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Changing The Weather

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Anyone who has ever received a postcard from someone holidaying on the British coast will of course be aware that all our seaside resorts enjoy a climate akin to that of southern Greece, with perpetual blue skies and a sea of pure aquamarine, in which small children play happily with dolphins and starfish, while their contented parents doze in the shade of the palm trees that line the pristine white beaches. Indeed, one has to wonder why so many British holidaymakers bother with all the stress and expense of a trip to Corfu or Kos when domestic resorts such as Skegness and Weston-Super-Mare can offer so much?

Of course anyone who actually lives in Britain will be familiar with seaside postcards and the lies they tell. Visit any coastal town from Peterhead to Penzance and you'll be able to buy a picture postcard showing a fantasy scene of what the town might look like if the sun were ever to break through our year-round blanket of rain clouds. Obviously these are a ploy by the local tourist board; if you can make people believe that Clacton-on-Sea has a climate similar to Saint Tropez then maybe a few visitors will stop long enough to buy a cup of tea and a souvenir frog made from sea shells, and thus save the seasonal industry from bankruptcy for another year.

Re-touching photographs to depict radically different weather conditions is a long and utterly dishonourable tradition going back to the days when photo manipulation was done by cutting up slides with a scalpel. Of course these days photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements make it all so much easier. For example one could take a scene like this, which quite inaccurately shows Dartmoor as being a cold and inhospitable place best left to people in Barbour jackets and thick Argyle socks...

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...and with the addition of a little editing change it to show a much more realistic and profitable scene of sunshine and buttercups, guaranteed to lure many unsuspecting grockles to a painful and humiliating demise, or at least get them to buy a few cream teas.

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