Alfresco living. Or, as some spell it, ‘al fresco’. It’s an Italian word, and we don’t really have an English alternative. How come? Because, until recently, the opportunities for enjoying lots of time outdoors with friends and family were fewer in the UK.
Global warming is changing things. Climate change is underway and while it still has a long way to go, we’re already seeing slightly earlier, warmer springs and less predictable, often warmer autumns and winters.
Spring 2022 has arrived notoriously early, with some birds preparing to nest in February and flowers arriving weeks before they used to just half a century ago. In many places in the UK there was no snow at all last winter or the winter before.
While all this is terrible news for wildlife, and for the natural environment, it often means we Brits can get out and about and enjoy the garden even in the depths of winter. As long as you have a beautiful, sturdy chiminea or fire pit to stand around, keeping you lovely and warm, the great outdoors is more accessible than it has been for millennia.
On the downside, less predictable weather is probably going to mean things are wetter. On the bright side you can create a shelter for a chiminea, with open walls and a roof, and stay outdoors even when it’s tanking down. As long as you don’t actually take your chiminea indoors or light her up when there isn’t enough ventilation – putting you at risk of deadly Carbon Monoxide poisoning – you’re fine.
Violent storms are going to become more frequent, with so-called once-in-a-lifetime or once in a century storms happening a lot more often. This could mean you’ll need to store your chiminea indoors out of danger when a storm brews, or at least stand it in a corner away from the worst of the wind, where it won’t blow over.
You might have to re-think your garden altogether. Some people are already doing so, bearing climate change in mind and choosing planting that’s more resilient to the weather. Areas of gardens that used to be damp are drying out, dry areas are turning into swamps. It’s all about change.
Are you already thinking about ways to make your outdoor space work better for you and the family as the climate changes? You’re not alone. But whatever happens the chiminea will still sit at the heart of alfresco entertainment, a reliable way to stay warm whatever the British weather does.
Do you have any tips to pass on to others? If so, let us know.