I understand from the weather man on television that our weather is at long last set to change at the week-end into something warmer, though wetter. This cannot come soon enough for me as I do feel the cold greatly and as I look out of the window here in North Yorkshire all the stone walls have still got their lining of snow. On Friday friend W and I are hoping to go over to Kirby Lonsdale to meet friends; this means driving over the Pennines watershed and past one of the three peaks, Ingleborough, and I fully expect that there will still be snow on the peaks over that way.
How much more knowledgeable we are (or think we are) these days when talking about the weather. We glibly speak of cold fronts, warm fronts, isobars and the position of the gulf stream. Obviously all this information has built up in our heads through years of watching the weather forecast on the television. In the days of radio it was just that wonderful Shipping Forecast which went round the coasts of the British Isles in such a poetic way and then a forecast for the land, which added an air of mystery to the whole thing. Now the weather is laid bare so to speak - even if it is not always an accurate forecast.
Looking at the weather last night the weather man showed an area of yellow pushing away the blue that has blanketed the UK for the past few weeks. It looks as though that yellow will be over here by the week-end, all being well. It has already reached mainland Europe, where my God-daughter goes today to celebrate her first wedding anniversary with a trip to Paris for a few days - it should be lovely and warm as they step out of Eurostar. (unlike her wedding this time last year when it was bitterly cold).
I'm afraid that the farmer, and most of his friends, take only scant notice of the weather forecast - they do seem to rely on weather lore. The one I have heard repeatedly over the last few weeks is that the weather will not get warmer until the wind direction changes - it has been in the East for weeks and our warm wind is the West wind. Mrs Nesbitt (Denise - see my side bar) must have been suffering even worse than us as she lives so near that bitterly cold North Sea.
But all the farmers round here are avid sky watchers - there are clouds coming in from a certain direction; they don't like the look of that haze over the moor; there still feels to be a frosty nip in the air at night. I suppose years of working the land in all weathers makes them all into realists. In the days when tractors were open to the elements (and before that when you walked up and down with horses) wet weather gear (or old sacks) was essential. Now the farmer has heat, air-conditioning and radio in his tractor cab and the only complaint this week as he begins harrowing his fields is that the radio station keeps slipping off channel when he turns at the end of the field!