Reports from 2016
Zoo-archaeological material in Anglo-Saxon society: products of daily life
Animals bone discoveries and what they can tell us about daily life in that era.
Archaeologists have always been absorbed in the analysis of pots and coins, the durable detritus of past societies which gives us clues about the life and times of our forebears. As Glendale Local History Society heard at the first talk of the New Year, we can also learn a lot from bones, and in particular animal bones. We listened enthralled as our speaker, David Constantine, showed us just how much can be deduced from the mix of bones to be found in the waste heaps of ancient sites.
Using the example of a Roman site, he explained how heaps of bone debris from nearby kitchens showed the range of meats eaten and how meat was cut up in the cooking process. Even the remains of small snacks of meat might find their way into the drains below a toilet. And in one instance the abandonment of a building rather than its destruction could be deduced from a debris of bones from small mammals, the residue of owl pellets, which meant the building must have retained its roof for quite a while.
Sometimes it is possible to get an indication of pastoral farming practices from the age at which animals are killed, or from the bone deformations on draught animals such as oxen. In some cases, it is possible to work out that animals were killed not to eat but for their fur, as the skinning process leaves a debris of toes, claws and skulls. Bone debris can also give an indication of trading activity, especially where there is a large amount of similar material which does not seem to relate to the needs of a settlement. Some coastal sites have piles of fish debris, which seem to suggest some form of trading, and may give an indication of whether fish were dried before being traded. In Anglo-Saxon times, cuts of meat such as venison were distributed according to the status of a person. Which cuts are found at a particular site may then give a clue as to the status of the social group living in a homestead or settlement.
And bones are not the only material which survives from human use of animals. David showed us, using some actual examples, the way our ancestors collected and used antler material. Because this is much stronger than bone, such material was very valuable for tool use. We heard that there was evidence of trade between Pictish eastern Scotland and early Norwegian Viking societies because tools from reindeer antler have been found on Pictish sites, the reindeer being extinct in Scotland for millennia before then. Antlers are especially good for making combs because of their strength. Analysis of many sites around the Baltic Sea suggest that in Viking times, skilled antler-carvers travelled around from place to place, carving combs and other objects from antlers collected by local communities for this purpose, the combs being much easier to transport than the antlers.
Illustrated with a range of artefacts which David had made to test how our ancestors made use of bone material, we were introduced to the wide range of objects which can be made from bone and antler material, a practice continuing from the present until the invention of plastic. Needles, pins and spindle whorls were made for use in making cloth and clothes. Pens and pins for writing and drawing on parchment and wax were much needed in Anglo-Saxon times as the development of Christian monasteries led to the production of religious books and accounts. Boxes were also needed for precious objects such as the relics of saints. The famous Franks casket was made from whalebone, and is often said to come from Northumbria. Many objects were decorated with intricate carving, and some objects found may have only had an ornamental purpose. At the end of the talk, we were all deeply impressed both by the many skills of our ancestors and by the skill of the forensic archaeologist, whose ability to work out so much from ‘bits of bone’, as enthusiastically conveyed by our speaker, was hugely impressive.
The Greys' Tomb at Chillingham
On Wednesday 10th February 2016, Derek Cutts, Chairman of the Medieval Antiquities Society gave a fascinating illustrated talk to the Glendale Local History Society on the Grey tomb in Chillingham church with reference to other 15th century alabaster monuments in the north of England.
The extensively decorated and elaborately carved tomb is that of Ralph and Elizabeth Grey, with their animals at their feet, in the south chapel of Our Lady in Chillingham church, founded in the 12th century. The tomb is unusual in that the effigies are made of alabaster while the tomb chest is of sandstone. The remains of Ralph Grey lie in a vault beneath the tomb. The sandstone headboard features a central image of an angel and two each side are further angels lifting the souls of Ralph and Elizabeth to heaven. The fine canopy work features military themes with family heraldic badges. There are also images of saints in niches. At the bottom end of the tomb a late 16th century obelisk sits on a blank space where originally it is thought that vertical columns most likely supported a canopy that no longer exists.
Ralph Grey lived from 1406-1443. He married in 1410 Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Fitzhugh who was born at Ravensworth, Yorkshire, and died in 1445.
