The people of Great Britain are renowned for their love of talking about the weather. Its almost a national pastime! Well, for me as a working waller, over the past couple of years it has becoming something of a sore point. The weather that is, not the talking about it.
When I was younger, I can clearly remember that the months of December, January and February were cold and icy, usually with snow – we called this Winter. June, July and August were hot and sunny – this is what is known as Summer. The rest of the year, it either got warmer as it neared Summer or colder as it nearer Winter. In these other months we got rain, and the leaves either grew on the trees or they fell off them. Sometimes, odd things happened like the freak snow we got in June in the 1980s. But mostly, we knew what to expect from the weather. It was reliable.
Jump forward to now, and its all just gone, well, weird.
The winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 were really cold and snowy, and I struggled to work in the conditions. In fact things were so bad in 2010-11, I was unable to work for 6 weeks – the icy roads had stopped me getting to my worksite, which was under snow and ice anyway. Even if I could get to work, the stone suppliers couldn’t deliver. It was a mess.
I expected the worst this past winter, and like the previous two winters, I lost days of work. However, this year it was because it was too mild. The client I was meant to be building 45m of wall for couldn’t supply me with stone as the access field was waterlogged. For months.
Come March, when you’d be expecting blustery weather, we had a heat wave. I’ve never worked in such warm temperatures before, even in mid-Summer. I spent a solid week sweating, getting burned and even had to resort to working in shorts and t-shirt for a few days. It was glorious. But it was still technically winter.
Lots of people say to me that I must get really soaked working outside as it rains in Scotland all of the time. But you know, I’ve lost very few days to rain over the course of the past three or four years, as it very seldom rains all day. You notice these things. Usually, if heavy rain is forecast, I’ll spent a day at home working on estimates or updating my accounts. This past quarter year though has to be one of the most constantly wet times I can remember. Bar a couple of dry days, the UK seems to have had endless rain for the past month. I’ve been drenched several times, and have had to knock off work because the rain was so torrential. Its so unusual and noticeable for this much constant and continuous rain. Nowadays it becomes something of a talking point when it stays dry all day!
I’m not someone to be particularly put off by a bit of rain. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not one to moan or complain (ahem!) In fact I quite like it when I’m warm and dry, and battling the elements. You get a good buzz from putting in a shift in difficult conditions. Constant rain though, day after day, is debilitating. When you also throw in warm and muggy conditions which bring out the midges, then you have an unhappy waller…
So, to my dear readers and followers on Facebook, next time you are sitting all warm and cosy in your nice offices looking out of the window at the lashing rain, spare a thought for all of those wretches working outside.
On the plus side, all of this weather gives us Brits something to talk about.