|By Philip Halling|
They say other countries have climate, while England has weather. When you visit, you soon find out why we’re all obsessed by it. English weather is always playing tricks of one sort or another. For instance, I’ve never known such a long-drawn out winter. On 14th April, the temperature here struggled into double figures for the first time since September last year. That’s good, but the wind is still cold and blustery. It's more of a trial than a pleasure to spend much time outside.
It’s been a terrible twelve months for both wildlife and farm livestock. A short burst of bright and dry weather got everything going very early in 2012. Then we had a big, long freeze, and all the chicks, lambs and young shoots were chilled. After that, it started to rain - and forgot how to stop. The deluge eased several times, but everywhere was wet for at least eight months, and many places were under water for much of that time. In December, the rain turned to snow. Although here in Gloucestershire we didn’t suffer as badly as many places, for three weeks the last half-mile of country lane between our house and the main road was blocked by both snow and ice.
|By Philip Halling|
The terrain here is like an Escher staircase - a one in three slope, cut into a series of ninety-degree turns. The only way to get in, or out, was by walking. We live in the middle of the countryside because we like solitude, and boy, did we have it this winter! At least I could do plenty of writing, while the temptations of the town were out-of-bounds. It’s lovely to be snuggled up in front of a crackling log fire with bowls of hot soup, but by the beginning of March the novelty had worn off. I was worried about my bees, too. I didn’t harvest any honey in 2012 as it was such a poor summer, and I wanted to leave them with plenty of stores over winter. Even so, I still had to feed them additional food. Despite taking every precaution to help them get through, I lost 75% of my hives purely because of the terrible conditions.
|By Albert Bridge|
Thank goodness we seem to have turned a corner. As I write there’s a haze of golden pussy willow in the wood, and I heard the cuckoo for the first time this morning. Summer must be on its way.
The whole of the UK is in desperate need of some sunshine. Have you got any to spare?
Christina Hollis is an award-winning writer whose work includes best-selling fiction for Harlequin Mills and Boon. You can find her latest title, Lady Rascal, here. Christina loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her via her blog, website or email firstname.lastname@example.org