I met up with a third (or was it fourth?) cousin the other day. We had a few pints of stout after my mum's funeral. We got talking about my mum, the state of the country (all the kids seem to be emigrating), the price of cattle and the best small talk of all - the weather.
We worked it out that we have not had a proper summer since 2003. To those of you who didn't do metal work at school. That is nearly a decade since the (Lancashire expression):
"Sun was cracking flags".
We then talked about the prospects of Iran having a war with America and Europe over the oil and when round silage bales were first introduced into Ireland instead of hay. We agreed that it must of been around 1980. We came to the conclusion. Since Blondie, The Police and The Boom-town Rats. Farmers have had to make silage.
My father tells me that when he used to come over from England in his twenties and thirties (he's in his seventies) for his annual 'wakes' holiday (making hay by hand with a pike and a horse and cart) from the Lancashire mills. It never used to rain and the hay was golden brown.
We had one good week in July (fair to middle) and I managed to make a field of loose hay. Oh what fun we had piking it and bringing it in on a pallet tied to my bale spike. Even our blisters had blisters. One of my neighbours had more sense. He got 15 round bales of barley straw delivered on a lorry and pushed them into his barn.
So what made the weather change? Why did we have the coldest winter on record last year and the mildest one this year? It's only just stopped raining this week since August. Is it all the cars and pollution that gives us all the seasons in a day? I am itching to get to work on my vegetable plot. But it's just too wet.
Anybody got any ideas please?