An umbrella is a portable roof to keep raindrops at bay.
More frequently it is carried as a lucky charm to ward off wet weather. More frequently still, it is left at home or on an outward bus, ensuring a torrential downpour will begin five minutes after you let the last bus trundle by so you can take the healthy option and walk home.
There are several styles of umbrella. The normal 'male' version is small and black. The 'female' version is brightly patterned and folds neatly away into a large pocket or handbag. An alternative 'male' style acceptable for wider use is enormous, multi-coloured and emblazoned with the name of the company that gave it away at a recent conference.
It is unnecessary to pay money for any of these three styles as lost property offices traditionally function as umbrella recycling stations, stocking a wide selection of styles recently left behind on buses and trains.
But if you find it necessary to purchase an umbrella if you find yourself in a location devoid of train or bus stations, most stores will carry them, at a relatively cheap price.