We Used To Believe In Rain
The weather this year continues to surprise and we hear in the papers every day how our little part of England it is now hotter than Spain, Jamaica, Greece or just about any country that we usually associate with being extremely hot.
Officially, it's the most wonderful summer here since 1976, which I remember well and have fond memories of. Although I do recall water supplies getting cut off, standpipes in the streets and getting overly excited when it finally did start to rain again. I also heard this morning on the news that it's predicted to become the hottest summer here for a century.
But as this heat wave continues it is rapidly polarising opinions.
This kind of weather is wonderful if you are on holiday or have no need to work for a living. And it becomes more bearable if you have access to a pool and have air-conditioning on tap.
It is also great if you just like the heat.
However for those that have to get up early, hold down a full time job or jump on an over-crowded train or bus to get to or from offices that feel hotter than any place legally should be, it is rapidly becoming a summer from hell. These people are longing for some respite and a cooler night or two so that they can actually try to get more than just a few hours of sleep.
And, dare I mention it, I have no doubt that they are hoping for a little rain.
The effect of weather on mental health should also not be underestimated. We all know how the lack of sunshine associated with the winter months can bring on depression in many people. I fear however that the perpetual sunshine we are now experiencing could have a massive impact on anxiety levels for those struggling to sleep and function in this heat. It really is difficult to find the energy to get up and work following night after night of high temperatures and little sleep. Sadly, people unable to perform to the standards expected in the workplace as a result of this will potentially risk losing their jobs, or will at least worry about that happening, until we have got back to a level of normality.
We have had no rain here for seven or eight weeks. Probably longer. It's almost impossible to remember the last time it rained. Those from genuinely warmer climates will hear that and say, is that all? But this is England. We are not used to it. We are not able to cope. Everywhere is turning brown, plants are dying and it is inevitable that we will shortly have water supply issues. Today an official amber heatwave warning was issued with record breaking temperatures predicated for the rest of this week, along with a health warning advising everyone to stay indoors from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
There is no end in sight yet.
Our green and pleasant land has become dry and brown in front of our eyes.
Those than can enjoy it are happy. For their sake, I hope it continues. But for those that long for some respite, there are few choices. They will probably just have to sit it out until our normal English summer finally arrives, whenever that will be. Or perhaps, with tongue placed very firmly inside cheek, the trick is to find someone rich to marry or live with, give up work and get air-conditioning and a swimming pool installed as soon as possible.
However, if all else fails, then I imagine the last resort is to bite the bullet and move somewhere cooler.
To remind myself of greener times, I have shared some views of the local countryside, taken back in May when we still believed in rain.