So I'm back from my travels and, finally, the weather has improved significantly and it looks as if the UK will have a summer after all. For those that don't know, the jet stream has been at a much lower latitude than normal and as a result the UK has had virtually constant rain since April. This week it's sunshine and in the mid-20s and I believe it's going to stay relatively warm for the Olympics next week.
The jet stream's position has affected the weather in many countries including two of the places I visited. Iceland was abnormally warm (20c) and sunny and the Faroes, which are normally very wet, have been suffering a drought for several months, to the extent that their traditional grass roofs have been drying out.
What has this got to do with LEGO I hear you ask? Well, I suspect one positive thing has come out of the rubbish weather: if we can't go outside to do normal summer activities we are more likely to stay in and play with LEGO or read Brickset. The site's Google Analytics figures suggest this is the case: Last May there were 41,000 visits from UK users. This May there were 80,000: nearly a 100% increase, compared to an overall increase in site traffic of around 30%.
My travels were not completely LEGO-less. In Iceland I visited a TRU Express, as mentioned before. It was surprisingly well stocked, with all the new SW sets on the shelves. Prices were not too bad either, Jabba's Palace, for example, was just £10 more than it is in the UK.
In the Faroes, which are a part of Denmark, I found a well stocked toy shop in Klaksvik, the second largest town on the islands, that, in addition to a good range of this year's sets had a large selection of LEGO-branded backpacks and other bags, which I have not seen elsewhere. I even managed to get a 8" Jan-Jun 2012 retail catalogue which is something that's virtually disappeared from UK shops.
According to Google Analytics, the site has received 3000 visits from people in Iceland and 61 from people in the Faroes this year. If that's you, please make yourself known in the comments!
I stumbled upon a toy shop with a lot of LEGO upstairs near Bryggen in Bergen, Norway. There are plenty of Norwegian visitors here so I won't bore you with details: they will know far more than I. However I will just say that I was pleased to pick up a July-December retail catalogue there, which for some reason have been virtually unheard of in the UK over the past few years.
Anyway, that's enough random rambling... if you're in the UK what are you still doing indoors reading this? Get outside and enjoy the weather while it lasts!