Why I am praying for rain in Sussex
We are a right bunch us Brits aren't we? We moan like Hilda Ogden about the lousy weather that usually plagues these islands but the minute we go more than a week without rain, we lose our minds.
It is fair to say that while millions of our compatriots are treating this current prolonged dry, warm spell like a supersized Mediterranean break, there are even more of us who say a little prayer each night for a spot of rain. Just a splash would do me, even at night would be fine - anything to stop me thrashing around my king-sized bed like a floundering Pollock.
It isn’t all bad mind you: in a bid to avoid third degree sunburn I have dusted off my scruffy old bucket hat, a garment I picked up for less than a tenner and have now discovered that I am an accidental trendsetter. The headgear which was once the preserve of grey grandads who wore beige socks with their brown sandals, while sat in a deckchair on Skegness seafront is now back in fashion thanks to that over sized Mancunian delinquent Liam Gallagher. Being on trend is a rare experience for me, one which I am enjoying but I would give it up to see my garden turn green again.
In the grand scheme of things, wanting a verdant lawn above anything else during a period when there is so much chaos both here and abroad does seem more than a little excessive but an English garden is a window to its owner’s soul and nobody wants to be regarded as withered and yellow.
But the problem is that being English means that you feel an inner urge to play by the rules and nobody really wants to have the greenest back garden in the street as that would be an admission that you are using water recklessly.
Even though I have moved away from the Promised Land of the North West and am not affected by the hosepipe ban which is set to be imposed on the region, I am still reluctant to use excessive quantities of water on my garden. I am not sure whether this is a hangover from childhood, when I was hectored into finishing off my crispy pancake with cries of ‘think of all the starving children in Africa”, but I do suffer from First World guilt and keeping your shrubs moist is hardly the most prudent use of the source of all life.
Earlier in the summer I did, albeit very briefly, get my sprinkler out of the shed in a bid to revive my arid lawn but I was so consumed by guilt that this was a short lived experiment - one from which my conscience has yet to fully recover. I probably would’ve felt less guilty had I kicked a lame kitten into a canal.
We are now being warned that as nation we need to start reducing our water consumption to 85 litres of water per person a day, which is the same as it was in 1969. Nowadays we use an average of 141 litres each on a daily basis which, on the face of it, seems excessively high to me.
As populations grow and the climate continues to grow warmer it seems to be a no brainer that we will have to use water more sparingly than we currently do.
We will just have to get used to yellow lawns.