From the vaults: Have we mentioned the weather? (03/07/2012)

I keep hearing statistics bandied around: the coolest since records began; the wettest since before records began (that would presumably involve an element of guesswork?); weather conditions unprecedented since the time of Moses – a fine 400 metres hurdler long before he became a reference point for climate change.

Growing up in the Black Country, you’d often hear the old-timers say “I’ve never known weather like it”. Mostly, we ignored them; after all they were old timers – forgetful, prone to exaggeration, the worse for drink. Latterly – being further down the road to old-timerhood than I’m really happy to admit – I now find myself saying, quite frequently as it goes, “I’ve never known weather like it”. Obviously the fact that I’m forgetful, prone to exaggeration, albeit annoyingly sober, has to be taken into consideration, but the sheer remorselessness of April, May and June seems to be taking things to new levels. And no pun intended either for those who are bearing the brunt of the overloaded watercourses.

Our local hills are of modest proportions, but some of the steeper sections have become all but impassable. The ground is so sodden that effectively the entire slope is little more than a semi-liquid mudslide hanging loosely from the side of the hill. There is potential for a very rapid descent in a number of places.

A few miles away, there’s a sandstone ridge, which usually soaks up everything that even the worst of weather can send along. Today it is a quagmire and the adders, which at this time of year you’d expect to find basking on the open heathland, are nowhere to be seen.

Around the garden there are a number of small to medium DIY jobs in need of attention; nothing major – a couple of fence panels needing repair, a few courses of loose brickwork in need of re-mortaring. The kind of low-risk task that can be quite therapeutic, given a warm, dry day and a bacon sandwich at lunchtime. If only…

We planted runner beans a few weeks back: “Be sure they get enough water” – that was the advice from those who know their beans. Well, whatever other obstacles they may encounter in their brief lives, dehydration is unlikely to be an issue.


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