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.


Witterings From Witney said...

S'now we know what an abundance of berries means - ta, SR. I am fully aware of the consequences that I - and brass monkeys - suffer when it gets cold!

Its all this global warming, don't ya know?

subrosa said...

I know the consequences WfW, My feet are never warm no matter what I do. But I can counteract that by having a hot water bottle at my feet whilst I sit here. Sad but warming. :)

RantinRab said...

You're absolutely right. I predicted the hard winter last time as I noticed the Rowan trees were very heavy with berries early in August.

This year was the same. Wrap up well!!

subrosa said...

Aye Rab, I forgot about my rowan. The birds had the berries before any hit the ground. Hope the wee lad's doing fine.

Dark Lochnagar said...

Last year, when the snow was round my berries, I knew we were in for a cold winter. I also needed a dry pair of trousers.

subrosa said...

Really DL, you should know better than play around the holly bushes in winter. You could suffer some serious pricks.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I hate to rain on your parade, but as a scientist I can't help pointing out that the abundance (or othewise) of berries is a result of what happened last winter, spring, and summer, and has no possible connection with what will happen next time.

subrosa said...

Rain on my parade as much as you like WY.

Why were there so many berries around last year too then because the winter of 2007/8 wasn't particularly bad.

Maybe I just like folklore. :)

Anonymous said...

There was a film called the Battle of Britain made in 1968.

According to the program of the film I bought at the time, the aerodrome sequences were filmed in Spain because the weather there was hot and sunny, the same as Britain's was in the thirties.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Folklore,like clich├ęs are often refined truths simplified to aid the memory and define their values.

Is there truly global warming? I don't know, am totally ambivalent about it and what can be done about it while I'm totally against the snake oil solutions offered by the corporate shamans.

That said, with an expanding human population, pollution has to be addressed - so it makes sense to make use of non polluting sources for energy and for new and radical models to be adopted towards our stewardship of the world we're given to live in and the one we will leave to future generations.

What these solutions are; well your guess is as good as mine. But I will hazard one prediction.

For the future to have any longevity, in evolutionary terms for our specie, the dominance and tyranny of global capitalism and its profit mantra must be contained and made to act responsibly within the society or societies it effects.

Man in his dominance under the present paradigm can create a surreal world thereby creating surreal effects. Our Earth doesn't recognise surreal; it only does real.

Humanity, in a mixture of arrogance and ignorance assumes it is the pinnacle of evolution; it isn't.

subrosa said...

Why doesn't that surprise me Rightwinggit. Summers were warm in the 50s too as far as I remember.

subrosa said...

Pollution is something which concerns me RA and we've done a reasonable job in the past 50 years but I expect it could be better.

I concur with your prediction and also your comment regarding humanity.

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