Something in the air

PUBLISHED: 14:15 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

THE wind of change is blowing our way. Can you feel it? There is the upcoming political upheaval, of course, but only Tony Blair, his family and close cronies know when that will break. One thing we do know for sure is that delegates to the Labour Party C

THE wind of change is blowing our way. Can you feel it?

There is the upcoming political upheaval, of course, but only Tony Blair, his family and close cronies know when that will break.

One thing we do know for sure is that delegates to the Labour Party Conference starting in Manchester on Sunday will be welcoming - or otherwise - the beleaguered Tony as Prime Minister for the last time. He won't be in top spot by this time next year.

But that is an awful long time in politics. First he has to weather what could be a nasty storm awaiting him at the weekend.

If Mr Blair is a believer in coincidences then he will not have been pleased to learn that Hurricane Gordon is heading towards us.

Out of sight in the mid Atlantic, this bundle of mischief has been playing havoc with the wave tops and a few passing ships for a while but no one really heard about it until Tuesday when there was the news that, a little unusually for such a natural phenomena although not unknown, it was turning towards us.

Gordon, which has been blustering at 85mph or more, will lose some of his power as he travels north but it is reckoned that there will still be plenty of oomph in the tail end of the old boy when he reaches these shores.

Expect severe gales soon, warn the weather forecasters, which funnily enough is what the political commentators have been suggesting in a different sort of way for a while.

Curiously, Gordon is expected to bring some hot air with him so temperatures should rise through much of the country. Could Manchester be one of the main places where the tropical blast is felt the most?

Whatever actually happens, rest assured that like most things it will peter out to nothing in the end.

Talking about the weather, it seems that the quintessential English garden and lawn is under threat due to climate change.

The sort of struggles faced by gardeners in the last 18 months of drought which were compounded by July's heatwave - the hottest month since records began - could become commonplace in the future, we are warned by government boffins.

So much for the therapeutic benefits of gardening - there's all manner of things for the green-fingered brigade to worry about.

The growing season for plants is a month longer than it was 100 years ago. There are worries about budding and leaf emergence, lower yields in fruit trees, a drastic reduction in soil moisture levels, and a rise in the severity of attacks by pests and diseases.

It's enough to make most people give up and concrete over their plot. But not the hardier variety of gardeners.

So could the emergence of hotter, drier conditions mean the disappearance of begonias and hollyhocks from our home plots?

What could replace them? I wouldn't mind having a pineapple tree growing in mine, a few orange trees and a palm tree or two. That would save going to the shops to buy coconut for the home-made curry. And there would be no worry about what to do for dessert!

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