A grumpy sailors guide to the British weather
April as the poet AS Elder said in a fit of meteorologically exact metre is the cruellest month. The latest figures show that I am right and that the month was the coldest and wettest since records was broken the previous year. Now the old doomwatch ‘C’ list celebrity weather people, despite the recent fine spell, tell us that May will have predominately unsettled weather over the month and sunshine is likely to be below average.
All right, I am not discouraged because at heart, I am nothing, if not a weather optimist, I know that although in this month we are likely to have horizontal rain, gale force winds, snow on high grounds and possible in the valleys as well. June, which will be bursting out all over, will delight the eye and warm the cockles of the heart with its soft summer breezes, its balmy nights, and blue skies.
So, we can continue to battle on through a freezing hail lashed May with hope in our hearts and woollens on our breast until June arrives and we can cast the proverbial clout. Of course, the month as the long-range weather forecasts will announce with the restrained glee of knitting women around the guillotine, can often be quite cold. The chattering satellites will tell as that it will not only be unusually chilly but that the vertical rain will hit us, snow will fall on high ground and summer hail storms are likely, not to mention low cloud, freezing fog and sharp frosts which will hit us with an emotional sickening dull thud. You seriously consider wearing your dry suit to go to the shops.
All through our turbulent June we will console ourselves that summer does not really start until July. That peerless month of puff ball cloud, the bird sings, the countryside revelling in verdant splendour, the flowers, the coastal town traffic chaos. At least the candyfloss will be in full bloom.
Pity about July but the lightning both sheet and forked, thunder of unusually high decibel rating, lashing rain which floods the promenade and putting green, gales which sweep deck chairs to a watery grave, still a touch of snow on high ground with a suspicion of hail on low ground could happen.
Wait, however until August comes. There is a month, the full ripening of summer, the country gasping for breath in the near tropical sun, the birds too busy getting a tan to sing and reluctantly dragging themselves to find a sluggish basking worm. Never expect too much from August except torrential rain. The only sport which flourishes that month is paddle-boarding in the flooded main streets of holiday resorts. You are limited to placing bets on which raindrop will fall first to the bottom on the sailing club window.
We hope that September will get the last sweet puff at the fag-end of summer and truly we get a few sunny days at which we sniff suspiciously and turn-over like a puppy with a new squeaky toy. Then just as we think ‘summer at last’ a nasty nip turns up in the air and forecasters tell us that autumn season of sniffs and mellow fruity throats is with us and that we can watch out for squalls .
October, we hope, will settle but the prophets of doom are on us again. Unusually cold weather is forecast but we refuse to accept this, still not believing that the birds have fled, and the first insidious click of the electric blanket is not being heard in the land. Snow appears on high ground, in the Highlands, the Cockbridge and Tomintoul road is blocked and the gritter lorries are loaded and ready to go.
November, we felt cannot be worse but of course, it is. December positively Artic and January is unspeakable so we will not speak of it.
Ah, but February which brings the rain and thaws the frozen fields again is bound we say, to be better, bringing with it perhaps a crocus or two, a glimmer of thin winter sunshine. Pity about February. Floods of biblical proportions soak the new housing estates built on flood plains. Who would have thought that continual blizzards would still be sweeping the land causing traffic chaos which has again caught the gritter people off guard?
March, we grasp like a thirsty man panting for an oasis ‘must be better’. March roars in like a crazed lion shattering our hopes and roars out like a maddened elephant taking with it with back garden trampolines and wheelie bins.
April, never mind what the poet Elder said, cannot be worse. It is, although we never expected it to be the coldest and wettest since record began.
May, despite what we hope, will no doubt have vertical wind and horizontal rain with snow on high ground, traffic chaos with all of Britain suffering the beast from the east, west, north and south.
Ah, well there is always June, optimism is my middle name and twitter handle.