"CONVERSATION about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative," according to that eccentric 19th-century Irish wordsmith Oscar Wilde.
Maybe that's so from his lofty literary perspective, but for the hoi polloi, which are most of us, the weather has always been an indispensable conversation starter, or filler, while we gather our thoughts.
And the fact is that from the day we are born to the day we die, not a day passes that we aren't in some way affected by the weather.
Lately, the effect has been rather miserable. Spring struggled to get started and never did. It has been described as "unremarkable" by the weather gurus, but I reckon bloody awful is a much better description.
And now, two weeks into summer, it, too, is struggling to get going.
Apart from a couple of really outstanding days last week it has failed to impress, encouraging us to get out our summer gear, then letting us down so we have to put the shorts and T-shirts back in the drawer.
Isn't it a shame that God didn't programme the weather with the same infinite precision he programmed the phases of the sun, moon and tides, which can be predicted for any day for thousands of years ahead?
Well, perhaps it isn't. Because you can guarantee that, like genetic engineers who want to alter the natural attributes of humans, animals and plants, scientists would by now be doing their damndest to change the weather - and that sort of interference, I suspect, would soon trigger World War III.
All our lives the weather pretty much dictates what we do and when we do it, what we wear, what we eat, what and when we sow and what and when we reap.
For some of us it even dictates how we feel and behave. I know that by mid-winter my mindset is about as grey as the skies, but when I open the blinds on a lovely summer's day my spirits soar.
The weather dictates the quality of our sporting fixtures, what we do with our leisure, how we behave on the roads.
It creates for us, day in a day out, the necessity of making choices. (Can't you guarantee that on the only day you choose to leave your umbrella at home it will rain?)
The weather, too, affects how we express ourselves. We can be right as rain, under a cloud, bright and breezy, lightning fast or slow as a wet week. We might have a sunny smile, a thunderous brow or an icy stare.
This train of thought was triggered, incidentally, by the latest newspaper reports and comments on climate change and global warming and what is being done about it, or not.
There are those who blame every drought and every flood, every snowstorm and every tornado on climate change and global warming, but some of us, at least, retain the view that "climate change" is a dopey term, since the world's climate has been constantly changing from time immemorial.
In fact, our climate changes day by day, so what's all the fuss about?
As for blaming carbon dioxide emissions for alleged global warming, I don't believe it for a moment - and nor do hundreds of highly reputable climate scientists worldwide. It is, I fear, just another ploy by scientists to attract more funding from sponsors and politicians to extract more money from the populace. It's a rort.
Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are, according to those scientists, ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.
As for me, I go along with American sportswriter James Dent who believes that "A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken".
And American philosopher Sam Keen, who avers that "Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability".