It has been a strange year in Norfolk, and in some other parts of the country too. The seasons do not appear to be playing ball with the calendar. They are all out of synch, arriving earlier than expected, and with unusual extremes. Last winter was unusually mild. Frosts and snow appeared, but did not last long. And without the very low temperatures of the previous year. Then the rain began. March rain in January, April rain in February. It didn’t seem to stop raining, and by the end of April, we had the heavy rain normally associated with winter months.
The late spring was brief. A warm spell, with sunny days, soon passed. Welcome as it was, it gave way to more rain. More April rain in May. After another cold spell, June saw temperatures rising again, but the rain came back. This time, it was June rain in June; as hard as you might expect, and passing through rapidly, drenching all in its wake. By the end of that month, we had a real summer. Hot days, sunshine, warm evenings. The temperatures kept climbing, and by July, we had August heat, with thunderstorms to match. The month kept warming up. Records were equalled, as we sweltered at night, sleep difficult to find. It was beginning to feel like early September.
All the crops came early. This week, they picked most of the apples, and harvested the wheat. It is too early though, and the glut now will become a shortage in late September, when it should be around in abundance. Nature was fooled by the weather, and brought in its bounty too soon. The first of August felt more like September. Undeveloped acorns are falling from the oak trees around the house. This morning, in a light breeze, I watched brown leaves falling onto the lawn outside, and it rained heavily for an hour around tea-time. I had seen the darkening skies as I walked with Ollie, stifling heat replaced by a fresh breeze. It felt like autumn, eight weeks early.
Since moving here, I have become acutely aware of the weather, in a way that I never could have in London. I started to realise when it would rain, and when it would be dry. I could guess the time of day, without the benefit of a watch or clock, and generally be only ten minutes out, either way. This has all been turned upside-down, by this strange seasonal malfunction. However, the forecast for later in August tells of the chance that we might see the highest temperatures ever recorded in England. When I was young, we called these ‘Indian Summers’. They arrived late, and were hot. So perhaps it is returning to normal after all.