I saw umbrellas that were too big, or with dangerous spokes sticking out, and no-one sure how to pass another umbrella-carrying pedestrian. I watched a child holding their umbrella over, but in front of, them so what they could see of themselves was staying dry but the run off at the rear of the umbrella was pouring down their back.
All of this led me to the conclusion that we could all do with some umbrella advice and tips.
You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Has anyone ever actually bought a golf umbrella or have they all been given away at promotional events? Are they even useful when playing golf?
These one-man marquees should never be used in a city. The pavement/sidewalk is often narrower than the diameter of the umbrella and, therefore, no-one can pass. And in the countryside, when strolling across an open field, they are a devil to wrestle when the wind grabs them so they aren't the best choice for any location. You don't see farmers using golf umbrellas; they simply have a good waterproof jacket with a hood. Save these personal awnings for the company picnic or as a sunshade in your garden.
Cheap umbrellas break. And as it's equipment we don't use every day you may only discover the unsheathed spokes when leaving the house. If you need to continue using the umbrella do ensure the wayward spoke is pointing forward so you can see it to avoid injury to others.
When the inclement weather is over, consider whether the umbrella can be repaired - and if so, do it - or whether it's time to throw it away and replace. Bent and misshapen umbrellas are discarded in the street after every downpour so, please, dispose of your broken brolly in a bin.
How To Pass
This is all about courtesy and awareness of others so shouldn't be as hard as it often seems. The plan is for the taller person to raise their umbrella to pass well over other's, and shorter people to lower their umbrella slightly so not to poke the taller person in the face. Tilting to the left or right - basically away from the side the other person is passing - is also advisable.
It's all about pedestrian spatial awareness which, as we don't use umbrellas often, is usually not very aware at all leaving us with an obstacle course to get down the road.
There is a good chance during your umbrella's outing that the rain will stop and you will need to carry it. Of course, you need to close it as it looks bizarre to have an umbrella up when the weather improves. Keep the tip pointing downwards and hold your umbrella vertically. Do not tuck it under your arm with the end sticking out ready to stab someone. Always remember, your umbrella is not a weapon (unless you are a spy and it has a poison tip).
When you enter a public building close your umbrella and carry it with the tip pointing down. If there is space, give it a quick shake outside before closing.
If you get on a bus or train do not put your umbrella on the seat next to you; it goes on the floor by your feet.
Once home, it is best to dry your umbrella canopy open on the floor. Give it a quick check for damage and then store it in a sleeve or hang near the door for future use.
I'm sure all of this seems so obvious now it's been pointed out but now you have somewhere to direct people to when they could do with improving their umbrella education.
Or you could just wear a waterproof jacket with a hood and skip the whole umbrella awkwardness altogether. A little water never hurt anyone (except, of course, the Wicked Witch of the West).