Lord Fitzhugh of Ravensworth was a close companion of Henry V, who made him a member of the Order of the Garter. The Greys also had Royal connections. Ralph’s father Thomas Grey (1384-1415) was born in the middle gatehouse of Alnwick Castle. He became Sheriff of Northumberland from 1408-09 and Constable of Bamburgh. In 1408 he was granted a papal license to enlarge the chapel or build a new one in his castle at Heaton. He married 1408, Alice Neville, daughter of Ralph de Neville, KG, 1st Earl of Westmoreland, whose wife was a descendant of Henry II and of Edward I.
Ralph held a considerable lands in north Northumberland including Wark Castle (manor and town), Coupland in Kirknewton, Learmouth and Presson in Carham, the manor and town of Doddington and the manor of Wooler. The total value was £21. 15s, a paltry sum even in those times, so he made much of his income from service. He became Keeper of Roxburgh Castle from 1439 before leaving with Richard Duke of York for France in 1441.
Following battle he was held captive by the garrison at Nantes and died in 1443. Most of his remains probably stayed in France although his bones were packaged up and returned to Alnwick where his inquisition was held.
Following Ralph’s death Elizabeth married again and she is probably buried near the seat of her second husband in Gloucestershire. None of her remains were found in the Chillingham tomb.
Ralph was succeeded by his son Ralph Grey II (1429–1464) who was the first of the Greys to actually live in Chillingham. He became a Knight of the Shire for Northumberland in 1449 and was elected MP at Westminster Palace in 1454. He was Sheriff of Northumberland from 1455–56 and 1459–60 and Keeper of Roxburgh Castle 1454–58. He transferred his allegiance between the Yorkist and Lancastrian sides on several occasions for greatest financial benefit. In 1462 he assisted in the capture of Alnwick for the Yorkists and was made Constable, and he assisted in the taking of Dunstanburgh in the same year. In 1463 he changed sides again and surrendered Alnwick to Queen Margaret. He fled to Dunstanburgh in 1464 where he was taken prisoner. He was brought before Edward IV and executed.
Ralph I’s brother was William Grey, who educated at Balliol College, Oxford, later became Chancellor of the University. He was Treasurer of the Exchequer and was installed as Bishop of Ely on St Cuthbert’s Day, 20 March, 1458. He died and was buried in Ely in 1478 near the shrine of St Etheldreda.
The tomb was probably arranged by Ralph Grey II between 1448 and 1462. It is likely that William Grey was also involved. It was probably constructed in two phases, firstly the two alabaster effigies and later the tomb chest in sandstone. He is portrayed wearing his armour demonstrating his military importance. The coats of arms illustrate his family connections. Such tombs were often constructed to remind surviving and later generations of the family to pray for the souls of the dead so that they would not remain long in purgatory. The burning of candles near the tomb was also thought to help so a hearse was used to support candles over the tomb. The angels flanking the headboard of the tomb are portrayed carrying the souls of Ralph and Elizabeth up to heaven. It was also important that the incumbent should have paid off his debts or made such provision in his will.
Tombs can be dated by the headgear and hairstyles of the effigies. Prior to 1400 the males wore helmets. Female heads were normally shown supported by cushions. This tomb is unusual in that Ralphs head is also on cushions rather than a helm. Up to 1540 male hair was cut short – later the fashion was for hair to be worn longer. Elizabeth’s hairstyle is typical of 1450.
The Church at Chillingham is open 7 days a week for anyone interested in visiting it and viewing this tomb for themselves.
The Ancient Craft of Laying a Hedge
You can tell what part of Britain you are in by examining the hedges. Every county has its own hedge laying signature written by an ancient craft that goes back to medieval times and beyond.
In a talk to Glendale Local History Society Mike Wade from Howtel explained how, in different regions of the country, hedges are laid to particular patterns to do certain jobs – keep different types of stock confined or facilitate jumping during the chase.
Mike confessed to being a total hedge enthusiast. He has been a National Champion, has won many regional competitions and been a national judge himself.
He explained how saplings and small trees are partially cut, bent over and woven between stakes to make a living, green, impenetrable barrier that becomes at one with the landscape. The practitioners of hedge-laying are heirs to a craft that puts them in touch with the countryside and its history. Simply handling the tools – many of which in more turbulent times were modified for battle – is enough to make the connection.
Hedge-laying has been done all over Europe since pre – roman times. Julius Caesar found hedges a considerable impediment to his efforts to invade the Low Countries. In Britain the Enclosure Acts gave the craft a great impetus and the period between about 1750 and 1850 – coinciding with the Agricultural Revolution – saw most of the hedges we enjoy today established in this country.
