Fruit, wind, and El Nino bollocks

It’s all a bit fecund here at the moment. When it comes to soft fruit, with the laudable exceptions of cherries and blackberries, ripeness tends to happen all at once. Prunes, mirabelles, greengages and damsons have all (as usual) reached deliciously sweet readiness in the last few days.

But still, it remains true that with deciduous fruit and grapes, every year is different. The apple and pear crop here this year is very poor – in terms of both quality and quantity – and for the first time ever, the Quinces are sparse on both my trees. (Typical innit? The first year after I find a retailer who wants my organic quinces, they bloody fail.)

Nevertheless, the two vines at Sloggers’ Roost (for table grapes, not wine) have produced, after a poor start, huge bunches comprising large fruit bursting with moelleux flavour.


One has differing Winters and Springs, but I cannot remember a triad of seasons like the last three in south west France.

Winter was mild and very long, Spring was cold, wet and tedious – and now Summer has been both dry and cool. Normally, after early July the Lot benefits from prevailing south-easterly winds that bring hot weather from North Africa, and a large dollop of Saharan sand for your car on the odd occasions when it rains.

But not this year. During May and June, the wind came entirely from the north west. For the last few weeks, the direction has been steadfastly north east. I’m not complaining: the temperatures of 25-27°C coupled with cooling breezes have made July and August an idyllic climate under which the farmers predictably moan, but Brit residents thrive.

However, the whole thing feels very odd. Long hours of relatively mild sun with drying winds have created a smashing tan (obtained effortlessly) for me – but huge cracks in the garden ground, the like of which I have never previously experienced. We’ve had a fly epidemic of biblical proportions, and grass turning brown as if the temperatures might have been 40 rather than 26.

The fashionable culprit is El Nino, but I’m not sure I buy into that totally. For a kick-off, the definition of El Nino is, at best, fuzzy. This one is representative of the genre:

‘El Nino occurs when temperatures in the Pacific Ocean rise due to a change in the normal wind direction, which causes extreme weather patterns across the world. While it is a naturally occurring event, scientists believe that greenhouse gases and subsequent global warming are intensifying its effects’

Trust me, I wouldn’t want to base a business on this kind of fluffy information. Consider:

  • Why does the normal wind direction change, and
  • Why do Pacific ocean  temperatures suddenly decide to rise because of it?
  • What TF do greenhouse gases have to do with it?
  • Why does all this produce ‘extreme weather patterns across the world’

To that list I could also add:

  • Why in October 2015 did almost every climate “expert” predict a deep, cold winter for southern Europe ‘because of’ El Nino, when the exact opposite happened?
  • Why has the French Meteo – normally very reliable – been unable to predict anything of any value for much of 2016?

I have posted many times to say how dysfunctional the entire climate/weather/CO2/warming/cooling/sea levels “debate” is. Not only do I not understand the so-called science involved; I flatly refuse to accept that anyone can really put together a track-record to show that he or she has Got It Right consistently.

All I can say is that, as an empiricist, it raises the following hypotheses in my brain:

  1. Someone is dicking around with the weather.
  2. Nobody is dicking around with the weather.
  3. It’s all Homo sapiens’ fault.
  4. Homo sapiens has fuck all to do with any of it.
  5. El Nino is a Mexican bandit who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.
  6. El Nino works for Goldman Sachs & supplies Blankfein with the kind of weather forecasts Vladimir Putin would die to have.

Sleep well.


Earlier at The Slog: Why Brexit may never happen