As I write this, it’s raining. It was just spitting a bit but now it’s siling it down. I can see it causing a storm in the birdbath, which is like a storm in a teacup but with feathers. Oh: it’s stopped again, suddenly, like a tap in the sky has been turned off. I might get out for a stroll.

No, it’s started again, from spitting to siling in the blink of an eye. Now I don’t mind walking in the rain because I won’t melt, but even I am getting fed up of strolling through puddles and getting splashed by vans as I walk past that lake-sixed puddle on the top road near the garden centre.

Is it just me or has it rained more the last few months than it usually does? I’m not one of those who thinks it was always sunny in the old days when we gambolled in the fields in just a t shirt and shorts until almost midnight, even in December, and it only rained for half an hour while we were in bed asleep, but it does seem to be getting wetter.

There’s mud everywhere. Again, like I don’t mind walking in the rain I don’t mind squelching through mud but there seems to be so much mud these days that it’s like a dam holding mud back has burst, and endless gallons of mud have settled over the landscape (the mudscape) as far as the eye can see. And of course you have to take your glasses off to see the mud because they’re all flecked with the mud that you’ve kicked up as you walk through it. And of course you feel about three inches taller because you’re wearing shoes built up by mud.

Sometimes, like it just did, it stops raining and a brief blue handkerchief of blue sky appears and then, because we’re human, we get filled with a kind of hope that we might get a day, or a morning, or an hour, or a minute, without rain. It’s like when we went on holiday with the kids to Wales or Scotland or The Lake District and the rain was continuous and continual, whichever one of those words means it never stopped, and I would always say, above the noise of the rain tap-dancing on the car roof ‘I think it’s brightening up a bit!’ and it never was.

But now it seems to be and the hope is building in us. We go into the garden and we can feel the almost chilly December warmth of the sun. Our spirits are lifted and we refuse to acknowledge the massing black cloud trundling over the horizon. Even when you’re pottering in the garden and it starts to rain you pretend that it isn’t and you carry on picking a few leaves, a few soaking leaves, up until it becomes obvious that if you don’t go inside you might float away.

I like to say Good Morning to people when I’m out and about but when it’s raining sometimes a gesture is enough; a pointing to the sky and a shrug of the shoulders, or a shaking of the head and a rueful grin. The words exchanged are few and terse. ‘Wet enough for thi?’ ‘Hev we had enough rain yit?’ Someone will come out with that old chestnut, that old soaking wet chestnut, ‘Well, farmers want it!’ although I’m sure that many in the agricultural community would disagree because it’s really hard to scrape the mud off those big wheels at the back of your Massey Ferguson.

And then, of course, someone will always come out with the line that always rings out in weather like this. You’ll be walking towards them. The rain will be increasing in intensity. There may even be a burp of thunder and a flicker of lightning. The person you’re walking towards is carrying an umbrella the size of Jodrell Bank Observation Telescope or one of those first-generation satellite dishes that seemed bigger than the walls they were fixed to and were so powerful they could pick up programmes that hadn’t even been commissioned yet, let alone made.

In Text Promo Image

As the person approaches you they will lower the umbrella. They will point to the sky. Their eyes will twinkle. The rain will carry on chucking it down. They will gesture at the rain. You know what’s coming. They will say, as though nobody has ever said it before in the history of the world, ‘Ah’ll tell thi what’s coming next: a hosepipe ban!’

And you have to laugh. It’s raining again.