Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Forewarned is Forearmed
No, the photograph wasn't taken by me with my new Lumix camera, although it's very similar to one I would have taken of the berry-laden holly bushes in the garden. Unfortunately the Royal Mail lost the camera I intially ordered which resulted in a statutory 15 day wait - in case it did arrive - until I could order a replacement from Amazon. It arrived today but the weather was too horrible to be standing around in spear-like rain, assisted by swirling winds, which always ensure I feel as if I'm undergoing non-consensual facial acupuncture. Also I've yet to read the instructions so perhaps it's better I relied upon a library photograph.
However the acquisition of my camera has little to do with this post. The abundance of holly berries on my bushes does, along with the substantial crop of the bright red berries my honeysuckle provided for the birds until recently. I've also a hawthorn bush which I inherited and the haws have brightened a much neglected corner of the garden this year. An unusual occurrence because they're normally quite sparse.
Many years ago an elderly gentleman - who was also a neighbour - gave me some basic advice on gardening. It was the first house I'd owned with a garden and I was anxious to show the neighbours I was no novice. His knowledge was extensive and without his critical eye constantly sweeping over my efforts I would never have learned a fraction of the skills I use today.
One of Mr King's ( my mentor deserves to be named) favourite sayings, along with teaching me that you could actually smell snow is to fall within 24 hours - honestly you can - was 'loads of berries means a hard winter'. Many would shrug off such an old wives' tale but good gardeners, (unlike myself who potter around), never ignore them because they tend to be far more accurate than any modern technological weather methods.
Some deny the folklore at their peril. I'm a denier about global warming. That doesn't mean to say I disagree with climate change, because even a five-year-old would realise the climate changes regularly. It's a natural process. Why reducing pollution, which was seriously required in many parts of the UK and an honest policy, and the myth that the world is warming at a rate which will even eradicate civilisations, have been combined, is due to politicians and chancers. Scientists funded by governments decided to agree. Those who disagreed had their funding negated. But we know that. Now a website has popped up asking the likes of you and me to join in its latest experiment. There's no end to the attempts of climate change believers to try to involve even the most sceptical of us.
I'm going with the folklore that an abundance of berries forecasts a severe winter and dig out my clampons. Ok, last year I refused to wear them but found myself housebound at times until I was given a pair of these by a friend. This year I'll have them on one pair of old slip-on boots and I'll carry my regular boots in a bag because, for me, it's a pest removing them when I meet non-icy surfaces.
The weather here isn't warming. I've kept a fairly detailed diary over the last few years and the weather is not warming. The seasons are slightly adjusting but certainly the summers were warmer back in the 50s than they are now. Winters back then were extreme, but it's hard to evaluate when today we have so much more technology to ensure the country keeps moving. I only know that earlier this year snow/ice never lifted from my garden for 7 weeks.
So this year I will be forewarned and listen to the berries and prepare myself for a hard winter. The people who know the soil and respect the weather deserve much more attention than those who work from computer models. Don't you think?
As a footnote investors in climate change are seeking to influence the policymakers. They won't stop until we're financially bled dry by taxation.