is the ultimate umbrella embarrassment and you will undoubtedly receive the “tourist” eye-roll from locals)

  • overall, pick a route to walk that provides the most shelter and thereby limiting the use of the umbrella. But beware side streets and they are wind tunnels as the wind is likely to come from a totally different direction.


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