Thursday, 27 June 2013

The weather.

Why is it that here in the UK the weather is such a topic of conversation?  I would like to bet that in places like, for example, the Sahara, where it is almost always very hot and dry, the weather is hardly every mentioned unless there is a sandstorm on its way.   Or in equatorial regions, where it rains heavily every day, steams, then rains again.

So perhaps our reason for the weather being such a topic is that it is so unpredictable.

And is it also a fact that when we were children the weather was much more seasonable?   That when Summer arrived we could expect long, hot, sunny days; that Winter snows would fall on time?
Or do our memories play tricks, dwelling on those long, hot Summery days when as children we could go off after breakfast in the long school holidays with a packed lunch, a fishing net, a jam jar and a promise to be back at a certain time.   And did we really come back tanned, jars full of tiddlers, sandwiches eaten (probably long before lunch time) hot and tired from a day spent in full sun.   Or is it all nature's way of embellishing things?

I write this as I look out of the window on to pouring rain on a late June afternoon.   I have been into town and it is cold too.   Yes, my broad beans and salad leaves in the garden are thirsty and will welcome the rain - as will the farmer who has more silage fields cut and is busy spreading slurry on them- but is a run of three or four days of reasonably warm sunshine all we can expect these days?

We know so much more about the weather in these days of television weather forecasts - we talk knowledgably about the jet stream, global warming and the like, whereas as children we tended to rely more on the old adages;  'red sky at night the shepherds' delight', 'rain before seven, fine before eleven', and the like.

My grandfather used to look out of the kitchen window and say, 'it'll rain before night - it's black o'er Fulletby'.   The farmer's father used to predict rain in the same way by saying it was 'black over Zebra' (Zebra being a clump of trees on the moor above our farm).

I read in 'Weather Eye' in today's Times that the European Space Agency satellite on Venus is monitoring our weather and taking images of the earth 70 km above the surface.   They have found out that the jet stream winds blow at seriously fast speeds, sometimes going completely round our planet in three days.   The thing they are puzzling over though is why, in the last eight years, wind speeds have increased by as much as 25 per cent.   This sort of information goes right over my head I am afraid (and ruins my hairdo too I would add).   I think in future I shall stick to the old adages.   Have you any to add?



Heather said...

It has certainly been a lot more windy here recently - unseasonally so. I think our climate is less settled than it used to be in my childhood. The seasons seemed to be more clearly marked though of course there were some summers warmer than others, and some winters colder than others. Our weather is often so localised - it must be a nightmare trying to work out regional forecasts. I have known it to be pouring with rain here and half a mile away where my daughter lives it is bone dry.

crafty cat corner said...

I was saying to my son yesterday that in the school holidays we spent most days on the beach. Was I dreaming? I don't think so.
I suppose we must just accept it as there's nothing we can do about it but when you've known proper seasons its hard.
I give up on trying to fathom this world out now, its changed in so, so many ways, but again, I remember my Dad saying a similar thing. lol

Bovey Belle said...

Isn't it funny? I have just been harking back to when I was young, and I really do think I have rose-coloured spectacles about the past. I can remember, if it rained on a Saturday, we went swimming, via the Tudor House Museum (in Southampton). As I am an absolutely lousy swimmer, I can only assume Saturdays were usually dry! I can remember one wet ride on the Forest, when I was riding a fleabitten grey mare called Twilight.

Seriously though, I can only really remember the sunshine, and the really dreadful winter of '62/'63, and the baking hot never-ending sunshine of 1976, and then waist-deep snow in 1978, but I was growed-up then . . .

I know since we have moved here, 25 years ago, the weather patterns have changed as May was a really reliable hot sunny month, and our stream at the back of the house would dry up, it was so hot (70s). Not any more. I'm pretty certain that as a rule, we didn't have the minus 17 degrees we had in our river valley in 2010 either.

Em Parkinson said...

Rain before seven, fine before eleven. It sometimes works!

Arija said...

All I can add to this is that it is more likely that tomorrow will be like to day since a change in the weather is slightly less likely than stability. That is what my meteorologist husband taught the children and at the time it did hold true, since weather patterns stayed more stable but now the weather has become like a temperamental diva and it is hard to anticipate.
I heed my bones telling me there is a change in the air rather than relying on forecasts.

Cloudia said...

Faster winds, higher temps = more energy in the system = more extreme weather.

Aloha! :-)

Mrs Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

I do seem to be forever talking about the weather and trying to figure out what it will be. And yet coming from California I do not miss the heat, I love having the seasons we experience here. I think I'd just like to know when to expect the rain, snow and sun. x

Rachel said...

I think it is the rose-tinted spectacles for a lot of people. I can remember as a child doing the harvest dressed in our school macs and scarves because it was so cold and miserable and the sun hardly shone at all and another time my father took the boys to Silverstone races in mid summer and it was so wet and miserable the spectators got stuck in the mud and they got home v late and their clothes were all mud. So it was not always so good.

MorningAJ said...

The memory of 'long hot summers' depends entirely on your age. Records show that there have been, in the last century, groups of years that had long hot summers, but it wasn't every year.

Therefore, if your 'playing out' years coincided with a run of good summers, that's what you remember.

Personally I shall never forget summer 1976 - the summer of the ladybirds. I was beyond childhood then, but began my first 'real' job that year and it involved being outdoors quite a lot. The Lincolnshire Show was particularly hot, I remember.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I suppose that everyone everywhere talks about the weather. I think we are becoming so used to having what we want, the instant we want it (at least here in the US) that we fight the weather because it does not suit our every whim for every day.

Being part Native American, I see things a tad differently because of my growing up days. Rain is always celebrated (unless it is devastating flood waters), sun is held in awe for the growing of things, snow brings natural fertilizer to the ground and wind clears out the unstable plants - so I find that weather is something to celebrate and enjoy.

This year we have had an unusually cool and wet spring - but the glory of the bright green is fabulous - everything in Washington is shiny and bright - plus I don't have to water the flowers on my deck. In the evening, around 9 o'clock the light is magical from all the green. We, as quilters in Washington, often think of green as a neutral color (like tan, or white) because we are so constantly surrounded by green. Washington is called the "Evergreen State".

Another saying I've heard is when you see puffy cotton ball-like clouds "If a man leads his sheep to water, can rain be far behind" - and it always comes true - the next day will be rainy - even when the forecasters say it won't. They might do well to look at the sky from time to time.

We say Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.

There is a frog in the woods across the street and when it begins its slow little croaking, you can be sure it will rain the next day.

Happy summer rain!!

Hildred said...

My grandmother's saying, - There is enough blue in the sky to make a sailor a pair of pants - (or was it breeks)?

Golden West said...

My dad can always tell when rain is coming by how the seagulls fly (in a circle if rain is coming) and how a passing airplane sounds - too hard to describe that one! He's only rarely wrong...