September 29th – It’s finally happened. We’ve had so much rain in recent months, the Chasewater has refilled to an unthought of degree. Now, the water level is registering on the scale on the pier; just 20 days ago it was well below it. The scale starts at 148.35m AOD, having risen from it’s low point of 143.7m AOD last September. A huge gain, nobody thought this was really possible.
Mind you, the price of this restoration has been a bloody awful summer…
September 17th – This is a summer tradition that’s been hit by the weather. All through the growing season (and into autumn, usually), throughout rural Britain the traveller will see trestle tables of surplus fruit or veg, with an honesty box for payment. I’ve seen very few this year, which is sad, as they’re a lovely tradition. I’ve purchased everything from these roadside stalls, from cucumbers to windfallen cooking apples, from tomatoes to plums. With the weather badly affecting the growing this year, the only stall I’ve seen has been this one of runner beans, in Main Street, Stonnall. Here’s to a better year in 2013.
September 13th – Elderberries seem a bit thin on the ground this year. Along the canal from Walsall Wood to Brownhills, there are usually clumps of the dark fruit hanging heavy on the bushes during autumn. I guess this is another symptom of a poor summer with few insects to pollinate the flowers. Local home-brew specialists may well have to find other wild fruit for their wines this year.
September 4th – I know I keep banging on about the harvest, but this year really has been highly unusual. It’s now early September, and crops that should have been in barns a month ago are still languishing in the fields; many possibly ruined.
Ziksby replied to my recent post about the harvest around Stonnall and Shenstone mostly being over, by pointing out that it was still ongoing around Aldridge and northeast Walsall: indeed, I was over-optimistc and it was still ongoing around south Staffordshire today. I noted one particular crop of wheat, still stood in the field between the railway and Hollyhill lane at Shenstone, that seems to be ruined. The grain is blackening, shrivelled and small.
Despite this, the recent good weather has prompted an agricultural machinery invasion, with harvesters working around the clock. A truly remarkable season.
July 9th – All I want is a day – one day – without rain. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Returning from Birmingham, the train disgorged it’s charges unexpectedly at Four Oaks, so I cycled up the hill out of the suburb, and then cruised down to Little Aston. At Mill Green, it began; a soft rain fell steadily. Coming up the hill to Shire Oak, I was hot, sweaty and tired. Then I realised: It had stopped raining. 100 metres round the bend, the roads were bone dry and it hadn’t rained at all.
The weather we’re having right now is crazy.