Friday, 11 December 2009

Unseasonable flowers

At last a fine sunny day after weeks of rain and dismal gloom! I went out to look around the very sodden garden, which is a mess because I have not been out to mow or tidy. I was surprised to find so many flowers unseasonably blooming and picked this bunch.

Here we see penstemon, primrose, tobacco, rambling rose Dorothy Perkins, lavatera, dog daisy, erigeron, hebe

And here we also see fuchsia, a David Austin rose and a South African diasy whose name for the present escapes me.

And if I had taken the long-arm with me I could have had Spanish broom and other rambling roses Veilchen blau, American Pillar and an unidentified giant shrub rose with tiny pink flowers.

We have survived the floods here, being on good high ground, though the road has been wrecked by the torrents of water that ran down them. Susanna drove into a pothole and her tyre went flat. The Shannon has risen far higher than ever known before. In this picture you can see the Lough Derg Yacht Club clubhouse with water lapping at its feet. The boathouses and jetties are all flooded, and you can see the angle made by the floating jetties in the background, beside the RNLI inshore lifeboat.

We have had it so much better than other poor souls in Cork, Galway, Clare and Kildare. It is heartening how the Irish people and agencies like St Vincent de Paul and the Irish Red Cross have rallied round to help their neighbours whose homes, farms and businesses have been wrecked, though the Government was rather slower, distracted no doubt by framing a swingeing budget.

People are wondering whether this is a sign of climate change. I don't think anyone can say so for certain, because climate change is a statistical thing. But climate scientists are saying we can expect higher winter rainfall in the West of Ireland, and more extreme weather events. I think it would be wise to take these floods as a wake-up call to start responding to climate change, by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapting to the difficult future we all face.

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