Friday, 20 July 2018

No Rain

I have just made my daily check of the weather forecast for London and Kent. I have two favourites* bookmarked on my screen. One is the UK Meteorological Office which shows a weather map with animation through the coming days and below that a synopsis in simple terms. The other site is Netweather  that gives an hour-by-hour pictorial chart of what is expected for my area, with tabs for the following days, up to two weeks* ahead, and also a description* in more technical language. We have had no rain here for several months now, which is extremely unusual, although I cannot remember the exact date when it last rained. It seems a very long time ago. We have had continuous hot sunny weather since the beginning of May. In May and June we would normally expect warm, sunny*, blue sky days here and there* but only for short periods, and July and August is when the humid and uncomfortable conditions can occur, sometimes followed by thunderstorms.

* "favourites" Note that "favoured" is written with a left VR stroke

* Omission phrases "two wee(k)s" "here (and) there"

* "description" Note that the plural is a full outline; adding a Circle S onto the contraction would make it similar to "discourse"

* "sunny" "snowy" Generally best to add the vowel to these, but not likely to be confused in this article's context

The ground is completely parched, and, as my garden is on a band of clay subsoil, cracks have opened up as it shrinks. These are what can cause the demise of some of the plants and shrubs, as well as lack of water, with the roots being broken as the soil separates into unconnected lumps, which also then prevents moisture movement through the soil. My grass is still green but elsewhere grass exposed to the sun is now a pale straw yellow, and only remains green where there is shade* for part or all of the time. I am carefully watering the plants at risk with dribbles from the watering can to keep them alive, and some which have already suffered I have covered over on the sunniest days to prevent further water loss, in the expectation that they will recover when wetter weather returns. These are ones that I have recently planted or moved. If a reasonably well-established shrub doesn’t* stand up to dry conditions, then I am not willing to help it, as it is clearly unsuitable* for the garden conditions, and is only making work as well as wasting water. Sometimes the answer is to cut it back, or thin out the plants, to reduce competition for the moisture in the soil.

* "shade" Insert the vowel in this, and the second vowel in "shadow", as they could be read for each other

* "doesn't" Apostrophied versions must always have the vowels inserted

* "unsuitable" Insert the diphthong, so it is not misread as "unstable"

I am checking the weather websites all the time for hints of rain and pounce on every possibility with hopeful eyes. I see little patches of blue, signifying showers, dotted across the map, but none has come over my way. I see other small patches of yellow and red, signifying isolated thunderstorms and heavy showers, but they are small and do not seem interested in my locality. Today’s forecast is much more hopeful though and perhaps at last some of it will come over our way and rescue us from dust and desiccation.

My own synopsis of their forecast for today and tonight is that a warm and humid air mass ahead of an occluding frontal system will move across south east England and Anglia, which will support heavy showers and thunderstorms. This will be followed by another area of thunderstorms which may glance Kent, but these* may struggle to support anything more than some elevated thundery showers with lightning, and flooding may occur due to the hard and dry ground conditions. However, they do state there is “model uncertainty” which may deprive me of being the happy recipient of torrential downpours (to water the garden), hail (more water) and localised cloud-to-ground lightning (for entertainment). I am looking forward* to welcoming all those storms and rainclouds, and if I get soaked through a surprise downpour when I am out and about, I will be very pleased indeed* and grateful for every drop that falls. (626 words)

* "but these" Always insert the vowel in "those" and "these" when they are out of position in a phrase

* Omission phrases "looking fo(r)ward" "very please(d) indeed"