Susan MacColl, 73, Dunlop, Ayrshire

When my brother Alasdair was nine, he was given a gift of a toy rainfall gauge and he loved it. Every day, he would run out into the garden and measure the rain. Eventually, my father wrote to the Met Office to see if he could record things a little more officially, and they sent out some equipment. I can still see Alasdair, rushing out each morning and writing down the measurements in his big ledger. After he left home, my father, Archie, kept it going, and after he died and I moved back here, to my childhood home, I decided to keep it going too.

We are in a good spot for weather, up on the hill. On a clear day, you can see across the countryside to Arran in the distance. The weather is changing, I can see that. Recently, we have had big lumps of rain falling, enough to stop the railways. I haven’t seen a single swallow this summer. Usually, I can look out of our big window and see them all, sitting on the wires. One time I counted 100 – but this year? Not one.

SEPA and the Met Office like the continuity provided by rainfall observers like us, who have been doing it since the early 1950s. You have to do it every day, so if you are going on holiday, you must get someone else to do it for you. Sometimes I do forget, and suddenly I think – “oh no, I’ve forgotten to do the rain”, but it is not the end of the world. You just have to make a note of it, and it’s also good to include information about things like thunderstorms, or whether the showers were heavy, or just drizzle. Then I take the measurements and my husband Seumas adds it up.

Recently, I received a long-service award from the Met Office, which was very nice.

I still keep the gauge in the porch, in an old Dundee marmalade tin, and I still write down the measurements and send them in on a postcard. (Although Alasdair’s fancy ledger has been replaced with a modern notebook, and they are in millimetres now, rather than inches. You can email them if you wish. It’s all computerised now – but I like doing it the way I have always done it.)

Alasdair died in 1980. He had become a meteorologist, and he taught me a lot about cloud structures. I want to keep reading the gauge because it provides important information which can help people.

My granddaughter Marley, who is 16, helps me now, and I hope she might be one of a new generation of volunteers. I find it quite an interesting thing to do, even after all these years. It’s reassuring, a tribute to Alasdair – and just part of my life.

Ann Fotheringham