Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Arrival Of The Lambing Storm

It had all looked so promising.

Week upon week of sunshine. The media frenzy talking of the springtime weather in such volume that has never been done before. Hosepipe bans. Record temperatures in Aboyne. Bikinis on the beach and day after day of picnics.

Then this happens.

Poor old Britain cannot cope. The temperature dropped in Aboyne by 21 degrees from 23.6C a week ago to 2C. The gales caused another media frenzy - 10,000 homes without power in the North East, multiple car crashes and even the ski fields had too much snow and the centres had to send their staff home.

Nature is confused. The daffodils, which had been covered in little black insects and were drooping due to lack of water, have now capitulated. The flowers have shrivelled and the leaves have flattened under the weight of snow and the shock of the icy cold and raw Northerly winds. The blossom, which a day ago seemed to attract crowds of  passers-by (predominantly Japanese) with cameras because of its exceptional heaviness, has now been blown away. The magnolias have dropped all their flowers too. The landscape looks sad.

Driving back last night was fine in the valleys. No snow, just sleet and gusty winds. But up the hill the wheels started to spin as the roads became whiter. Then coming round one corner, there was a wall of snow. I drove into it and came to a dramatic stop. That usual winter feeling descended: 'What the hell do I do now?'
By chance there was a farmer, parked in the lay-by. He had been tending his sheep.

'Lambing?' I asked.

'No - not for a couple of days.' he replied.

'That will be tough with this snow.'

'No not at all,' he said unconcerned and cheerily. 'They will be warm in the tunnels under a foot of snow! It's just the usual Lambing Storm. Comes here every year.'

With that, he pushed me out and went back to his livestock. They're tough up North.

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