Sunday, 1 July 2007

The End of Summer, What Summer...Already?

This may sound like a complaint… it isn’t. In our early years of farming, we learnt to live with and not complain about the weather, whatever weather we got. Weather watching is something we enjoy and as the new kids on the block, we watch and (hopefully) learn. But as I dig our winter comforter and hot water bottles out of storage on this last day of June, I’m pondering the whole phenomena of climate change and how it impacts on us in this first decade of the 21st century.

Before we left Africa, climate change was an accepted fact in our corner of the southern hemisphere; this may have been prompted by those holes in the ozone located very near us (over Antarctica) and the drift of popular opinion in our old ecologically aware society! Whatever the reasons, drastic changes in local weather patterns coupled with National Geographic reports, increased incidents of skin cancer and news of extreme weather around the globe provided persuasive evidence of Global Warming. But most interesting of all for us, has been to discover that here in the ‘frozen north’ (no it’s not that bad – I’m just being dramatic) climate change is a matter of opinion; there are some people who don’t believe it’s a man made effect, but rather a natural Earth cycle.

Because gardening is something we love to do, we have ongoing conversations with local inhabitants about the conditions that prevail here and what we can expect in the way of weather. And the results after eight months; winter was too long but too mild, spring lived up to advanced billing only by being totally unpredictable and summer…well maybe it’s still coming?
Meanwhile spare a thought for those in Britain, Asia and Australia who have been flooded out of their homes this June. So no, I’m not complaining, just commenting on the weather whose only certainty is just how uncertain it has become!

Until then, out come the jackets and the woollies, ditto the big comforter and the hot water bottles and now I’m really wishing I’d bought some flannel sheets on the end of season sales.Speaking to our sons in Johannesburg on Wednesday night as snow began to fall there for the first time in 26 years, we could hardly complain about the cold. But then it is winter in the southern hemisphere… where did the Scottish summer go?


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