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Posts Tagged ‘Weather’

Just our luck!

Posted by Shirley Anne on October 25, 2014

As Luck Would Have It

As Luck Would Have It (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

E and I haven’t dined out much over the last two months except for the time we went to Liverpool a couple of weeks ago and found the pub/restaurant we wished to dine in had stopped serving meals for the afternoon leaving us little choice but to dine somewhere nearby it which just wasn’t the same. I wrote about it in a recent post. Well on Tuesday last I had been busy working in the morning and decided I wanted to eat out. I asked E if she would like that too and her reply was,’Do you really want to dine out?’ It wasn’t a satirical question but she asked because the weather on Tuesday was foul to say the least. We were experiencing the tail end of the tropical storm called Gonzalo that had ripped through the eastern Caribbean. It was very stormy weather with heavy downpours of rain, not really a nice day to go out and about in but hey, we cannot let the weather spoil our enjoyment of life! In real terms we were only subject to the onslaught whilst getting in and out of the car and the destination. By the time we had left the restaurant it was very sunny but still windy. The sunshine was short-lived and it resumed raining soon enough. The wind lasted well into the evening, as did the showers. E asked the usual question of me and that was where we were going and I replied in the usual way that I didn’t know leaving her to make the decision. She suggested two places and we chose the one furthest away, about 15 miles distant shall we say. Now we have been there quite often and never had any problems in the past but on this visit we were let down. The establishment had recently decided to close the kitchen on Tuesdays as a cost-cutting exercise seemingly due to a general lack of custom on that day. We returned to the vehicle and drove back towards home to the second place of choice which was en-route. We have never been disappointed there either but the difference was that this establishment is open all hours. As it was quite late in the afternoon by now we didn’t wait long for our meals to arrive at the table and most enjoyable they were too. We chose to have a dessert and whilst I had a Cappuccino with mine E chose to have a cola instead. Most unusual for her as she likes Cappuccino. On the way back home we drove through the town’s main thoroughfare and the rain came down so hard we could hardly see where we were going. By the time we reached our house it had eased off a little. I set the central heating thermostat up a notch and soon we were feeling cozy again. It was still an enjoyable day despite the weather.

Shirley Anne

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Gosh it’s windy!

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 20, 2014

English: Its windy The corn is blowing in the ...

Its windy the corn is blowing in the wind. For June it is quite rough, even more so for mid-August.

There is a battle going on outside between the wind and the sun and we are getting equal measures of both! Trouble is the wind has the greater effect upon us. It blows me sideways when I go outdoors and makes the day much colder than it would otherwise be, probably as much as ten degrees (Celsius) in some places. We were told earlier in the season that we might get more warm, even hot weather at the end of this month. Well that is only a week away and at the moment it doesn’t seem possible. One of the trees on view in the rear garden and which actually stands in the corner of the garden has brown leaves already, not because it is Autumn but because of wind burn! Strange as it may seem though nearby trees are not as affected yet they stand in the wind’s path too and one of them is of the same variety. I suppose we can’t complain about the wind as we live right on the coast. Taken all round we don’t have many wind-free days where we live though for most of the time the wind is not blowing hard. Today it is Sunday and I am happy to be staying indoors, tomorrow however I have to be out and about at least during the morning though that may have changed since I wrote this. I am keen to do some more work in the cellar. I have been mixing the mortar I need for laying bricks in the doorway by hand, by the bucket rather than using the cement mixer. It enables me to spent less time than I would have to on the work if I had a mixer full of mortar to use. More mortar in one go means laying of more bricks to use it up and with this particular job I can’t lay too many bricks in the same place. Nice excuse but in reality perfectly true. My personal life is being blown about somewhat too as E and I are still not talking after three weeks. I won’t go into details but it is symptomatic of my life at home in general as it has been over the last 25 years if the truth be known. Personally I hate the wind, it is the only element of the weather that I don’t like. In the same way the wind that blows in and out of my personal life is similarly despised. The one problem I face, we all face, is that there isn’t much we can do about the wind, except stay out of it!

