I feel like I have been thinking about rain for a disproportionate amount of time this year and as the year draws to a close it is still on my mind.  2018 began with a long cold wet spring which then became a long dry hot summer.
There are three sure signs of rain status in my garden: how full the rainbutts are, the state of the ground as I am based mainly on heavy thick clay and how full the pond is.

About the first to recover is usually the ground.  As I wander around the lawn is quite squelchy at the moment and it is not a good idea to walk on the borders too much as the soil compacts easily.

The rainbutts are slower to react but I now how one and a half full, which means I have one and a half empty.

The pond filleth, it is definitely improving.  This week has seen some particularly heavy rain and that has moved things on well.  Earlier this year the pond reached record lows.  It was a mere puddle of its former self.
But then the other day I went on one of my frequent visits to Calke Abbey.  I have been visiting there for around thirty years and it has a landscape I know well.  The house overlooks Staunton Harold Reservoir and on my recent visit I stood in horror looking at how low the reservoir is.
I am not sure I have ever seen it this low before, particularly bearing in mind we have now had some rain so it is probably higher than it was in the summer.
I found this sight extremely worrying; if the water levels are not recovering sufficiently then we will start 2019 with even less resilience against drought.  If we have a similarly long dry summer this could be very serious.  So whilst I do not enjoy the long rainy winter days, this year I shall try not to mind them too much and just keep my watchful eye on the pond level.