Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

Rain Clouds and Wrongwayitis

I’ve been reading accounts from British light aircraft pilots who have experienced difficulty in orienting themselves when flying in the southern hemisphere. The reason for this ‘wrongwayitis’ is fairly well understood and stems from the disagreement, usually subconscious, of where we expect to see the sun relative to our travel and where it actually is.

I was a bit shocked this afternoon when returning from Southampton airport to discover that I was experiencing a similar sensation, a feeling of ‘wrongwayitis’.

I was driving through heavy rain and the signs told me clearly that I was heading the right way, or roughly east along the M27. There were even natural clues confirming it at the roadside in the shape of trees.

Rationally I knew that I was heading the right way and yet the feeling of wrongwayitis persisted for several minutes. A casual glance revealed that the sky was indeed brighter to the north and east, when I would have expected it to be brighter in the southwest. This was the only explanation I could come up with for this feeling, the stark contrast between dark rain clouds in the south and west and the lighter sky in the north and east. Were the other drivers on the M27 at that time experiencing this same feeling? I’ve no idea, but I’d like to know.