If there’s a gaggle of geese coming, it’s a sign of bad weather, and a mackerel sky means rain within 24 hours.
The British are generally obsessed with the weather, perhaps because it is so changeable.
Lifelong Quadring resident Graham Crosby is as interested as the rest of us but instead of predicting the weather, the grandfather and great grandfather has been measuring it continuously for the past 30 plus years.
Graham has kept a record of rainfall since 1983 – the data recorded in a diary, but transformed into a graph by son-in-law Richard Howarth – and it makes for interesting reading.
For instance, last year – in memory the worst ever for rainfall – was a surprisingly low 22 to 23 inches, in contrast to 2004 when it was over 32in, and 2000, not far behind at just under 32in.
“In the gauge there is about 6mm from last night,” says Graham, “and I usually – if I remember – book it down in the evening.”
The weather watching began when Graham was farming – he and his brother Lawrence joined their father Sam on the farm in the village once they left school.
When their father died, the brothers carried on farming the 57 acres, growing potatoes, sugar beet, wheat and a few oats to feed the horses – there were once four on the farm, gradually replaced by tractors.
They also had three cows and would fatten calves to be sold at Spalding market.
Graham said: “Measuring the rain just got to be a hobby with me. When you are farming you think, ‘What was it like last year?’, and I have done it every evening since 1983.
“I don’t know as we really relied on it for anything. When I was at school I was never interested in history – I could never understand why anybody wanted to know when the Magna Carta was signed – but I was interested in clouds and geography.
“I left school when I was 14 and, don’t tell anybody, but I am 86 now.”
In April, Jean will have shared 60 years in marriage with Graham.
Jean – who was working at Roythornes when the pair met at a Christmas party – also helped on the farm, briefly. Graham says: “I remember her starting to help us set some potatoes when it wasn’t a machine job and she was with us until dinner time and it about killed her.”
The couple went on to have two daughters, and now have four grandchildren and a great grandson.