Today the craft is undergoing something of a revival as enthusiasts work to preserve and advance it. Increasing numbers of people are becoming accredited hedge layers and the benefits of hedges to the environment, wildlife and the aesthetic appeal of the countryside are being recognised. Little wonder then that the heir to the throne is himself an accredited member of the craft!
14th September 2016
Freemen of Berwick
Captain Jim Evans
Captain Jim Evans, recently retired chairman of the Guild of Freemen of Berwick-upon-Tweed, covered 1000 years of complex history. He revealed that Berwick is unique in many ways. Together with Roxborough, it became the first ‘Royal Borough’ and was once the wealthiest town in Scotland with only London, in England, contributing more financial support to its monarch at that time. Records show that Berwick changed hands 27 times, finally becoming English. As King James V1 crossed Berwick bridge into England he exclaimed that Berwick should be the centre of his domain – neither English nor Scottish!
In ancient days a Burgess was a privileged member of a community, enjoying freedom to work and trade as merchants in their town and possessing certain rights; however, in return they had responsibility for administering and supporting their local community. They had originally been granted a plot of land from the king, to whom they paid rent ─ all land being owned by the king in that era. Those living in the then very prosperous town of Berwick became property owners, living in grand houses. The king also appointed a ‘provost’, whose responsibility it was to collect and pay the town’s taxes to the monarch and a mayor who originally represent the Guild.
As communities developed, master tradesmen evolved, each having their own trade guilds. Names became associated with trades, for example: Baxter (baker), Smith (blacksmith) and Miller. Other names were connected with places of origin. In the thirteenth century Berwick grew in size, seeing an influx of families from the continent attracted by its wealth. Skills and trades were passed on to sons but, we were told, few families survived more than an average of three generations; common disasters of the time ─ fire or disease ─ frequently caused their demise. An apprentice served seven years and lived in his master’s house. Eventually skilled tradesmen’s guilds combined with burgesses into one guild, becoming synonymously Freemen.
The commercial centre of a trading community was traditionally the market – usually indicated by a market cross. Berwick once had two such crosses which stood where the current Town Hall is sited. The Town or Guild Hall has an ancient history and was given to the Guild of Freemen many centuries ago. Its many past uses have included being a prison. Originally having one curfew bell, it now has a peel of eight bells (paid for by the Freemen); there are no church bells in the parish church which was built in the puritan days of Cromwell’s rule.
Our speaker described Berwick as “unique” in many ways – too many to tell here! Currently there are 600 Freemen enrolled, with women admitted in 2009. Originally only the eldest son, at 21 years of age, was eligible to become a Freeman, but by the seventeenth century all sons were admitted to the Guild ─ widows too. The Guild of Berwick-upon-Tweed formed a trust in 1926, governed by trustees and a committee elected annually. Roles, rules and privileges have evolved over the centuries with numerous charters and Acts defining their governance.
Today amongst its many activities the Guild supports charities, provides housing, and continues ancient traditions and ceremonies. Captain Evans showed the Guild’s official robes and a number of documents and books, proving Berwick-upon-Tweed’s has a very intricate history, incorporating that of the Freemen’s Guild.
Outing to the Ouseburn Valley and the Victoria Tunnel
After meeting at The Biscuit Factory for a tasty lunch, we reported to the Victoria Tunnel office. Our guides gave an introduction and safety briefing before a short tour of the Ouseburn Valley, which used to be a hive of industrial activity. Where the Ouseburn Café now stands used to be a lead works; the Cluny music venue was once a distillery making 'Cluny' Whiskey –the iron bars on ground floor windows overlooking the burn were fitted to stop workers passing cases of whiskey to their friends in boats floated up the Ouseburn on the high tide; the Toffee Factory, now home to digital and creative offices and studios, was previously a cattle sanatorium (where the health of imported cattle was checked), then a store warehouse, and later the Maynards toffee factory from which it gets its name.
