Thursday, 9 June 2011

North, South, East and West.

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!

10 comments:

Dave King said...

We often have quite different weather to friends just a few miles away - and no mountains!

Pondside said...

Our location on an island, ringed by mountain ranges, has a big effect on our weather. Of course, there's no doubt that here in Canada we are in the west - there's nowhere more westerly!

Heather said...

There were quite a few years of my life when Watford was north!! It all depends on where you live and Yorkshire is a big county so it has quite a lot of north, south, east and west. I would think that worldwide, weather forecasters have been having nightmares for the past couple of years at least -the weather has been almost unpredictable and quite often localised. One of our daughters lives only half a mile away and more than once I have mentioned heavy rain here and she has had none.

Eryl said...

Having come from hot, dry Kent to live in cold, wet south west Scotland, I know exactly what you mean.

I lived in Lincolnshire for a while and definitely thought of it as east, but not as north.

Rachel said...

Ok I take your point, but we are the east and you are still the north to us here in Norfolk. And we are definitely drier than you are!

Share my Garden said...

I have lived in the south-west for many more years than my birthplace and childhood in Yorkshire. I am, however, still very much, 'from the North'!
(And I love reading your blog because when my parents were alive they lived just over the hill from you in the next dale.)

H said...

Now isn't that interesting! I am in the East Midlands, but really, I think of my self as north more than east. East Anglia is definitely our east! It's miles over from us but on the same latitude. (At the same time, Iknow I'm not really 'north', but I'm DEFINITELY NOT south!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

One thing is for sure - wherever we live in the UK we are going through a serious drought - I see hose pipe bans are proposed today - andit seems that the weather in other parts of the world is being contrary too. Thanks for joining in the debate.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I grew up in Manchester, and we were constantly told that it was the north. Now I'm in Scotland and the thought of Manchester being in the north is laughable!

I lived in Malawi (formerly Nyasaland!) for two years and we thought of the South as South Africa, that is until we met someone who had been 'down south' for a while and it turned out he meant Antarctica! It's all relative!

Bovey Belle said...

Well, I'm definitely West and we consider ourselves in the Western part of Wales, here in our region of Carmarthenshire. Weather is localized here too - I mentioned having a burst of thunder and torrential rain here, and someone on a forum, who I think lives less than 20 miles away, just had dark skies and not one drop . . . I suppose, strictly speaking, I am in Wales rather than WEST . . .