It really is British Summer Time!

The weather has been fantastic recently, making it feel like we’ve fast-forwarded into summer (and a proper summer at that). The only giveaway that we’re still in spring is the sharp drop in temperature overnight, back down to near freezing for some rural spots along with some morning mist and fog.

So why has it been so warm? The spring heatwave has been driven by high pressure bringing warm air from North Africa, across the Mediterranean, over Europe and eventually to us. But the warm southeasterly winds don’t explain why inland Aberdeenshire has been so hot. That is due to something called the Föhn effect, as warm air is driven up over the Grampians it loses moisture and becomes even warmer in the lee of the mountain.

So warm in fact, that Scotland has seen its March temperature record smashed on three successive days. On Tuesday afternoon, Aboyne in Aberdeenshire reached 23.6C, beating Cromdale in Moray’s 23.2C set on Monday afternoon. Just the day before, Fyvie Castle in Aberdenshire recorded 22.8C, the first to beat a March temeprature record that had stood for 55 years. Prior to last weekend, the record March temperature in Scotland had stood at 22.2C, set at Gordon Castle in Moray in 1957 and again at Strachan in Kincardineshire in 1965.

Talking of records, sadly none were broken during my Sport Relief mile in Glasgow. But I had a great time doing the mile with Ethan in his buggy, along with my sister and her children. I was so impressed by how many people had turned out for the event and the sunny weather gave the event a real carnival spirit.

Unfortunately it looks as though we’ll be back to more seasonal weather come the start of April, so enjoy the heat while you can, it will be at least 10 degrees colder and much cloudier soon enough. But it doesn’t look as though we’re going to get a great deal of rain any time soon, so drought could well be an issue for many of us this year.

If you’re wondering what the weather will bring for the Easter break then I’ll be posting a forecast soon. All I will say for now is that a White Easter happens more often than a White Christmas…

Why do we change the clocks?

The clocks go forward this weekend, but forget those stories about farmers in Scotland, the real reason we keep fiddling with the time is thanks to a horse rider and the Germans.

The idea of British Summer Time was first proposed over 100 years ago by keen horse-rider William Willett, who was incensed at the waste of useful daylight first thing in the morning during summer. Willett spent the rest of his life fighting to get acceptance of his time-shifting scheme. He died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back BST. But by then Britain and Germany were fighting each other in the First World War and any system that could save fuel and money was worth trying. Germany introduced the system in 1916 and a few weeks later Britain followed suit on 21st May, and we have been ‘changing the clocks’ ever since.

So why don’t we stay on BST all year round? Actually, back in 1968 we did exactly that and for 3 years we marked British Standard Time. That wasn’t the first experiment to shift the clocks in winter; during the Second World War, Britain adopted Double British Summer Time, with the clocks one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in winter and two hours ahead in summer. But neither experiment proved a complete success.

Even today we still cannot agree on whether daylight saving is a good thing or not. Over the past two decades there have been eight failed attempts to change clock times. Each year proposals are made to try Double British Summer Time again, bringing the UK in line with much of Europe. On the plus side we’d have longer, brighter evenings, but on the downside winter mornings would be even darker, and more dangerous for youngsters travelling to school.

In the meantime, get ready to change all your clocks and don’t be late this weekend if you’re taking part in Sport Relief. See you in Glasgow!

Spot of bother

If you have noticed my absence online recently, it’s because we had a spot of bother in the family. Or rather lots of spots!

Ethan came home from nursery last week with a little rash, which quickly turned into (you guessed it) chickenpox. Or at least that’s what we thought it was but turns out it may have been hand, foot and mouth disease. Either way, it’s some form of viral pox! Luckily he has coped really well and hasn’t scratched too much, instead he pokes and prods at his spots (maybe scratching is something you learn when you’re older?). We had made lots of plans to meet up with friends over the next few days but everything had to be cancelled, except for my husband going on a friend’s stag night of course…

As a mum it’s horrible to see your wee boy get progressively spottier and it’s pretty gross when the spots start going scabby and blistering over. My friend commented she could barely look at her son he was so hideous! After days of being stuck inside we ventured out for a quick walk in the buggy, with his Snoozeshade in place so nobody could see my spotty boy, just the little spotty hand waving out the side!

And in case you are wondering why Ethan’s pox meant I couldn’t get online much other than a quick tweet, it’s because he turned into a very clingy toddler and I didn’t get a moment’s peace (not even when I needed the loo!). He hasn’t been sleeping well at night but I am hoping now he’s nearly back to normal we can finally get a decent night’s sleep. In the meantime thanks for all the top twitter tips. Bicarbonate of soda baths, calamine lotion and sudocrem were invaluable, along with lots of cuddles.

All of which had to be used on my husband when he develped hand, foot and mouth the following week!

Emotional farewell

I finally got round to having some farewell drinks with some of my favourite ex-colleagues at GMTV/Daybreak last Friday night. It was so lovely to see everyone and enjoy a few glasses of fizz. Well done to Steve Hargrave for a lovely speech – he made me quite emotional! And huge thanks for the amazing card and gifts. I had such a great time it took me all weekend to recover… Partying was definitely easier in my early twenties!

This week it looks like winter is biting back after the balmy spring weather last week. Meteorologically speaking we might be in spring but March can be a wild month so I wouldn’t take any bets on the weather for the rest of this month, other than to say it’ll be changeable!