I have posted comments about the changing climate before but it seems apposite to do so again today. Here in beautiful Ruislip the temperature is a balmy 13c, though the winds are pretty lively right now as we pick up the tail end of "storm Frank". (Major storms are now named by the Met Office and this is the fifth big one of the season). People have been sitting outside cafes during the day. There have been no night frosts. Daffodils are appearing, some even flowering. We might be in April.
The contrast with the north of the country could not be starker. The storms have battered Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire with huge amounts of rain that have caused extensive flooding. Frank is now doing its worst in Scotland. Bridges are down, city centres like Leeds and York flooded and aeriel views show huge shimmering inland seas over the lower ground. Defences based on "once in a hundred year" events have failed and it is apparent such events are now to be expected every few years.
Two years ago I was writing on exactly the same theme - the devastating rains (though Southern England took the brunt of it then) and the mildness of the weather. December does not seem to be part of winter any more and autumn is changing to be the stormy season. Yet popular culture continues to associate this time of year with snow and stillness. It gets harder and harder to imagine the world of Good King Wenceslas - deep and crisp snow, cruel frosts and cold clear nights. It would be a great shame if the young generation never know the joy of building a snowman.