Shirley Anne

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Rain, rain, rain

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 2, 2014

It's Raining

It’s Raining (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well it has to rain at some point! Over the last couple of weeks we have been enjoying (some of us, not necessarily me) warm, even hot weather. Unfortunately we have also had to endure humid weather too which really makes things uncomfortable. Consequently as I have mentioned previously it has kept me from finishing the outdoor work in the garden.  I have been fortunate in having quite a lot of electrical work lately which is good but it has prevented me working in the garden too when it has been cool enough. Now we have rain. Enough said. One day, soon I hope, I will get back in the garden. I have never been one who likes the weather being too hot and too humid. I have always preferred it to be cooler. I don’t mind the rain as long as it isn’t preventing me from doing something I need to do, like working in the garden. It’s a sobering thought that things don’t always go to plan. A few months ago I had things set out and planned, I was going to remove the mound in the garden, doing some landscaping there and laying a natural stone path with the stone we had dug out and had no idea was there. Then I was planning on rebuilding part of the garden wall and beginning work on the garden toilet project. So far only the landscaping and laying of the path have been achieved and all due to unforeseen circumstances and conditions. We have also been let down by those people we were going to employ to do some of the building work. In other words it has been raining on my parade as well as everywhere else! It is just as well that nothing is set in stone and there is no deadline to meet. We can take our time over doing things and not worry about the weather getting in the way. In the meantime we will sit back and enjoy the cooling rain, rain, rain!

Shirley Anne

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A little bit better

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 31, 2014


SMEG Refrigerator - Pastel Green

SMEG Refrigerator – Pastel Green (Photo credits: West Elm)

The start of the week began a little cooler and would have been very welcome had I been working outdoors. I found myself struggling to get to sleep on Sunday night lying restlessly in bed until about three o’clock. I knew it was that time having seen my mobile phone light up as it sometimes does when receiving a text or email message. The next time I opened my eyes it was five minutes before seven o’clock, the time at which I had set the alarm. I had to be up reasonably early to receive delivery of the new fridge/freezer which had been scheduled for some time between the hours of nine-thirty and one-thirty. As I usually cannot return to sleep once I am awake I got up. I hadn’t any electrical work to do, in fact I had no work scheduled for the whole week, however no sooner had I finished my breakfast I received phone call after phone call requesting my services. That remained the pattern throughout the day. I accepted some of the work but had to reject the rest, mostly because they were too large to take on board but also I hadn’t the time to do some of them when the person wanted me too. I went to do one of those jobs just before ten o’clock after E had returned downstairs from getting dressed. She usually has her breakfast first whilst I like to shower and dress before I come down for breakfast. I had received the call just after eight but explained that I couldn’t get to the house before ten in case the fridge/freezer was delivered and E was still getting dressed. I had almost reached the job when the delivery man called me to let me know they were minutes away from our house. It didn’t matter E was by then ready to open the door. I got on with the job and whilst there talked myself into another job which needed doing. That I did the following day. The other work will keep me occupied on each of the remaining days of the week. I am writing this on Monday evening by the way. Despite the work I do now being generally small jobs there are usually enough of them to make it financially worthwhile. They pay for things like new fridges! I am hoping to do a little work in the garden this weekend if the weather cools down a bit as it seems to be doing. Some folk like it hot but I don’t, it just drains my energy but this week it is getting a little bit cooler and therefore much better for me.

Shirley Anne


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Wondering when

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 21, 2014

Stormy Weather!

Stormy Weather! (Photo credit: khalid almasoud)

It has been a couple of weeks since any work to speak of has been done on our ‘mound’ project in the rear garden. That has been due to the weather either being too hot or too wet! I have also not had the time because of my electrical work and this past week we have had engineers flitting in and out of the house as they worked to replace our old gas pipes in the street. When we had some spare time E and I purchased some plants that will inhabit the border that has been created to one side of the new pathway and in the central portion which I have come to call the ‘mini-mound’, though it isn’t that small. We have decided to ease back from finishing the project until the weather is more favourable and for another couple of reasons. Firstly we want to take things easy for a while and enjoy the warm weather and secondly we have other things that need attention. I am just wondering when we will actually get back to the mound. We had a builder come round to assess some brickwork we need doing but he hasn’t bothered thus far to give us the quote. At this rate I’ll probably do the work myself and save myself a small fortune in the process. At the very least I will have something to keep me occupied when other duties become scarce. I know I can do the work and if I say so myself, probably just as good as any bricklayer. I am more fussy. I am also wondering when I will get around to doing the second of my ‘mini’ projects in the front of our house, the other one, now done, was installing the flagpole a few weeks ago. Before I can do the smaller project I have to order the part but I will continue to keep my readers in suspense until it is done.

