The life of an umbrella

Being British I know how useful it can be to have an umbrella in your bag, and though Brazil is a lot hotter than England, São Paulo in the summer gets a lot of tropical rain – it may be warmer, but it is just as wet.

For years I had always purchased umbrellas in an emergency. It rained, I wasn’t carrying one, so I would dive into any shop selling them and grab one – usually at a price that had doubled the instant it started raining. But these emergency umbrellas were never all that good.

So the last time I was in London, I invested over £70 in a nice solid German umbrella with a lovely wooden handle at Smith’s – the store near the British museum that has been selling umbrellas for over 100 years.

It was great, the best umbrella I have ever had, but on Tuesday I was on my way out and checked the umbrella basket on my porch only to find it had been snatched – someone had reached into the porch at the front of my house to steal my umbrella! It was pouring, so I had to grab my wife’s ‘London 2012‘ umbrella and use that to get to my meeting – a very masculine shade of pink…

When my taxi arrived at the meeting venue, I left the London 2012 umbrella in the back of the car – so I had my umbrella stolen and I lost one soon after. My wife bought me a cheap black one the next day just in case I lose it again.

The thing that is really annoying is that the opportunist who stole my umbrella, just because it was raining, probably has no idea that they have a handmade European umbrella costing about 15 times (over R$200 for an umbrella is outrageous) what a regular umbrella in Brazil would cost. At least I had an appreciation of it every time I used it and remembered visiting Smith’s and choosing that particular one.

It’s a good thing I am visiting London again next week. I’ll replace the London 2012 umbrella, but I’m undecided about getting another expensive one. If I bring it back to Brazil with me, I might leave it in the taxi from the airport…

James Smith and Sons - umbrella shop


2 responses to “The life of an umbrella

  1. So firstly, I lived in London for a while and LOVE the umbrella shop you’re talking about. (Used to live in Clerkenwell and the 55 bus would go right by!)

    Secondly, the rain here in SP is driving me BONKERS! Luckily today it held off.

    Lastly, I found your blog by google-ing “sao paulo tweetup.” I’m an american (ex-Londoner) who will be spending a lot of time in Sao Paulo in 2012 and would love to meet up with some social media people. does that sort of “scene” exist here? Any tips for someone who’s only had 5 hours of Portuguese classes would be appreciated!

    • Hi Krista,

      It’s probably because when I lived in London I was always organising tweetups around Ealing in west London. Search for Ealing Tweetup on YouTube or check out these links…

      Ealing Tweetup

      Now I live in São Paulo and I was thinking about organising something at the Queens Head sometime. There is a sort of scene and many can also work in English, but of course the local activity uses Portuguese. I’d be happy to meet you at the QH if you want to have a chat and then see what you think about trying to do an event there as well?

      I’m @markhillary on Twitter too…


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