Wednesday, 7 March 2012 INDEX

There's a long standing tradition in Britain that just before a lengthy rainy spell, the authorities announce that we are in the middle of a terrible drought and there will need to be a hose pipe ban in the summer.

This, of course, is excessively optimistic, because we don't always get summers in Britain. But what is even more extraordinary is that the powers that be have an uncanny knack of announcing droughts shortly before the heavens open and we are all drenched in a downpour.

No Native American witch doctor ever performed a more effective rain dance than do the weather experts when shuffling uneasily (even on radio you can tell they are shuffling) as they threaten us with the dreaded hose pipe ban.

I don't own a hose pipe and if I did I wouldn't know what to do with it since I live in a flat and have no garden. Hose pipes are effectively banned from the Brind household, come rain or shine.

Even so I took notice when I heard the drought warnings because it was clear what was to come. As expected it has rained more or less continually. It's amazing! How do they know it's about to rain? If they do have a sixth sense for these matters, why, when they see the signs of coming rain, does it suddenly make them fixate on the poor hose pipe?

After the drought warnings, after the flood, the next step is usually the imposition of a hose pipe ban anyway. A lot of rain doesn't mean we don't have a drought. Oh no, we just have a very wet drought.

The usual excuse is that the rain happened at the wrong time, or it was the wrong kind of rain. Despite the whole country being a sodden mess, it's still officially a drought.

We haven't reached that stage yet but watch out for it. I'm confident it will happen. I can't predict the weather, but I can predict the weathermen!

Posted by Jonathan Brind
Wednesday, 7 March 2012 INDEX