THERE’S only a vowel difference but we still take for granted that currants and currents will remain as they have always been, reliable and unchanging.

Almost four fifths of our dried special grapes, currants, sultanas and raisins, come from the Greek end of the Mediterranean and we expect them in our buns, cakes, and particularly the Christmas ones and Christmas puddings. We would really notice their absence.

It’s just a pity that the other currents, the atmospheric and marine ones, moving air and water, aren’t so reliable. While we have known about them for as long as the ones we eat they unfortunately seem to be changing.

Traditionally schools have always taught that our normally mild winters are the result of the warm water of the North Atlantic Drift. We certainly get let off lightly compared with frozen and snow covered New York on the other side of the Atlantic and similar conditions in many inland European towns. However there are signs that this arrangement may be soon revised.

The Gulf Stream from the Mexican end of the Caribbean is the beginning of the largest ocean current in the northern hemisphere, and when it has passed the tip of Florida it moves north and east towards us and Scandinavia. We have relied on it for our rainfall, our mild winters and summers and considerable cloud cover.

The reason why it has been so strong is because of the very dense cold water from the ice covered Arctic Ocean to the north which sinks and so drags the vast volume of the Atlantic Drift north.

However now that the ice cover is very much reduced because of the way the

Arctic is warming up, at least twice as fast as the globe in general, the water is now less dense so less sinks. The result is a slowing down of the northward movement of the tropical influence that we have been blessed with in the past.

It’s our fault with our CO2 from big cars, flying, foreign fruit and large families