“It was so warm we had to take our pullovers off on the golf course.” This statement was made to me today by an Aboyne resident who had been enjoying the full benefit of a record temperature for February on Deeside.
Oh, yes, Deeside is the place to be in February.
What is particularly satisfying for a Scot reading this article (from today’s Times) is the final statement:
Despite the unusually high temperatures, the southeast of England could have frost over the weekend where the skies are clear.
This is no more than people living in the southeast of England deserve. You can’t be too careful these days, so I should make clear that is intended as a wry, mildly humorous statement, not intended to offend those members of my wife’s family who live there.
You can also see from the article that temperatures last peaked at this dizzying level for February back in 1897. I thought, therefore, it might be interesting to have a look at what else of historical interest was happening in 1897. I leave it to you to spot the similarities with the 21st century.
Here are some 1897 facts:
• Lord Salisbury is Prime Minister (of a coalition government)
• Marcel Proust meets Jean Lorrain in a pistol duel – they both miss and so the world doesn’t miss A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, a novel that many followers of this blog will have read in the original French
• Benin (Nigeria) is put to the torch by the British Army’s Benin Expedition. and the Benin Bronzes are carried back to London.
• Queen Victoria celebrates her accession to the throne with her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Free postal delivery is granted to every household as part of the celebrations
• the Tate Gallery opens in London
• British troops are besieged by Pashtun tribesmen in Malakand, Pakistan
• the Automobile Club of Great Britain (later known as the Royal Automobile Club) is founded in London
• the first horseless, electric, taxicabs begin operating in London, swiftly followed by the first conviction for drink-driving given to London taxi driver George Smith
• physician Ronald Ross discovers malarial parasites, thus proving the mosquitoes did it
• a mill in Swansea, becomes the first building in the UK to be constructed from reinforced concrete
• the board game Ludo is patented
• Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula is published
• Anthony Eden, later Prime Minister, is born, as is the politician, Aneurin Bevan
• John Laurie, actor, famous for his role as Private Frazer in the BBC series Dad’s Army is born (“We’re doomed, ah tell ye! Doomed!”)
1897, then, an interesting year, when people in Aboyne said “Warm for February” as they chatted in the paper shop, adding “makes a change from talking about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”
2019, then, an interesting year, when people in Aboyne said “Warm for February” as they chatted in the paper shop, adding “makes a change from talking about Brexit and the Irish back stop.”
Finally adding, as they left the shop, “Do you think I’ll need my woollies on the golf course?” then, reflecting on Brexit, screaming to the world outside “We’re doomed, ah tell ye! Doomed!”