Still raining

They’re running out of rain metaphors and adjectives on the radio.

They’ve done ‘torrential’ to death. Now they’re casting around for something more sensational. ‘Stair rods’ and ‘monsoon-like’ are undergoing a renaissance. ‘Record-breaking’ is a favourite.

As I write, great swathes of northern England are under flood warnings. By tonight, many Yorkshire folks will be floating on their sofas.

It’s all so grim I feel the urge to make light of it. But people have already lost their lives, and I fear there will be more by the weekend.

If you’re in the flood zone, stay safe.

Posted on 6th July 2012
Under: Rain | 7 Comments »

Triumph to tragedy

sweetcorn seedlingsI was quite excited when I got these in on May 20th. Clearly it was safe to plant them out – it was during the hot week, and frost was definitely no longer an issue – and I thought to myself: “Smart move, Soilman. You’re about a week ahead of the game, and your sweetcorn is off to a great start. You’ll have a marvellous crop in August.”

Three weeks later, they’re the same size. Not an inch bigger… oh, and now a rather ill-looking yellow colour. They’re drowning (and freezing).

So now I’m thinking: “You cock, Soilman. You should have sown them last week and be thinking about planting them out at the end of June. You’ll get shit crops – if any – in August, September, October or any other bloody time.


In gardening, the difference between Hero and Zero is a frost, two weeks, three inches of rain and/or half a dozen pigeons. In any combination thereof.

Posted on 13th June 2012
Under: Rain, Sweetcorn | 10 Comments »

Rain fucks up everything

pissingYuck. We had our moment in the sun (er, 8 days). Now we’re back to what Britain does best: Wet, wild and windy.

It’s always a pain in the arse, but this time it could have been fatal: Poor old Prince Philip obviously got sick standing out all day in the rain on Sunday. No 90-year-old should be expected to endure that. Why couldn’t the poor old bastard sit at home with a cup of tea and a Hobnob?

Gardening is back on hold. After 8 days of lusty growth, every plant on the plot has gone back into a sulk. As have I.

Is there anything this country’s weather can’t spoil?

Posted on 5th June 2012
Under: Rain, Summer | 6 Comments »


If you’re unlucky enough to have caught my rantings on Twitter, you’ll know we’ve had rain in south-eastern England.

A fair bit, I’m relieved to report: more than an inch on Sunday night and some good, strong, prolonged showers since.

But you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m not hanging out the bunting… yet. After four months of almost total drought, even the 3-4cm of rain we’ve had in the last few days is a piffling drop in the ocean.

I did a bit of digging on my vegetable plot last night, and the ground is still utterly dry below half a spade’s depth.

We need a LOT more rain where that lot came from.

PS One very good thing about the rain is that it’s arrived just in time to bulk up the early new potatoes. A heartfelt ‘thank you’, then, to the Higher Power.

Posted on 9th June 2011
Under: Rain, Summer | 5 Comments »

Disappearing rain

A follow-up to my rain rant…

This Spring is running true to form with last. It’s already three weeks since the last significant rainfall, and the weather forecasts are exactly the same: scattered showers are always predicted for tomorrow or the day after… but on the morning of ‘rain day’ the forecast mysteriously changes. The showers are suddenly nowhere to be seen.

I swear these guys forecast by looking out of the sodding window.

PS Today I was reduced to watering my potatoes. In April.

Posted on 16th April 2011
Under: Spring | 6 Comments »

Drought: Are you suffering?

I can’t believe I’m already moaning about lack of rain. Jeez, it’s only April.

Reviewing my last few years of posting, I notice that the rain theme runs through my blog like shit through sewers. I whinge about it endlessly. Too much rain, too little rain, wrong sort of rain… you name it, I’m boring for Britain about it.

But the overriding leitmotif is drought. ‘We need rain’ is my nagging, plaintive refrain. There’s never enough.

This has worsened in the last 2-3 years. When I first started my vegetable plot, 6 years ago, drought wasn’t an issue. We had dry weeks, sure. Even the odd fortnight of sunshine. But never months on end without rain.

