Recent international comparisons seem to have revealed that Britain’s schools may be fairly good at keeping children off the streets during daylight hours, but have become comparatively less good than other nations’ schools at teaching them things. Well so much for giving them all prizes and letting them mess about in groups rather than sitting still while someone tells them something.

But formal education and learning is a bit 19th Century isn’t it, modern technology has surely moved us to a new age of completely informal education.

Bill Bryson mentions in “Notes from a small island” how remarkable it is that anywhere you go in the British Isles you will find very good and reliable amateur historians who can tell you all you need to know about local history.

After the recent unexpectedly concentrated and heavy rainfall and the consequent flooding in some areas, it seems we have added two new areas of expertise to the national stock. (I say unexpectedly because the Met. Office warned us in November to expect a dry winter and we have already had the wettest winter since 1910 with a bit more to come).

Newspaper reports, TV news and social media reveal on a daily basis the strength in depth of Britain’s new armies of Meteorologists, Climatologists and Hydrologists who had been waiting, it seems, for just such an event to reveal themselves. Everybody has an opinion. Not just an opinion for discussion with friends in a pub, but one backed by sufficient knowledge to express confidently to the world at large with reference to the Jet Stream, Atmospheric Carbon levels, flood-plain river management and so on.

It makes me proud.