Thursday, 21 September 2017

There was a Time

Back in the days when we still had four seasons each year, seasons that came with annual regularity and obvious signs, we knew what to expect. We never had rose beds still in flower at Christmas, lawns that still needed mowing in Jan and Feb and summer visitor birds such as Blackcap and Chiffchaff over-wintering in ever increasing numbers. Nowadays it's not unusual to find woods of trees still in leaf at the turn of the year. There was a time when fruit and veg. also came with and denoted a particular season and we eagerly looked forward to a season coming round. Parsnips and sprouts in mid to late winter, after a frost had been on them, strawberries in early summer, mushrooms gathered from the fields in early autumn. All that has gone now, everything is available all the year round and it ain't quite the same
Take snow, the photos below were taken round my house in Jan 1987 - 30 years ago. You can just make out my car on the drive. That snowfall was so severe that it pretty much paralysed the Isle of Sheppey here for a week and cut us off from the mainland.


 Note the icicles hanging from the guttering around my bungalow.

That was thirty years ago and I really can't see it happening again to that degree. Since then, as "winters" have become milder and dryer, snowfall has been at a premium, the last time we had snow was four years ago and that only lasted a couple of days.
Which brings us round once again to the dryness of winters now. The first two photos below show the result of a normal wet winter on the reserve. The last time that occurred was about five years ago, since then the winters have become progressively dryer. When the reserve was that wet birds such as Lapwings and Golden plovers could be counted in the several thousands, wildfowl likewise. Regular bird counts were hard work because there were simply so many birds to count over a large area.


Today, the scene above looks like this below, dry and waterless as far as the eye can see and it makes for a pretty boring walk round each day because there are so few birds to see. There was a time when we knew what season we were in but that's no where near as clear cut any more.

13 comments:

  1. ''We never had rose beds still in flower at Christmas"
    I presume that you are only speaking for your own area and not the UK as a whole. For I do recall on my trips down to Falmouth in Cornwall in the 1970's and during the christmas period of seeing roses in full bloom.

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    1. Yes, definitely my area, I don't travel much in this country to know how elsewhere is fairing in recent winters.

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  2. I think the sun feels hotter. Not hotter as in more degrees per se. Many people of my age speak of it. Or is it that as you get older it just feels hotter. I posted on P-i-R that the huge number planes were damaging the atmosphere and my blog mysteriously started disintegrating over the next days and weeks, so much so that I lost a lot of it, and had to block comments, delete the links to nearly 400 followers, and take other remedial action. Connection? No idea. Interesting topic though.

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    1. To be honest Gwil, I can't say if the sun feels hotter or not, it's not something I've really took much notice of, it just seems hot like it always did.

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  3. That's a lot of snow, Derek! Where I grew up in northeast Georgia, we would see a few flakes fall every year and in the occasional year there would be up to 4 or 5 inches. It rarely lasted more than 2 days, but I remember the excitement of it and getting to miss school.

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    1. It was an exceptional fall of snow Wilma, we were laid off of work for a week and some supplies had to be air-lifted in to the Island.

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  4. I've come over all nostalgic for crappy weather now Derek!

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    1. Trouble is Steve, it's going to take a lot of rain to re-create those wet areas on the marsh, we're looking at around 3ft of water needed in the ditches and fleets before the land becomes flooded.

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  5. The drought in your part of the world really is amazing Derek - your photographs show just how severe it is.

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  6. Now we really do dream of white Christmases because most of them are green and quite mild. I share your thoughts about the availability of seasonal fruit and vegetables. In today's supermarkets it's as if there are no seasons at all. Strawberries in November and brussel sprouts in August.

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  7. Yes, such a shame. I'm 71 and can remember the seasons changing like you. I guess we just have to go with it.
    The kids can remember ice on the inside of the windows and a fire in only one room but they also remember it as good times.
    Briony
    x

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  8. I guess that you are right Briony, I can remember many times such as you mention but indeed, new times keep evolving and we simply have to go with them.

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