As a 50 something I certainly remember the seasons of my childhood being rather different to what they are today. Some of this may be looking back through rose coloured glasses, but it's not just the weather changes, it's the timing of the seasons that seem to have gone to pot.
When I was primary school age, my Dad worked on building sites for the local council, . Part of their winter duties, when bad weather held up their normal work, was operating snow ploughs and general snow clearing and road gritting. Perhaps I should point out here that we only lived on the East coast of Yorkshire, in England, and not in the outer Hebrides, for example.
I can remember Dad having many occasions when he had to do this work.
In fact it was most winters. One particular winter, when my brother and myself watched him go, as we look out at a fair few inches of snow on all the buildings. This one winter at one point, had us with a beloved snowman in our yard for ages. It was at least a couple of weeks before we were greeted with the sad sight of the snowman disappearing fast before our eyes .
At this time it didn't always snow at christmas, as we all like to remember, but only occasionally. However, we did have proper frosty weather from November onwards. This would go on until Spring with none of the mild periods we now experience. There would always be some heavy snow falls .
Living in old properties, of course, it was much colder. We did not have the benefits of central heating, but you don't see ice on the inside of the windows of such properties very often nowadays, central heating or not. Neither do you have long icicles hanging outside from gutters, as we often did. The last time we had a two week freeze such as this was in the 1980's. At this time our water supply did freeze for the first and last time, thankfully.
There was always an odd erratic spurt of strange weather, such as a snowstorm one March Easter in the 1970s that, although short lived, caused chaos in our town. These instances were the exception though and not the rule.
Speaking to a colleague from the Phillipines, I was told that back home their seasons are also on the move . What would normally be their rainy season, has moved on a good couple of months in the last few years and he envisages it changing further. The rainy season is also much more severe.
Yes, I can remember the hot summers and some rainy ones too.
England having a temperate climate meant that the weather was always going to be a little unpredictable. It's just that there were definite seasons . You knew winter would be cold, spring getting a bit warmer, summer hopefully warm and autumn cooling down again. You also had a fair idea which months all of this would occur in.
Even the hot, dry, summers of 1975 and 1976 had reasonably normal season times. Winter now never seems to get going these days until at least January. Christmas 2009 has been exceptionally cold in our part of the World and we have seen some snow but this is not usual these days.
The sad fact is that nowadays the seasons have merged and the flora and fauna alone can no longer function properly. Before the snow I still had leaves on plants in the garden which should have long gone. Roses that were still blooming may die. Yet I have even seen a butterfly in my garden not so long ago.
The worrying fact is that with all the expected increase in water levels I won't have a garden to worry about, as the east coast may be well and truly buried under water.
That is all the flat areas. Spurn Point has almost gone, due in part to defences placed further along the coast. However, unless you live in one of the higher, as in above sea level, areas of Yorkshire, such as Sheffield, you might as well forget it.
I probably won't be around by then but what a legacy we have left for the young.
The shame is that the countries which will suffer first, will have made no contribution to the imminent disaster. America probably will not care which countries are lost as long as they survive .
We too can be guilty of that but we could still start a damage limitations exercise. In such a divided world I cannot see any chance of that for a while though. The recent Copenhagen Summit was indecisive. It will no doubt take another disaster, such as the Tsunami, to make people sit up and take notice, especially governments.
As we all try to do our bit to save what's left of the environment and recycle what we can I can only wonder, "Is it too little and too late?"
I experienced flooding first hand in the Summer of 2007 and wrote as the rain fell:-
I am sat writing this at my computer, in my spare bedroom just before we turn off the power supply, due to flooding caused by torrential rain. I do not live in a tropical climate but on the east coast of England in Yorkshire. Neither is it winter. It is the 25th of June 2007 and just 4 days ago we supposedly had the first day of Summer.
I have lived in this city for 55 years and have never seen weather or flooding like this. Well we saw something on a lesser scale in June a few years ago. It is very scary and makes me appreciate and feel all the more for the plight of people in countries where this is a regular occurrence. They will invariably be infinitely poorer than us but accept the monsoon as part of life.
I fear that is what we are going to have to do soon.
Whether it is global warming or climate change, either man made or just part of evolution it is a painful business. Many neighbours in love with their cars have ruined their lovely gardens and block paved or concreted them in order to house their cars, so compounding the problem. Hopefully we will not suffer as some do and it will be short lived. At the moment the road and paths are flooded. We have spent 5 hours baling out our back garden today in an attempt to keep the waters at bay. We have had to finally give in and let them win.
Living in the middle of a city it is a strange sight looking out as the water deluges on and the road takes on the appearance of a stream. All fire engines in the city are out on call to worse areas and we are assured they will get to us sooner or later. For now the advice is turn of your electrics as the water approaches, block doors and windows with bedding, towels and anything you can, and head upstairs.
I have recently started working part-time hours and wonder what many poor folks are going to find when they return from work today. Let's hope some kind employers will send them home early whilst they can get there. For me, due at work at 5pm, there is no chance of getting there, so there will loss of pay as well as hefty clean up bills no doubt. Yes I know it could be worse but it will just make things that bit more difficult to say the least.
Our young neighbours have taken up their floorboards and the water is just a few inches away from coming up. Their two young children home from school as it was flooded are feeling a little scared, quite naturally. So Mum is trying to keep the situation light .
Reflecting on the rain today I remember my Dad in the 1950's, who was a construction worker on building sites, loving the sound of rain on our roof when he could snuggle down in bed as it was a Saturday or a Sunday. I wonder what he would make of flaming June if he was around today.
Well today the 26th June has been spent clearing up and thankfully we are all well. The water is draining away from under the floor and did not quite make it into the house . Having read about the loss of life and much worse problems suffered by others I can only feel we have been lucky.
The spirit of the war rose again and many of us spent all day today unblocking drains and hand bucketing water away. I knew the blue paper reycling wheele bin from the council would be useful. I just did not think it would be for water. Suffice to say we have not seen or heard anything from the council otherwise.
Although we were very lucky we ultimately spent over nine months living in a caravan whilst our home was restored. One young man in our city sadly lost his life.