''''and we shall have snow.
And what will the robin do then, poor thing.
Just one of the weather rhymes which peppered my childhood in the pre-weather forecast days.
I suspect that the sophisticated weather forecasting only really developed during the Second World War. The farmer and I have been discussing this over the past few days.
Prior to Sunday's torrential three-inches downpour we watched the TV forecasts on Saturday evening. The weather forecaster on our local TV station said that there was rain in the South of the region and that it would creep up the country during Sunday - but that she thought most of North Yorkshire would escape it. Less than five minutes later we watched the National Weather forecaster. She said that rain would spread across the region from the South and she issued a severe weather warning. Well she was the more correct of the two although the farmer is pretty sure that our deluge came from the North East, not the South.
Do we really need this intense preoccupation with the weather (we British are reputedly obsessed by the weather anyway)? In pre-forecast days
farmers had plenty of weather signs which they took note of and which were almost invariably right.
In Winter, if the wind blows from the North then it is likely to have snow on it, coming from Arctic regions. In Lincolnshire which is on the East Coast, we knew that an East wind in winter meant snow blowing in from Russia and The Urals. And believe me, in Lincolnshire, where I spent the first twenty years of my life, when it comes from the East - it is jolly cold (as we used to say, there is little or no high ground between the Urals and us).
Almost always, if we wake up to damp, dismal fog here then by lunch time it will be raining, and the rain will clear the fog away.
The old folk lore is pretty accurate too - Rain before seven often means that it is fine by eleven.
If the dawn is a fiery red then it often means rain is on the way. If the sunset is fiery red then it usually means another fine day tomorrow.
The ultimate in "daft" forecasting occurs today in The Times (where would my blog be without my old faithful daily paper?) Each day Paul Simons has a Weather Eye column and in it, today, he talks about what this winter is probably going to be like - can somebody reading my blog please tell me what possible use this kind of forecast is:-
There is a fifty percent chance of a mild winter here in the UK, and thirty percent chance of it being a winter of average temperature and a twenty percent chance that it will be colder than normal. But, on the other hand, it might start out mild but then in January or February it might turn a lot colder. Poor old El Nino is once again to blame.
I suppose there will be some equally daft people who place bets on which it is going to be. Me,
I'll stick with the farmer's expert and well-used folklore eye, and take to heart his usual comment on any kind of weather - "we have to take what comes."
On a different note - sad the demise of Borders bookshops. The demise of any bookshop is sad and I suspect there will be more as more and more people go on line to order their books. For me there is no greater pleasure than wandering around a bookshop and browsing (and trying not to spend too much money). This year the farmer and I spent a morning in Barnes and Noble in Baltimore. It was absolutely heaving with people - the cafe was full to overflowing and there was a real buzz about it all. I managed to control my spending and only bought a complete Emily Dickinson Poems and Barack Obama's book about his early life.
The previous summer, on a scorching hot day, the farmer and I spent a similar morning in Borders in Scottsdale (Phoenix). Two floors of books and various other lovely things, lovely cafe with delicious cakes and lunches (we had both as we were there from eleven to three!) and I think you could have counted on your two hands the number of people in the shop - it was virtually empty.
When I got to the check out I was informed that they no longer took credit cards. It was the day before we flew home and we were almost out of dollars. We therefore had to put all the things we hoped to buy back on the shelves and we left with just one purchase = Steinbeck's Travels with Charley - worth every single dollar! I can't help feeling that that day was somehow significant to their eventual demise. But sad all the same.