Shirley Anne

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No work today for sure!

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 7, 2014

Oye! It's Friday!

Oye! It’s Friday! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is now Friday as I write this and it has been raining throughout the latter part of the morning and slowly getting worse as the day passes. According to the forecast it is going to be wet for the next two days though less than it has been today. It looks as if Monday and Tuesday might be better days for working outdoors so I may get the chance to do just that. It depends upon any commitments I might have on those days too. In fact I am reminded that on Monday at least I will probably not get the chance as I do have an electrical job scheduled. Today I have done nothing at all neither at home or away from home as far as work is concerned. That is a blessing of sorts as I have the opportunity to recharge my batteries as it were. Strange as it may seem I did next to nothing on Tuesday but found it difficult getting out of bed on Wednesday morning as I felt so tired. The converse was true today where I awoke very early after only a few hours sleep despite the fact that I worked hard throughout Thursday! Tomorrow morning I have agreed to do an electrical job for a professional couple who simply cannot escape their duties during the week at the moment and have half of their lights not working. I don’t usually work at the weekend and not at all on Sunday unless it is an emergency but I made the concession this time and as the job is only a few hundred yards from home it is no hardship. It will be raining but at least I will have something to do. When I return home I think E will want me to hang some pictures as I promised I would a couple of days ago. but for today, I think I’ll continue to avoid using my toolbox and enjoy the rest. Oh yes, I could find plenty of work at home if I chose to and there are plenty of things that can be done but isn’t it nice to just say to one’s self now and then, ‘Sorry no work for today thank you’?

Shirley Anne

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Completely drained

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 25, 2014

Sunrise over Stonehenge on the summer solstice...

Sunrise over Stonehenge on the summer solstice, 21 June 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday was yet another hot day and I found it difficult to relax. Mind you I always find it difficult to relax unless I am lying down. The weather didn’t help with it being so warm. I find I operate much better at lower temperatures. E and I potted about in the front garden for an hour or so just before lunch. We were removing some overgrowth from various plants and placing it in the recycling bin ready for collection the next day. We have two green wheelie bins for this and during the warmer months we often fill both of them for the fortnightly collection but this week only one was full. We often don’t intend doing anything on a Sunday but invariably we end up doing some small task. On those occasions I have to tell myself and E to quit and take time off. We went back indoors to eat lunch then afterwards spent a couple of hours out on the patio. E had gotten one of the reclining beds out and lay on it whilst I remained on a chair. I should have gotten another one out to join her, instead I became restless. I was up and down all the time getting this or that or trotting indoors to the toilet but most of the time I did manage to remain seated. We had the radio on for a couple of hours which was very entertaining then late in the afternoon we decided to go back indoors as it began to cool a little outdoors. I can’t speak for E but I felt quite drained during the afternoon. The heat of the day makes me feel that way. It is even worse for me if I am working. This weekend E and I were left to ourselves and although our youngest son came over for the weekend on Thursday evening he immediately left to see some friends and they all left for Stonehenge for a couple of days, staying at a hotel nearby. I guess they wanted to be there for the Solstice.

Shirley Anne

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Posted by Shirley Anne on June 24, 2014

English: Whitesand Bay Although the weather is...

