One thing working outside gives you an appreciation of is the weather. Most people will spend much of their working lives looking out at the weather through a window – at home before they leave to go to work; in the car, on the bus or train on their way; through the office window; and on the train, bus or car on the way home again.
Through the window the weather always looks worse.
However, when you get outside, it’s nearly never as bad as you think. Its unusual for me to lose days of work to rain or snow.
Here is Scotland we’ve had what has seemed like the longest ever winter. It snowed and was very cold in early December when I was working in Auchtermuchty. It was below freezing for much of December and January when I was building my red sandstone wall in Bathgate. The stones were stuck to the ground most mornings with frost in February on my job in South Lanarkshire. I’ve been wearing lots of layers through March and in April. It’s felt like a long, bad winter lasting five months.
The media have certainly had a field day reporting on the horrific conditions, and no doubt some parts of the UK have had huge amounts of snow.
But when I look back at my diary, I’ve only lost four days in 2013 due to the snow (and two of those were down to a freak dump of the white stuff a couple of weeks ago). And unlike the winter of 2010-2011 when I couldn’t even get to work for six weeks, there have been no problems with access to sites, delivery of stone or even breaking the ground to start working.
So, although the winter has been long (in that it’s been consistently cold for months), its not hindered working. And today is the first day in a long time that I can remember significant rain too. The spate of wild fires in NW Scotland over the past couple of weeks show just how dry it’s been.
Fingers crossed that we don’t get another really wet summer. I can handle the cold weather for five months, but five months of rain is just soul-destroying.
I am meant to be a dry stone waller after all…