Monday, 14 May 2012


After three years of below average winter rainfall in the south of England, a drought order was brought in which meant banning hosepipes among other things. Of course if all the leaks were mended by the various water authorities there wouldn't be a water shortage in the first place but that costs a lot of money which would mean price increases and poor returns for the companies' investors and we couldn't have that.

We were told that for reservoirs to reach levels at which the drought orders could be removed it would have to rain pretty much nonstop for at least a couple of months. So you know what happened next. Exactly the same thing as happened in the summer of 1976 (or thereabouts) when a minister for drought was appointed and the rain started and didn't stop for quite a while.

Up here in the north east of England we didn't have that problem as rainfall had been pretty much as normal despite a very mild winter. On the narrow strip where I live, about 400 metres from the sea, we got absolutely no snow (at least nothing that managed to lay) at all for the first time in my life (63 at the time of writing). March, like the rest of the country had been positively mild to balmy, though as we know it didn't last.  Like everywhere else, the rain came, the temperature dropped, and the last two months have been consistently wet and cold.

The reason I mention all this is because I was up in the city of Durham on Saturday evening for a meal at the Cafe Rouge (a popular chain) and we parked on the riverside beside the weir. The meal was to celebrate the 60th birthday of my sister in law and it was a nice change. I rather liked the faux-french cuisine and the ambience of the busy restaurant, though a noisy baby put off some of our group. Below are a couple of photos with the restaurant visible at the left hand side of the bridge. As we were walking along, we had to speak loudly because of the sheer noise of the water rushing over the weir. It's a nice view but even better ones are to be had further along where the path becomes overgrown with trees and you can look up through them to the cathedral (for my money one of the most impressive buildings in the world) above. What you can see here though is the castle.

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