England – A Year With A Lot of Rain

I have heard from many of my England friends that it has been raining a lot this year. That they really had no summer. It turns out that we were lucky to have spent January and February in England, because those months had good weather.

January was typical English winter weather – we even had snow! – but it did not seem that bad to us. Santa Fe is much colder in the winter. In England we went walking most days in January.

February was exceptional weather, considering it was winter. The photo was taken on a very warm sunny weekend (we did not need our winter coats) on a hike near Nympsfield – Sunday January 27, 2008.

Sunny winter day in the Cotswolds
Sunny winter day in the Cotswolds

Usually It Rains One Day in Three in England

The Met Office says this about rain in England: “Typically, it rains on about one day in three in England, perhaps somewhat more often in winter, though long, dry spells occur in most years.” Read more – Met Office – Climate. I think the “long, dry spells” did not occur this year. From what everyone tells me the spring was wet, June was good, but the summer was very wet. And it does not look like they will get a break this fall.

I hired a photographer to spend four days driving around the Cotswolds taking photos of the market towns. I planned to use the photos on this website (in the Towns and Villages section which I am still working on – almost done!). She was able to do half the work on a few sunny days in July, but has not had a good few sunny days since, so the northern Cotswolds remain unphotographed by Cotswolder.

A Year in England

2008 was supposed to be our “year in England”, the one we have been talking about for the last few years. I was almost ready to do it. Last year we got our house organized and got rid of a lot of “excess”. I still have boxes of extra clothes stored in the garage. Buddy the cat has been ready to go since fall 2006 (shots, blood tests and paperwork – which I renew each year).

Our plan had been to spend January and February in England (which we did) and find a good long term rental. But we dithered about it all – Steve has some work things happening, we were booked to spend a week in Savannah for the April Slow Travel party, I wanted to get working on my new websites, there were more people looking for houses to rent than there were houses, the pound was at $2.00, etc. When we both got hit by a flu in the last two weeks of our trip we gave up looking for a rental house and just limped home to Santa Fe.

Well, it turns out that it was a very good thing that we did not choose 2008 for our year in England. This only dawned on me a couple of weeks ago – if we had rented a house and spent this year in England we would have been there for a year of exceptional rain and I would have been bitching about it to everyone! Even the Brits are complaining about the weather. All year long I have been hearing about the weather and somewhat beating myself up for not getting it together to do the move – and not putting 2 + 2 together!

Sometimes procrastinating is the right thing to do. We were lucky.

Now we are not sure we will do that “year in England”. We are thinking of leaving Santa Fe and moving to Boulder – that will suck up the next year. I would like to spend next winter in the south of France. Steve has been working on his French for years and it is about time we put it to the test. Planning two to three months away, which we have done several times in the last ten years, is easy compared to a year away. I don’t have to pack up and move out of the house, don’t have to bring the cat (but it would be nice to have him). We’ll see.

We had a long, hot summer in Santa Fe. Temperatures were in the low 90s for about six weeks. Sometimes it was a bit too hot (we don’t have air conditioning in our house), but it was always cool in the morning when we go for our walks. And it cooled in the late afternoon when it rained. We got a few very heavy rain storms. Summer ended abruptly at the beginning of September. We even had some “overcast all day” days – England weather. Now it is perfect. Cold at night (in the mid-40s), up into the mid-70s during the day, sunny, sunny, sunny. This won’t last and winter is around the corner, but for now I am lapping up the great weather.

An Overview of the English Weather for 2008, so far

You can read descriptions of the weather by month and year. Met Office – Weather for 2008. These are excerpts for each month.

January – “It was the 4th warmest January for England in the areal series back to 1914. … Sunshine … above average across some south-eastern areas of the UK.”

February – “Rainfall generally below average across the UK, but well above average across NW Scotland, with some stations recording over 200 % of average rainfall. Sunshine generally well above average, with England, Wales and the UK all having their sunniest February in the areal series back to 1929.”

March – “Rainfall generally above average and well above average across parts of East Anglia and SE England. Provisionally, the wettest March over England since 1981… .”

April – “Rainfall generally above average, and well above average across parts of eastern Scotland and north-east England.”

May – “Provisionally, the warmest May in the series back to 1914 for the UK, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Rainfall well above average across southern areas of England and Wales … ”

June – “Rainfall generally close to or above average across much of the UK, but below average across some southern and central areas of England.”

July – “Rainfall was generally above or well above average across Northern Ireland, England and Wales, but close to average across East Anglia. ”

August – “It was a very wet month across much of the UK with widespread flooding reported in Northern Ireland and parts of eastern Scotland.”

We will see how the fall turns out.

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

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