Went on a hike today in Thurstaston on the Wirral, a peninsula across the River Mersey from Liverpool. It was extremely windy and Thud and I got beat up by it. We stopped for a Mars Bar break on a bench with a fabulous view of the Dee Estuary with the sunny Welsh hills beyond.
England never looked so lovely to me; pheasants meandered in a field below, swallows bobbed and weaved overhead, cows lazily munched their way over the extremely close cropped grass in a nearby pasture, and a small brook babbled in the background. I commented on how green and lush the grass was and how silly I thought it was for people to have lawns in California. Thud agreed and said how he quite liked the landscaping style a lot of Californians are now leaning towards of native, drought tolerant plant species, adding that it would be like planting a vineyard in the field in front of us...then having to build a greenhouse around it. Rain threatened a little so we continued on our trek.
With the parish church of St. Bartholomew coming into view, we knew that we were close to the end of our walk. It was then that we noticed, as we looked across the estuary to see if Wales was still bathed in sunlight, something very familiar, to me at least, on the horizon that we had not expected to see: a vineyard. We climbed over the gate that led to the field of vines to get a closer look. Indeed, it was a vineyard of only about 2 acres, I would suppose, but a vineyard none the less. We were both stunned. It seemed so out of place.
I have been home for a week now and have seen the sun for at most a few hours, total. Unless these vines, whatever varietal they are, have the ability to ripen in tundra like conditions they are going to produce grapes with some seriously high acid. I do not think the cultivation of vines in more northerly areas is an indication of global warming. Instead, it is more likely that new hybridised varietals are being produced that are more cold tolerant and less sunlight needy. At least that's what I believe as I sit here with a woolly jumper on, getting paler by the second and in desperate need of a mug of hot chocolate. Oh, to be in England now that May is here!