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September 2003 - Bad Weather

If I was to suggest that the subject I've chosen for this month's enthralling edition of Nick Harvey's Comment was the weather, I suspect that most of you out there would accuse me of not being able to think of a REAL subject and o falling back on the good old British standby.

Well, accuse away, I don't care in the slightest. I'm going to talk about the weather anyway, regardless of any criticism, of any kind.

I don't expect for a moment that you're going to believe me, but I was going to talk about the weather in any case.

I mean, it's a very important subject, just the sort of thing you've come to expect Nick Harvey to do an in-depth analysis on. I hear that my in-depth investigations are now becoming quite famous around many parts of the world.

The other evening, I'm told that there was a discussion about how important Comment is to the world, in a pub in the Northern Territories of Australia.

I really must ask my relatives to drink somewhere else!

Anyway, back at the plot, the weather, that's the topic for discussion this time round, and I now intend to enthral you for paragraph after paragraph!

Hence, my sitting here writing this on a warmer than average Bank Holiday weekend, at the end of a record breaking August, the hottest for many a long year.

I have this theory you see, about the total amount of water which encircles the earth. I reckon there's a fixed amount which never changes; it just moves about a lot and, at present, it's doing it in a somewhat less than predictable way.

Wasn't it one of the Goons who once said "Everyone's gotta be somewhere"? Well, I reckon that all the water's gotta be somewhere as well.

When I were a lad at school, we used to have holidays in August and it rained for the whole month. We never had sunshine in August, that always came in September and into October, once you went back to school.

Now, the whole system's become totally different.

I'm sure we get exactly the same amount of rain, it's just that nobody's noticed that the world has shifted round a few degrees on its axis, so we get it at the wrong time of year and in all the wrong places.

It's usually October, nowadays, when we get the mixture of the March winds and April showers. If you think back, we had the August sunshine back in April and May of this year.

Snow always used to come in January and February; now, if we get it at all, it's in November and March. Must get down to Joe Coral's later and put a few bob on a white Easter next year; I might manage to get some quite good odds.

The other half of my theory, has to do with WHERE all this rain and snow comes down. That seems to have shifted around as well. And, THAT'S the reason for all the droughts.

Our forefather engineers went to a great deal of trouble in building reservoirs in all the right places, such that they were all carefully positioned right under all the downpours.

The trouble now is, that the downpours have all moved and the lazy privatised Water Companies can't be bothered to move the reservoirs so they're still under the rain.

I mean, it's a bit like having a leak in your roof and putting the bucket three feet to the left of it isn't it?

Now, if I can go to the trouble of moving the bucket, with my bad back, you'd think with all the thousands of Water Company staff, it shouldn't be that difficult to move half a dozen or so reservoirs into more logical positions wouldn't you?

Oh yes, to digress for a moment for those of you who've been following the story since last March, I HAVE still got the bad back. I put it down to the wet weather personally. I suspect it'll be perfectly all right in December, when we have the next heatwave.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the exact positioning of the elements was what I'd managed to ramble vaguely in the direction of, wasn't it.

They keep going on about global warming being caused by this hole in the ozone layer over the Poles don't they?

Well, I reckon there's always been a hole, it's just that until recently, science and technology haven't known where to look for it. Now, when Poland was a communist country, I'm sure there was a hole over it then as well; but the reds were too busy building bombs to look for it.

In any case, who in their right mind would go looking for ozone in the middle of a continent? Everyone knows you only get ozone at the seaside.

That's where the confusion started I reckon. If they were to send the scientists to Weston-super-Mare with a stout pair of walking boots, once they'd walked out far enough towards Wales, they'd find the ozone all right.

At least, I think it's the smell of ozone. I've certainly never smelt that smell in the middle of Bristol, before it was processed and piped to the coast.

The other bit that the scientists seem to have got totally wrong is that they're looking for ozone thousands of miles up in the atmosphere, when we all know it's at sea level. No common sense, these boffins!

So anyway, to get back to the theory again. There's a fixed amount of water; and at any point in time it's either up there, in the clouds; or down here, in my bucket.

The total amount never changes, all you've got to do is predict WHEN and WHERE it's going to move in a vaguely vertical direction from it's home up there to it's other home down here.

If all the stupid scientific boffins were to concentrate all their efforts on just getting that little task completed properly, then the rest of us could get on with the exercise of collecting the damn stuff when it fell.

You issue every member of the population with two buckets and a bicycle. Then we all sit in front of the television and wait.

At the point when a storm is due, the TV weatherman tells us when and where it's going to happen, and we all pedal off to catch it. Easy!

Once we've caught enough for our own personal consumption, we cycle off to the mis-placed reservoir and dump the remainder in there for the communal benefit of those poor people with a flat tyre or a hole in their bucket.

As I'm sure you'll appreciate from the detail, I've been working on this answer to the drought problem for many years now, which is why it's so finely tuned to the exact requirements of the population.

The problem I'm having, however, is convincing the authorities that it's the right thing to do to solve all our problems. They keep giving me funny looks when I explain it.

One of them even suggested that the best place for me might be in a hospital. I thought it was very nice of him to be so concerned about my bad back, but told him I was quite well enough to pedal along with both buckets; and in any case it wouldn't be fair of me not to take part in the scheme, seeing as I'd thought it up.

For some reason, he then got cross.

Something about having more important things to do than talk to people like me. If I hadn't been in the middle of explaining about where he was going wrong looking for the ozone layer, I might have heard him properly; but I'm sure he said something about a metal hospital.

Presumably that's where they fit metal braces to your back so you can carry the buckets more easily.

I think all of you who read this should write to your local Water Companies and explain the plan to them in more detail.

Surely, if they get lots of us explaining it, they'll eventually realise what a superb solution to their problem they've been missing out on. Up to now, you see, they don't seem to take me very seriously for some reason.

When I was explaining it to one official the other week, he kept shouting "Crank, crank".

I'm not sure whether he was worried about the noise the buckets would make if they banged against the handlebars or whether, being a technical sort of guy, he was expressing concern over the gearing of the bicycle pedals with all the weight of the water.

Anyway, I'd better get along now, I've got a nuclear physicist coming round in a few minutes to discuss my theory of splitting the atom with a pair of nutcrackers.

I hope you've enjoyed this in-depth analysis of the world's weather patterns.

There, I told you that it'd be interesting, but you didn't believe me at the beginning did you? It just goes to prove how wrong you can be, you see!

If I'm not out standing under a shower, the next edition of this load of old cobblers will be coming your way at the beginning of October, so I hope you'll be around to be enthralled again then.

In the meantime, I'd better go and check the weather forecast. Right, I'm off, where's me bucket?

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