We eventually arrived at the entrance to the Victoria Tunnel where we were issued with hard hats and torches. The Tunnel is just 6'3” high and 7' wide, so taller visitors were encouraged to carry a chair to avoid aching shoulders during the many stops. The guides explained that we would walk up the Tunnel in the 1940s and return in the 1800s. We stopped to hear how during WW2 the tunnel was used as an air-raid shelter by up to 2000 people at a time. It had cost over £37,000 to adapt the Tunnel for use as a shelter, including the addition of concrete blast walls to stop potential bomb debris flying along inside. There were some basic bunk-beds for those working for the war effort, for pregnant women and first aid workers, and some benches for the lucky ones to sit on. The rest had to sit on the floor which, despite efforts to clean it up, is still covered in coal dust. The toilet facilities were very basic: chemical toilets located near the entrances, just 6 each for ladies and gents. Those sheltering were there for up to 9 hours at a time, having to wait until the German planes that had flown over en route to bombing raids in Belfast, Glasgow and Liverpool had passed over again on their way home – any bombs left over from the raids tended to be jettisoned over Tyneside!
After about an hour we reached a line of sandbags marking the end of the part of the Tunnel which is open to the public, and turned round and travelled back in time to the opening of the new Leazes Main or Spital Tongues colliery. Our second guide took over and explained that a surface wagonway, proposed by the engineer William Gillespie to replace the costly transport of the coal to the Tyne by horse and cart, had been turned down by the City Council because ‘it would cause great inconvenience and danger to the inhabitants of the town and, more importantly, compromise the Freemen's right to grazing on the Town Moor’.
Gillespie then proposed an underground wagonway running below the Town Moor, Barras Bridge, and Shieldfield 2.25 miles to the Tyne near the mouth of the Ouseburn. The loaded wagons would roll along a single standard-gauge railway track to the river, down the gentle gradient of the Tunnel. A long rope connecting the wagons to a stationary 40hp steam engine at the Spital Tongues site would control the speed of descent and winch the empty wagons back up to the pit head.
Permission was granted in June 1838 and work began 12 months later. The tunnel was finished on 8th January 1842 and was shown to reduce the cost of transporting coal to the river by 90%.
Construction of the Tunnel was remarkably free of mishaps – not so the operations. In 1843 the haulage rope broke and the wagons careered down the track and into the river, injuring one man. In 1843 the haulage engine's boiler exploded killing the fireman; nine years later it exploded again, this time killing both the engineer and the fireman.
The most serious accident happened in 1952 when the colliery was up for sale. Two potential buyers, brothers Ralph and Benjamin Arkless, were viewing the tunnel accompanied by a staithman, and a message had been sent to the colliery end to request that no wagons be sent down, as the purpose-built wagons almost completely filled the space between the walls and there were no refuges in the tunnels.
However, the message failed to reach the colliery. At the top of the Tunnel, two men assigned to clear debris had just filled a hand operated wagon and climbed aboard to take the load down to the river. Tragically, as the wagon began to move the brake-man slipped and fell off, and the wagon came rumbling out of control towards the inspection party who by this time were halfway along the Tunnel.
We were played a recording that simulated the sound of the wagon coming down the Tunnel towards us: in the darkness the initial faint rumbling sound steadily increased until it became a deafening roar. We knew there was nothing coming but even so it was terrifying: the men in the Tunnel must soon have grasped what was happening and at the same time realised that they had no means of escape. Ralph Arkless threw himself down between the rails and survived uninjured; his brother pressed himself against the wall and was badly injured but survived; the staithman, William Coulson, tried to outrun the wagon and was killed. Subsequently the colliery underviewer, George Fletcher, was charged with negligence.
Having taken two and a half years to build, operations in the Tunnel ceased less than 20 years after it had opened owing to financial difficulties.
Everyone agreed it had been a most interesting visit and an enjoyable day out in the Ouseburn Valley.
The Romantic North: picturesque landscape before photography
Peter Regan’s talk encompassed works 1750–1840, and he addressed the questions ‘What is Beauty? How has landscape painting developed? How has this related to Northumberland? and Was there such a thing as Landscape Painting?’
Peter, who at one time worked for the trustees of Dovecote Cottage, considered paintings of Cumbria and the North as well as in Northumberland. He began by showing us a slide of an Elizabethan ‘chart’ of Newcastle, now in the British Museum, by Giovanni Viscala, and addressed the question ’Is this a painting? or a map?’ It represents Newcastle and the artist, a military engineer, emphasised the well-defined walls, castle, and half-moon battery. The map was used to give information, despite being decorative.
He went on to consider drawings and painting which were often topographical, starting with Thomas Miles Richardson, showing Newcastle from Windmill Hill in Gateshead (1816), a rustic scene, less topographical and more influenced by the growing popularity of Claude Lorraine.