Nowadays I expect drought. It’s an annual event – usually bad, sometimes serious. Last year, I counted 140 days without rain from early March. This year, the pattern’s repeating.

Two swallows do not a summer make… but obviously I suspect global warming. I live in a dry part of the UK, so I guess we’d see the effects here first. I’m certainly feeling them. They’re making my gardening painful.

The weird thing is that I’m almost alone in noticing this. The folks who surround me every day, with rare exceptions, are urban office workers (as, indeed, am I). They have no connection to gardening, or farming, or anything much that depends upon the weather.

When I moan about lack of rain, they listen politely. Most nod kindly, perhaps offering a ‘Really? Wow, I hadn’t noticed’.

But mostly they just stare at me suspiciously. Their thoughts are clear: “Poor bastard. Spends too much time with his marrows. He’s lost it utterly.”

Please, please reassure me that I’ve not lost it utterly. Obviously if you live in Wales or Scotland, you – like my colleagues – will be wondering what the fuck I’m going on about.

But is anyone else suffering the drought nightmare?

Posted on 12th April 2011
Under: Rants | 12 Comments »

When Spring turned to Winter

Apologies for radio silence here. As UK readers will know, this is because it’s IMPOSSIBLE TO GO OUTSIDE. Winter has returned, with a vengeance, and I’ve been forced to chain myself to a radiator with a large box of chocolates (yes, at gunpoint… since you ask).

This is bad enough, but I’m living with a cat who takes news of bad weather even more badly than I do – and who blames me for it. When I let him out in the morning to test the temperature of the patio with his paws, he turns a look of such malevolent hatred on me that I fully expect to be turned to stone.

So it’s with special fervour that I’m praying for a bit of sunshine.


Posted on 2nd April 2010
Under: Winter | 6 Comments »

Drowned rat

To adopt an expression more familiar to my US readers: The weather sucks a big one.

Jeez, but it’s rained here. I don’t live in Flood Central, thank God, but I’m living like a rat in a hole. Can’t go out without getting soaked, whatever the day, whatever the hour.

The most irritating consequence is that my vegetable plot has had zero attention for almost three weeks; the only times I’ve not been working, it’s been pissing. Extra hard.

So many apologies for the absence, on this gardening blog, of any gardening.

Posted on 3rd December 2009
Under: Rants, Winter | 7 Comments »

Rain stops play

Rain on window

Another splendid example of His sense of humour: Took today off work to do some digging on the allotment, and was greeted with this.

It’s not just raining. It’s coming down in streams as thick as pencils. If I stood stark naked in the garden for five minutes wielding a loofah, I’d have a convincing shower (and my neighbour would have a convincing embolism).

So what to do? Well, I could rearrange my seed drawer. Or perhaps study the outside pebble-dash through the conservatory window.

But I won’t. Instead, I’ll flob on the sofa watching daytime TV, then burp and fart my way through an hour or two with YouTube. Then I’ll give up in despair and go back to work.

Jeez Louise.

Posted on 13th November 2009
Under: Winter | 13 Comments »

OK, enough rain already

Ophelia roseI must have been crazy to write that last post. First rule of gardening: NEVER pray for rain. Sunshine, yes – whatever you say, it won’t happen in the UK – but asking for rain hereabouts is like asking for the pox in a whorehouse.

So, predictably, I’m now living in a swamp. Only my roses seem to be enjoying the deluge. Everything else has its head down, hunched up against the horizontal rain.

Worst of all is the wind, which blows perpetually, as sharp as a guillotine blade. It’s been cutting through me for five days now. Much more of it and I’ll go crazy. Clearly I could never live on one of those western isles up in Scotland. The wind would put me in the funny farm in no time.

Dear reader: If YOU live in the western isles, do tell how you cope with the wind. I need the full ‘Gale Survival Guide’.

Posted on 17th May 2009
Under: Flowers, Rants | 8 Comments »