Ruby Murray and the absent blogpost writer

It’s been ages since I wrote any blogposts.

The summer seems to have flown past and autumn is nearly finished too.

Here in the Yorkshire Wolds we had snow flurries a couple of days ago and more is forecast for tomorrow.

Michael and I have been celebrating our Ruby wedding anniversary this summer. We were married on the last Saturday of July in 1976, the year of one of the UK’s most memorable heat waves. The sky was a cloudless, vivid blue until half an hour before the ceremony when a freak shower dampened the dust and freshened the roses beside the path to the church. Otherwise everything went to plan and we had a lovely wedding day.

Before the wedding, my dad and I were alone and waiting for the ancient, hired Bentley to come and take us to the church. In our nervousness we ran out of things to talk about, so, he in his wedding suit and me in my frilly frock, we sat and played our favourite piano duets until the car turned up.

wedding-1976

I wrote this next bit for my Family History blog but as you probably don’t read that I’ll post it here as well.

The hot weather started in mid-June and lasted until the end of August. It included 15 consecutive days where a maximum temperature of 32C or more was recorded somewhere in the UK. It was one of the most prolonged heat waves within living memory and it lead to a severe drought.

Below average rainfall was recorded from May 1975 to August 1976 making summer 1976 (June, July, August) the 2nd driest summer on record (dating back to 1910) behind 1995.

Parts of the south west went 45 days without any rain in July and August. The hot, dry weather affected domestic water supplies leading to widespread water rationing and queuing for water at standpipes in the street.

The National Water Council took out full page ads in newspapers on how to ‘beat the drought’ advising steps such as only taking a bath if absolutely necessary and using no more than five inches of water.

As crops failed and food prices subsequently increased, a Drought Act was passed by the government and plans to tanker water in from abroad were discussed. Heath and forest fires broke out in parts of southern England, with 50,000 trees being destroyed in Dorset alone. Massive swarms of seven-spotted ladybirds occurred across the country, with the British Entomological and Natural History Society estimating that by late July 23.65 billion of them were swarming across the southern and eastern coasts of England. The population explosion occurred because a warm spring had meant there were many aphids, the ladybirds’ food prey; as the hot weather dried the plants on which the aphids fed, the aphid populations collapsed, causing the ladybirds to swarm to try to find food elsewhere.

The drought broke in the last week of August shortly after the appointment of Dennis Howells as the government Minister for Drought with severe thunderstorms bringing rain to some places for the first time in weeks. September and October 1976 were both very wet months.

After our wedding ceremony Michael and I returned to our flat in East London and a couple of days later set off on our honeymoon to the Isle of Wight where we stayed in a nice hotel and thought we were really living it up by drinking bottles of Corida white wine. (Yes, if you’re of a certain age you’ll shudder too.)

Thanks for reading my blog today. Hopefully it won’t be another four months before I write a blogpost but just in case, hope you have a very Happy Christmas!

wedding-1976-2

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6 thoughts on “Ruby Murray and the absent blogpost writer

  1. It’s difficult to even conceptualise the idea of a drought in the UK. I’ve always imagined it to be mild summers, compared to our Australian summer season.
    Congratulations on your anniversary, Cathy. I hope you had a great time celebrating. Great photos too 😀

    Like

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