Please excuse the bad pun (that’s if you got it, that is). There have been recent reports regarding the low rainfall in the UK this winter, and the likelihood of a drought this summer, similar to the one in 1976. I was with friends today at the Arlington Reservoir in East Sussex and took the opportunity of taking some photos of the water’s edge to observe the levels. When I say, observe, I am no scientist, but hopefully the images may give some indication to those who do know. I was only about 8 in 1976, but I remember the long hot summer, and dancing in the warm rain when the drought broke.

During the walk we visited the hide part way round, called The Osprey Hide. A bird-watcher, generally called a ‘twitcher’ I believe (hope I’m not offending any bird-watchers here), was at the hide watching a number of Wigeon settled in a sheltered part of the lake. We had a conversation about the water levels and possible drought prediction and he reported that a gentleman he had been talking to, who had visited the reservoir in January, said it was then the lowest he had seen it for 40 years. The water level has risen again recently, but only a little, so we may still be at risk of drought measures this spring. The gentleman bird-watcher wished to remain anonymous but kindly allowed me to take his photo. There may be a ‘magnificent beard’ theme developing here (see the Philip Ardagh interview).