Considering that we are a relatively small island our weather systems are really quite extraordinary. Last month Scotland had over seven inches of rain (186mm), most of which fell on the Western side. And the rainfall in Argyll was 150 times greater than that in Kent in the East. And according to Paul Simons in the Times today, the outlook is for little change in this.
I have found it amusing that people who live in the 'real' East of the country - East Anglia, Kent etc. - find it odd that I should think of Yorkshire as being in the East, when it is obviously (to them) in the North. It used to be the same when I taught in the midlands - my accent (Lincolnshire) instantly branded me as a Northerner, but we never thought of ourselves as being in the North.
The North to us means the Borders and Scotland. What makes us in the East to us and also makes our climate so much drier, is that we are East of the Pennines, in other words in the lee of the Pennines. By the time those rain clouds get to us they have dropped all their rain.
Isn't it interesting how where we are makes such a difference to how we place ourselves on the map. This rather random placing also happens in another area of our lives and was highlighted today by Matthew Parris in the Times. That area is one of memory.
He tells of going across Africa for three days on his own on a train at the age of around 10, going to stay with an uncle and aunt in what was then Nyasaland. Not only did his parents allow him to travel alone at such an early age - but the interesting thing for the purpose of this blog today is - he can remember the journey there in detail he cannot remember a single detail of how he got back home again.
I'm afraid that the farmer will always consider himself as coming from the East of the country - I know East Englia and Kent stick out into the North Sea further, but those Pennines make a profound difference to our weather and at his age the farmer can't be expected to change his mind!