Friday, August 10, 2007

An Aurelian Laments

This global warming lark... In a quiet and entirely selfish way, I was rather looking forward to it getting under way, restoring the British climate to something more agreeable, cladding the hills with vineyards and olive groves, dispelling our native (internal and external) gloom and, above all, filling the woods and meadows with ever increasing numbers of butterflies, including species that have been poised on the far side of the Channel for years, waiting for things to look up. Instead, what happens? The grimmest, wettest summer in decades, if not centuries, and the worst butterfly year I can remember. Even now that it's suddenly turned seasonally warm (in London anyway), there's nothing out there, nothing... Oh well, I have my memories of these.
The warm weather, by the way, is the reason my brain has more or less ceased to work - don't expect anything meaty from me today.


  1. Ah, Nige, I wish I could bequeath you some of my butterflies. I planted a buddleia bush that's just gone insane this summer and the butterflies are rioting drunkenly around it. We have loads of monarchs, but I've also seen lots of fritillaries, admirals, and my favorite: A "Baltimore." Like Edgar Allan Poe, he apparently decided to leave his namesake haunts and flit up to Philadelphia for awhile.

    Frank Wilson told me his impatiens have grown a foot tall -- usually they never get above a few inches. And I have this monstrous butterfly bush, plus black-eyed susans that are four feet tall -- only the sunflowers are higher. Dunno what's going on around here. Steroids in the soil?

  2. Ah Susan that sounds so enviable. Buddleia grows here like a weed - doesn't even need soil, it'll grow straight out of a brick wall or a building or anywhere - and the various strains have been in bloom all through the summer, but largely unvisited by butterflies - there just aren't any. Such a waste of nectar - and beauty...

  3. Good man, Nige. It's the Gaia hypothesis for curmudgeons: "I believe in global warming--bring it on!"

    Such flippant blasphemy points to a chink in the armour of Mr. Appleyard and his merry band of doomsdayers. If everyone agrees climate is cyclical and is always changing, the notion that a warming is a catastrophe we must do everything to prevent has to be based on the notion that our present climate is the best possible one, except I suppose for those rare but honest nutjobs who think the world is short of glaciers.

    You can see plenty of this here in the great frozen North. Our whole national mythology is built on a bitter, depression-inducing struggle against the Arctic cold, made bearable only by thoughts of a distant spring (and a mid-winter break in Florida). A few extra degrees would obviously make us happier, saner and probably richer. Yet what do the beautiful people rend their garments over in Starbucks these days? The threat to the polar bear. The polar bear is actually doing very well and is recording record high numbers, but it isn't supposed to be, which seems to be good enough for this crowd.