Matthias Reade, 1720, was a signwriter who produced a bird’s eye view of Whitehaven to emphasise the wealth of his patron, Lord Lowther. Similarly, the Buck Brothers made an engraving of Warkworth Castle for the Duke of Northumberland. It was Cannelletto who painted Alnwick Castle in a pleasing rural scene for him.
The main influences on painting in Georgian times were the 16th century painters Nicholas Poussin, Jacob van Ruisdael, Claude Lorraine, and Salvadore Rosa. Peter displayed examples of their works and explained how these men had developed styles of depiction which we could see in subsequent slides of later, Northern artists. Lorraine, for example, painted the most sought-after landscapes including water, trees, a ruin or folly – and a romantic couple in the foreground. He set the tone, showing that a painting should be inspiring and calm, with these typical elements. Von Ruisdael’s works were darker but contained the same elements. Despite Poussin’s similar formula, in his Ovid’s Metamorphosis the calm is somewhat contradicted by the snake attack in the foreground. Rosa, the Spanish artist, was a portraitist, but he shares the same formula in in his Travellers asking the Way.
In the days of The Grand Tour the aristocracy liked to record their journeys with pictures as mementoes, either using their own skills to paint or draw memorable scenes, or, if they were rich enough, to take an artist with them. Richard Wilson thus painted scenes such as The Temple of Sibyl in Tivoli in 1765, before carrying out similar commissions in Wales, but the formula remained the same as in his Italian paintings.
One of the best-known slides was of Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews in which the eponymous couple show off the extent of their (vast) estates in a painting of themselves, squeezed into the edge of a landscape typical of the time – a vista stretching into the distance.
Samuel H. Grimm, a Swiss clergyman-traveller who did over 2000 drawings for Sir Richard Kaye throughout the 18th century, also drew Warkworth Castle, an ink-and-wash of Morpeth Castle and one of Alnwick’s Lion Gate.
William Gilpin was one of the first artists to produce a book on landscape painting where he emphasised the ‘wild beauty off the North’. Once again he used water, trees and a ruin as his subject matter. He used the ‘Claude Glass’, a device using mirrors to aid composition, which produced an oval shape.
Books on landscape painting followed: by Thomas West, a clergyman in Cumbria; Peter Costhwaite, and for the Lake District, books by Joseph Farrington, William Green and even Wordsworth.
Closer to home, Bewick did an engraving of Chillingham Castle. Carmichael and Ward both completed pictures of the new railways, illustrating new features of the landscape – as did Turner.
Turner’s paintings of the North, with his dramatic skies, include many of our own castles of which Warkworth was perhaps the most exciting, with a thunderstorm approaching at sunset (1799). To complete the talk, we were shown a Constable, Seascape with Rain Clouds.
Peter Regan displayed a remarkable insight into this fascinating subject, which he delivered in an accessible and engaging way, and he was thanked with warm applause.
The Origins of the Post Office and the Hobby of Philately
At Vindolanda in 1973, a cache of 1500 letters were discovered. They had been written on bark about 2000 years ago and had been preserved by compression in anaerobic conditions. Since Roman times there has been a need for records to be kept and documents transported. Early letters were written by the few well- educated people or else by scribes, and these were delivered by servant on horseback. Since they had to travel over private land, agreements were made between landowners for the transport of letters over their land free of charge. In 1430 the ‘Merchant Strangers’ post was established in Italy to convey mercantile documents between Merchants in Venice. This later was made available to the public under the title ‘Merchant Adventurers’.
Henry I was the first English monarch known to have officially appointed messengers to carry government documents. In 1484 Richard III developed this process by appointing horsemen at intervals of about 20 miles along a route to carry letters hand to hand at high speed. By this method a letter could be delivered 200 miles away within 2 days. Henry VIII is credited with establishing the first Post Office. In 1512 he paid Sir Brian Tuke £100 to deliver royal letters, and in 1516 he appointed Sir Brian as Master of the Post. Staging posts, usually inns, were established at 20 mile intervals for changing the horses. Tuke established routes from London to Dover and London to Edinburgh via the Great North Road.
Post boys were often employed to deliver mail, initially for a pittance, but as literacy improved and the numbers of private letters sent increased so did the post boys’ wages.
