Monday, 2 May 2011

The wet stuff

You're a Brit (well, perhaps not, but if you were...). You take it for granted. It's a trade-off: your garden's always green, but sometimes you lose the entire Outdoors, and the planned activities therein, because water is coming out of the sky and making everything wet. You learn, by the age of about eleven, that if your clothes stay that way for any length of time life gets distinctly unpleasant, because you don't get the warm version here. You carry your own fallout shelter everywhere, just in case it turns up unexpectedly.

You curse it. You insure yourself against it (I'd love to see the Pluvius Policy quotes for Wills and Kate!). You use it as a metaphor for bad times, because it beat down and rotted your ancestors' food in the fields. Your children wish it would go away.

And then one day it does precisely that.

It hasn't rained here, at all, since the beginning of last month. "April Showers", that have been with us as long as the English language itself, have been cancelled.

I'd been wondering whether three barrels for collecting rain was a bit OTT for our small garden, but now I realise it is no such thing: they are rapidly emptying as we run around trying to keep everything alive. I'd put off planting seeds, waiting for wet ground to give them a good start: now they're in, but have to be watered nightly. A stiff East wind spends all day pulling what's left of the moisture out of the soil, and then, if I so much as touch it, pulling away the soil for good measure. Last month's RHS-donated trees at the Orchard and the Battlefield have had to be watered several times (in fact that was what some of us were doing during the Royal Wedding).

Manicured grass is going yellow. The NFU is advising farmers not to promise their buyers too much grain. Moors are quietly burning underground.

For once in my life, I really, really want it to rain. The irony is, I'm pretty sure that once it starts, it'll be with us all summer and I shall end up being sick of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment