The question being asked is…

Whispers of spring

Living seven hundred feet above sea level in an exposed situation means the growing cycle here is usually at least two to three weeks behind lower places nearby. Spring arrives in Kelso by the River Tweed long before it makes an appearance in our village.

But on Sunday, with the sun shining after months of rain, I ventured out into the garden to take a few photos. Snowdrops are carpeting grass and verges, daffodils are well up, winter heathers are blooming along with violas and primulas, the viburnum is flushed with a mass of red buds, and my rosemary, thyme and origano have survived the mild winter and are looking good. So fingers crossed snow and sub-zero temperatures don’t arrive with March.

White hope

Plucky plants.

Purple heather

Winter-flowering heather putting on a brave face.


Just add pork.

For years I’ve been unable to keep rosemary. Often it survives the winter only to succumb to the easterly winds in spring. I’ve had this pot for several years, so fingers crossed it survives.

Though milder than usual for this part of the country, this winter has been wet. Ground is sodden with many fields sporting puddles as large as lochs, rivers are high, roads have capacious potholes that delight in causing fatal damage to car wheels, and verges are sticky with churned mud. Whilst further north so much snow has fallen that ski slopes could stay open until the summer, with snow depths at resorts said to be higher than the Olympic runs in Sochi and some of Europe’s popular resorts.

Tangy thyme

My lemon thyme (wonderful herb) is a bit thin looking but come the warmer weather I hope it puts on a spurt of growth.

Despite this, we’ve been let off lightly compared to thousands of people in south-east England, many of whose homes have been flooded for several months. With river dredging discontinued several years ago, they have been unable to cope with the unusual volume of water and have spilt out across acres of flat land.

Gales and high seas have swamped many seaside towns wreaking havoc with quiet, out-of-holiday-season lives as well as the livelihoods of fishermen.

Some years ago, neighbours who were away during the winter asked if we would keep an eye on their home. The weather hadn’t been particularly cold, but one day my husband returned from a visit and told me to don my wellies and waterproof. A pipe had burst in our neighbours’ home and the place was flooded. Unfortunately it was a pipe leading from the cold water tank in the loft that had ruptured, so water spewed from it down the staircase and through the entire ground floor where it was six inches and more deep.

Emerging into the light

Emerging from slumber. Daffodils pushing aside the mulch of beech leaves and emerging into the light.

Even for me it was heartbreaking to see treasured mementos, letters, valentine cards and photographs swirling around in the waters along with rugs, shoes, books and magazines, clothes, tennis racquets — all the stuff that enhances our lives and makes a place home. We got the water turned off, brushed out the worst of it and did our best to salvage what we could, draping items over the backs of chairs, laying precious ink-blurred letters on towels. But with no electricity and the light going there was a limit to what was possible. Then we had the task of phoning our neighbours and telling them the bad news. A nightmare for them. So my heart goes out to all those people who have suffered flooding.

No water shortage here.

Burn coping with the winter rains.

Around the world freak climate events have recently taken place — floods, soaring temperatures, droughts, ice-storms and deep falls of snow which, with icy temperatures, have retained their grip on communities much longer than normal.

So the question being asked is… Are these freak events caused by climate change?

It’s a question few usually high-profile politicians and environmentalists have been willing to answer or have wanted to comment on. Presumably if they said no they might be the butt of ridicule and anger from the poor souls suffering from this winter’s adverse weather. Weather forecasters have been hesitant. The Met Office has now said the unusual weather events are of a type to be expected with global warming, so…although it cannot be proved conclusively, they think the freak weather experienced around the world could be caused by global warming.

Take from that what you will.



About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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23 Responses to The question being asked is…

  1. bwcarey says:

    sometimes slow is good

  2. bwcarey says:

    simply bad planning, no thought for mother nature, the next generation, or God, we can only blame ourselves, amen

  3. We can only blame planning departments for building on flood plains but we can only blame ourselves for looking the other way. When nature is so beautiful, it’s easy to believe that everything is fine – but everything isn’t fine. Mother nature is going to increase her strength and unpredictability if we don’t begin to change our ways. (I loved the article by the way).