By 1603 post masters had been appointed at various stages along the Great North Road. Charles I opened the ‘Kings Post’ for the use of the public on 31st July 1635 with a proclamation setting up a letter office available day and night. A letter from London to Edinburgh took 5 days to deliver. A single letter consisting of 1 sheet of paper was charged at a rate of 2d (2 old pence) for a distance of less than 80 miles, 4d for between 80 and 140 miles and 6d for greater distances. A letter to the Borders from London would have cost 8d. If more sheets were used then the tariff increased according to the ‘bigness of the packet’. To keep costs down some people resorted to the use of ‘cross-writing’ horizontally and then vertically – for this, clear handwriting was essential! The first Post Master General was Henry Bishop, appointed at the suggestion of Oliver Cromwell in 1688. He used a post mark then known as the Bishop’s mark.
During times of war postal rates would increase, so that posting a letter could cost the average working man a week’s wages. At such times the post was rarely used except for official business. In 1834 certain areas were allowed to have their own ‘penny post’ in order to reduce the spiralling costs. The penny post became very popular and by 1840 Sir Roland Hill introduced the system countrywide . The first postage stamp, the ‘penny black’, came into use on 6 May 1840 and this was affixed to envelopes. Additionally a ‘tuppeny blue’, 2d stamp was introduced as were prepaid envelopes called ‘Mulready Covers’. We were shown one of these covers dated 2nd May, 4 days before the official date of issue, and worth £12000. Subsequently stamps with errors, omissions or printing faults have become highly prized by collectors, and hence very valuable.
The second part of the talk focussed on World War I. In the Navy letters written aboard ship had to be left unsealed until checked by a censor, normally a senior officer, who would read it, then seal and stamp it. Mail bags that were off loaded in the UK would be opened and the letters cancelled by the Post Master, this post mark giving no information about the location so as not to reveal the positions of warships to the enemy.
Letters to soldiers serving abroad were post free, but this was not true for seamen who had to pay a charge of 1d, although this was later repealed as it was rightly considered unfair.
The then King, George V, was a keen philatelist who established the Royal Collection. Every Wednesday he reputedly spent in his ‘stamp room’, and asked not to be disturbed except for matters of national importance. This only occurred 3 times between 1914 and 1918.
Various letters were on display, written by George V himself. One was to his artist, Chevalier de Martini, another to Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland who cared for wounded soldiers at the front. There was a letter from a navel commander at the Battle of Jutland who censored his own post. His leg was shot away during the battle, and patched up by a stoker who applied a tourniquet. The ship’s ensign was also shot away but swiftly replaced so as not to infer surrender. The ship was later torpedoed and sunk with just 7 survivors. The commander’s body was washed up in Sweden and a medal awarded posthumously. A letter from bandsman drummer Morley to his wife recounted how his ship was sunk off South Africa. The band played on as the ship went down, the crew alone being initially rescued, but finally a further rescue ship arrived and picked up the band.
All in all this was a fascinating talk.
Wooler Weather – Past, Present and in the Future
Allan Colman from Milfield knows about weather and in a talk illustrated with his own photographs and interspersed with his own weather poetry he told members and guests of Glendale Local History Society all about it – what makes it, what changes it, how it was and what it might do in the future.
Allan’s enthusiasm for the weather is a lifetime passion. He is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, writes on the subject, and observes it daily.
It is often said that no two days are alike. Allan explained how research done on ice cores indicate that the earth, in historic time, has undergone alternate warming and cooling such that no two eras are alike. The famous mini ice age in the 17th century when the river Thames froze is an example of that. In contrast it is thought that there were periods in the middle ages when Europe was warmer than it is now.
In his research into the weather in Glendale Allan related how he had found attendance records from the school at Southernknowe in the College Valley useful. Most winters it seems snowfalls made life a challenge for both teachers and pupils. One winter the boys had to dig a way across the school yard to get out at break time!
What we experience – whether we are wet, dry, hot or frozen - comes as the result of numerous different weather phenomena. Allan explained how cloud, mist, fog and frost form and gave an explanation to terms such as front, occlusion and dew-point that describe how weather is progressing.
When considering the future the apparent cyclical nature of climate and the observation that the earth is getting hotter provoked some lively discussion.
What we are doing to the earth – the generation of warming gases such as methane and carbon dioxide – what the sun is doing to the earth with increased sunspot activity and what the earth itself is doing with volcanic events all contribute to global warming.
Where global warming is taking us and whether it is good or bad are questions that were left, as is said, hanging in the air!