We get a lot of rain in Scotland, of all different sorts. I think that smirr is the most annoying kind because when you look out of the window it’s very difficult to see it. It doesn’t really fall like ordinary rain and so it has no sound and if you aren’t careful it’ll fool you into thinking that it’s just another grey, dreich day. But if you venture outside in smirry rain and you aren’t dressed for wet weather – before you know it you’ll be drookit, drenched, right through to your knickers! It reaches places that ordinary rain doesn’t reach.
Smirr seems to be a Scottish phenomenon, my eldest brother has lived in the Netherlands for the whole of his adult life and although it’s damp there too, smirry rain is unknown to them.
In Ian Rankin’s book Black and Blue he describes smirr as being a fine spray-mist, which is a fair description I suppose. I’ve always thought of it as very low transparent cloud. Whatever it is – it’s very wet.