Here in York, August is the wettest month. Followed closely by November but, nevertheless, August outdoes Fireworks Month by 68mm to 65.

The number of August days with any rain in them, however, is fewer: 14 rather than 17. It’s worth noting, though, that none of our months have fewer than 13 days with some rain (‘some’ here being a hundredth of an inch, or 0.25mm – hardly enough to ruin your garden party.)

August rain simply falls heavier – because warm August air is capable of holding more moisture.

Oh – and some stray tomatoes probably didn’t help.

Raindrops resemble tomatoes more than you might think: they are flattened spheres with a ‘skin’ of surface tension that ‘breaks’ on impact with anything – for example your least-favourite politician in the stocks.

When there are fewer people about, the street art is more noticeable (and it’s easier to get a clear shot.)

A giant deckchair materialised in St Sampson’s Square on Yorkshire Day. Just because. And yes that’s an actual person, for scale.

I love a shot of the steps up to the City Walls.

As I walked around in it last week on my way to the bookshop, I couldn’t help noticing that the mediaeval streets seemed to drain more effectively than many of the modern ones.

The path to Trinity Church and a tree which, like me, appreciates the rain.

The return of a Great Institution

Fulford Show is back!

At least, in part – the outdoor part. No ‘Midsomer Murders’ veggie, produce and craft competitions this year, because they take place indoors and, by the time August Bank Holiday rolls around (OK so it’s only a fortnight, but still…) there may be ‘restrictions’ – again.

So this year we shall be out on the field. I shall be walking through early morning mist to help put up gazebos – albeit fewer than usual. Then I have the Community Orchard stall to look forward to – and a turn round all the other stalls to see what’s on offer.

A new venture for the show this year is the ‘give-and-take’ – bring along any things you think others may use, and help yourself to any you fancy.

The Japanese drummers will be there, and the band – the New Notes – who played two years ago. So will the food, the bar and the Sports – including Fancy Dress and Tug o’War.

I’m raising a glass of wicked home-brew (not for exhibition this year) to the success of Fulford Show!

Places and non-places

Many years ago I used to follow architecture blogs. Not because I had any expertise in architecture, but because at least two of them (I’d been led there when participating in a discussion group about the future of Energy – specifically, where are we going to get enough of it to carry on being a Civilisation) were honestly predicting some sort of imminent collapse, and I was keen to find out how best to avoid such a thing. Aren’t we all?

In the course of all this I learned about the first ‘electric cars’ and why they died (sabotage, and about a hundred years ago now), Oswald Spengler, Peak Oil, the USA’s ‘hardiness zones’ (basically, the way climate is classified for anyone who wants to grow things), and ‘non-places’.


There are an awful lot of non-places, and architects exercise themselves enormously on designing them – and trying to avoid doing so. They are the places where nobody wants to be – we just want to get through.

Airports. Car parks. Everything in a ‘shopping mall’ except the insides of the actual shops.

It had never occurred to me before but the main shopping street in our city (York) is a bit of a non-place – pedestrianised though it may be, and graced with proper trees. Two yeas ago there were even giant concrete lego-shaped bollards with ‘stay, shop, socialise’ emblazoned on them – until the virus came along and put the kybosh on that sort of thing. But it’s… kind of flat there. Even when they organise a farmers’ market on it, or (I kid you not) the occasional Viking tent.

But last week as I walked through, something took me by surprise. Something you’d never expect to find in a main shopping street.

I couldn’t get this in the picture but there were actually a pair of lads using one of them for the purpose Nature intended.

Genius – an instant transformation from a non-place into a proper Place!

My only regret was that I was alone, a bit tired and hungry after a shift at the bookshop, and that the next time I came into town the tables had vanished as mysteriously as they’d appeared.

However, there are still the ones in Rowntree Park…