What a Month April Was!
Posted on May 7, 2011
Even if you are not a saddo like me and in general, you pay no particular interest in the British weather, you would have struggled not to notice the heat and dryness that the south of England has been subjected to in the last month. You don’t often see statistics like these; The warmest April for 350 years (though how well the temperature was measured in the 1600’s is any ones guess) included the hottest April day since 1949 (27.8c) only 10% of expected rainfall, 150% of average sunshine and temperatures averaging 6c higher than the norm. I am sorry, but I am impressed with that, even if it did result in me get sunburned on my bald head as early as the 9th April.
Of course the dryness has caused its problems too, just this last week we have seen pockets of forest fires breaking out in Swinley and the New Forest as gusty winds developed from the East. Of course these aren’t proper bush fires like they get in Australia or California, they are proper British bush fires where the only tragedy is the charred nest of a Reed Warbler. We are not good at natural disasters in the UK, earthquakes (always in the West Midlands) only register marginally higher than a Real Ale induced fart, snowstorms rarely produce more than six inches of the white stuff and the 250 or so tornadoes recorded in East Anglia each year create about enough energy to pick up a few crisp packets and discarded newspapers. You have to go back to the “Great Storm” of October 1987 to find a proper British natural disaster and even that wasn’t a genuine hurricane according to Michael Fish who still tosses and turns in his bed every night wishing he hadn’t said that.
It is because we are so pathetic at natural disasters that I like England so much, the lack of genuinely extreme conditions means we must live in one of the most harmless places this planet has to offer. As well as having no real threat from the weather there are no deadly snakes (apart from Nick Clegg) spiders or meat eating animals ready to launch an assault on us, though it could be argued that a wrong turning in most of major cities could result in a knife in the throat from the sub human species of our animal kingdom. At least if you get bitten by a snake in the Australian outback it doesn’t take your watch, wallet and car keys, well not as far as I know anyway.
I did actually see a grass snake the other week, it decided to take a dip on the river Test at the same time as I went for a paddle. When it saw me exiting the water at the speed of a polaris missile it must have been rather confused, as a grass snake, as you know, has less venom than an episode of Songs of Praise. However, it does posses the ability to make what little hair I have stand on end as well as sending my blood pressure searing towards life threatening heights. My girlfriend is so proud to have such a tough boyfriend, she really is, she said so as I barged her out of the way during my escape from this so called harmless reptile. When it come to things that get around without limbs my cowardice is unrivalled.
As I am writing this Blog it is now Saturday morning and it is hosing it down outside so this may be the end of our warm spell and in fact our Summer. Last year we had summer during the spring, autumn in August and if you memory serves you well enough, winter before Christmas. There was no snow at all in the south in January or February in what the Amateur Dramatics Society, otherwise know as the British press, had predicted as a return to the ice age.
I wonder what may will bring us? Don’t bother looking at the BBC monthly outlook, it is written by fantasists!