    • Agree about planning departments though I assume they are under pressure to increase housing in their areas, and with land so expensive there is pressure to use what is available. People…well, I’m not sure many people actually think things through to the logical conclusion. And again, they are probably delighted to have an opportunity to buy a nice house that they can just about afford (fingers crossed!) in what appears a lovely area. Risk of flooding? The risk probably appears negligible, could never happen to them, hasn’t flooded here for decades, and besides ‘some measures’ have likely been put in place to stop it ever happening. Neither planners, nor builders want to put people off buying so will keep quiet on the possibilities.

      On the global warming issue, I feel it’s highly likely. I’m sure the climate where I stay is warmer overall than it was twenty odd years ago when we first moved here. During the industrial revolution we polluted rivers until almost all life in them was extinguished, causing all kinds of knock-on problems. Now attempts have been made to clean up these rivers, and life is coming back to them. If we look after and nurture the environment, it will look after and nurture us.

  4. mybrightlife says:

    Storms, floods and havoc – none of it is new to mankind or the earth, but considering what we are spewing out these days it is hard to imagine that that it cannot be making a difference!

    • If we feed our children rubbish and don’t look after them, then they will soon become ill. I think it’s the same with all living things — and our planet is a living thing. In our modern world there are always going to be events and practices that harm the environment, but I guess it’s about getting a balance so that we can live as living beings in relative harmony. Maybe that sounds idealistic, buy hey, you need some idealism in this life.

      • mybrightlife says:

        Idealism along with a whole new shift in the way we think and live. By the way, I am enjoying your book at the moment.

      • People tend to be comfortable with the status quo so it always takes time to shift opinion but it can be done, and if people believed the recent unusual weather patterns signalled real uncertainty in our weather, then beliefs might be encourages to shift a bit faster. That, unfortunately is when the vested interests wade in and the ‘fun’ starts.

        Pleased that someone has bought my book. As you will see from that, I was making my own little plea for the benefits of local food production, though much of it came out of the state of apathy that bedevils politics here for numerous reasons. So many things need changed!

  5. Pat Mosel says:

    Thanks for so vividly recording the onset of Spring.

    • After all the rain, it lifted my spirits to see regrowth and some colour in the brown winter world.Our snowdrops are spectacular this year — great carpets of them. Must be a good year for them.

  6. carolee1945 says:

    Although I have never experienced a flood, your first hand experience with your neighbor’s home made it real. It is difficult to know what is causing these unusual weather patterns around the world. I live in California, and we are in a big drought, no rain at all, and people all think it is weird. But I am old enough to remember the last drought 30 years ago.

    • That is one of the wonderful pluses of blogging. We tend to get tied up in our own little world and forget other places are different. It’s fascinating to think of you sweltering, earth dry as dust, only drought tolerant plants surviving, while here places are flooded and the ground is like a waterlogged bath sponge. It widens our horizons to hear first-hand what is happening elsewhere, and to see how people’s lives differ in different countries. My ideas of California tend to be based on films and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, so it’s great to have other sources of information through blogging. Cheers.

  7. Mama Cormier says:

    The flowers are wonderful. A sure sign of spring. I’m not sure if anything is coming up through the snow here but I hope not seeing that we’re expecting another polar vortex some time this week. I’m convinced that all this extreme weather is a sure sign of global warming.

  8. My walk from the tube feels a lot more inspiring when Spring is in the air. Lovely photos!

  9. Walter says:

    “So the question being asked is… Are these freak events caused by climate change?”.
    I live on the other side of the world and also observed unusual rains, extreme heat waves, winds abnormal for this period of the year and many silently ask ourselves this question: What is what is happening to nature?

    (Sorry for my poor English)

    • Your English is brilliant. My Spanish is non-existent, apart from a few words remembered from taking Spanish for an intensive year at school. Long time ago. This winter has been unusually mild here. No snow and very little frost. Suits me fine as I don’t like the cold, but it’s not our normal Scottish climate. We have an attitude in Scotland where we tend to think we will pay dearly for any pleasures, so people already shake their heads and say that because the winter has been mild we’ll have a terrible summer, or that next winter will be really bad. Perhaps, but something surely must be afoot when the entire world is experiencing weird weather.

  10. bebs1 says:

    I know it will probably be awhile before I see anything on the ground here, today is freezing, but am sure glad to see those flowers.

    • Despite it getting colder here, spring is well underway. Daffodils are now out, and a few tulips, crocus, the daphne mezereum, and white and pink blossom on some trees (I assume it’s almond or cherries. And our rhubarb is well up so can look forward to some stewed with perhaps ice cream. Yummy!

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