Yesterday I went to a Conservative garden party at Moulton and Whaplode — and for readers who may be unfamiliar with the topography of Lincolnshire, that’s close by Spalding, and in the South Holland & the Deepings constituency of John Hayes MP, who was also present. He gave the vote of thanks, and told us a bit about his (and the Coalition’s) plans for dramatically extending apprenticeships and vocational education. These initiatives should reduce unemployment, make trained applicants available for British industry, and dramatically improve the life chances of people who might otherwise end up as long-term unemployed.
But what bad luck for Moulton and Whaplode. We have had a brilliant spring with warm, dry weather. Then, just as they’ve planned a garden party, and after a great deal of work setting up tents and awnings and what-all, the heavens opened and we got more rain than we’ve seen in the previous three months. And not just rain. There was also a blustery wind flapping at the canvas and snapping at the guy-ropes.
But that was where the Dunkirk Spirit kicked in. Are we down-hearted? No! Are we going to have a good time? Yes! Fortunately there was enough space under canvas for the assembled company to keep dry (more or less). And we tucked in to cucumber sandwiches (I was assured they were British cucumbers — I don’t know whether organic or not). And cakes. And Strawberries and cream. And warming, comforting cups of tea.
The rain, of course, is not all bad. There was more than one farmer at the event, and farmers across the East Midlands have been desperate for rain. I couldn’t be everywhere, but I can report heavy and sustained rain through June 12th in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire (apparently Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk fared less well). Let’s hope that some of the drought-threatened crops will be saved by the downpour.