After over twelve hours of constant rain, the weather presenter has just uttered those ominous words, ‘wetter in the east’.
I have written many posts about rain in Norfolk, supposedly the driest county in England. Last year was the wettest on record for much of the UK, and despite a brief dry spell during April, followed by some unusually hot and sunny days at the start of this month, the rain has returned to East Anglia. Not the patchy light rain mentioned on the TV news. Relentless, heavy rain, overflowing the water-butt, turning kerbsides into small lakes, and muddying up ground that has hardly had time to dry out from the last downpours.
Being English, you would expect me to be used to rain. It is a normal part of life in these islands, and for most of my life, I gave it little or no thought whatsoever. Since moving from London, and retiring from work, the presence of almost constant rain has had a real impact on my life, and my enjoyment of it. Old platitudes like ‘the farmers need it’, or ‘good weather for ducks’, are now conversational irritants to me. What has become abundantly clear, is that despite a climate where rain is to be expected, and modern forecasting techniques able to pinpoint the deluge like never before, we still have no plans to deal with it.
Roads are soon awash, puddles grow into ponds, and water rushes off of fields, turning back roads into lakes. Drainage and guttering are overwhelmed within hours, and still no improvements are made in infrastructure, reservoirs, or the collection of millions of gallons of wasted water. Reporters use pat phrases like ‘some localised flooding’, without having any real idea what that means to those affected by it. They continue to smile as they predict ‘at least two or three more days of heavy rain are expected’. Governments make plans to control coastal erosion, and the effects of drought, seemingly unaware of the inland sea forming under our roads and houses, swelled by run-off rainwater, and overflowing rivers.
Perhaps I am over-reacting? Maybe I am developing a clinical phobia to rain and floods. Is there even such a thing, and does it have a name? I don’t mind seasons. It is pleasurable to see them change, to not always be too hot, or too cold. We like to anticipate the time when spring flowers emerge, or the heady heat of high summer, followed by the crisp days of autumn. What we actually have is a rainy season, and a cold season. And they are both lasting far too long.