English: Whitesand Bay Although the weather is dull at least it’s not raining so the beach and the car park are packed on August Bank Holiday weekend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many folk will have gone abroad for a couple of weeks for their annual vacation, somewhere warm and sunny, perhaps by a beach. The English climate cannot always guarantee good weather so it is understandable that people should do that. Many however will be staying at home perhaps either funds this year are scarce or they simply wish to take a holiday somewhere in the British Isles for a change. Well those who have stayed at home recently will be glad that the weather lately has been quite perfect for a holiday. It probably won’t last too long however and the rain will return eventually. The hottest months of the year for us are usually July and August so hopefully there will be plenty of more hot and sunny days to come yet. This hasn’t always been the case in previous years and some years have been extraordinarily wet, windy and cool throughout the summer months. It is difficult to predict the weather months ahead of course so when booking a holiday it is touch and go as to whether you will be fortunate to have good weather if holidaying in this country. This is why many folk choose a holiday abroad in countries where the weather can be more predictable and almost guaranteed to be hot and sunny. I’ve done it myself on many occasions. A couple of times E and I have chosen to remain in this country for a holiday but that has been due to a lack of funds when we were buying a house or when the children were babies. The holidays we took in this country on those occasions were all reasonably favourable simply because we took them at the height of the season in either the months of July or August but even so we still had rain. E and I don’t take beach holidays nowadays or haven’t done for years but when we do go somewhere we don’t like it to be raining every day. At the moment it is great being at home, all conveniences to hand and great weather too. Only one problem with being at home, we tend to find jobs to do every day and do them instead of relaxing. We have to discipline ourselves to do nothing or we end up doing something. ‘Staycations’ might seem to be a good idea but ‘Stay at homecations’ may not.

Shirley Anne

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A decent week weatherwise

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 19, 2014

No Credit Card

No Credit Card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It looks like the whole of this week is going to remain dry during daylight hours which gives us every opportunity to work outdoors. I am not sure at this moment of writing though whether I will get that opportunity. It is Monday evening and gloriously sunny. I spent the morning working away from home sorting out some electrical problems and installing a new power point for a lady who has moved up here from Nottingham. I then had to pay a visit to the newspaper group office which runs my advert, I had to purchase a further 13 weeks but had to pay them in cash. Usually they verify that I wish to continue with the adverts when it is time to buy more weeks and then debit my credit card accordingly as they have the card details on record. However my bank has decided to change my account number and send out a replacement card but as yet I haven’t received it. It could be anything up to 14 days before I do. I had no option therefore but to pay in cash or use a different card which I didn’t wish to do. Having sorted that out I was able to return home. It was almost lunch time by then. After lunch E and I spent a little time out on the patio but then I decided to carry out a repair to the rear door of one of the garages. The rain had gradually rotted away some of the bottom edge of the door so I cut away the bad portion and cut some thick plywood to fix over it and screwed it to the door. E coated the door with a preserver before I fitted the plywood and then she applied an undercoat of paint. Because the weather was fine and dry the paint was dry within a couple of hours. It is jobs like these, small maintenance jobs that are often overlooked when the weather isn’t so good but as the saying goes, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. This minor repair hopefully will save us more than £100 to replace the whole door. I suppose we should have had it replaced with a plastic door when we were having the windows and doors done in the house but it is a solid heavy-duty door and should last years. Tuesday morning I was scheduled to do more electrical work and in the afternoon E and I normally dine out. More work is needed on the mound but we feel we will still get the chance to do it before the week is out.

Shirley Anne

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Rain, rain go away

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 10, 2014

Saturday splash

Saturday splash (Photo credit: Vida Dimovska)

The month of June hasn’t so far been very favourable as far as the weather is concerned which is making it difficult for E and I to get on with the garden work though there have been one or two good days. Saturday wasn’t one of them though I have to say it wasn’t as bad as the forecast would have us believe. I suppose the reason for that is we live on the coast so although it might be bad inland it is often less so where we live. A lady asked me on Friday if I could do a small job for her friend and I told her that I would do it on Saturday morning. The weather was excellent on Friday and I wanted to get on with the garden knowing that the good weather wasn’t going to last. As it was forecast rain for Saturday it made sense to do her job then. E was going to Leeds for the day with her friend and would not be back until early evening. Earlier in the week I had been on a sort of wild goose chase to a house some miles away, The lady there wanted work doing but when she discovered how much it would cost decided not to have it done which rather annoyed me as she had wasted my time. I was paid something for the inconvenience but it was still annoying. When I arrived at the job on Saturday I was greeted by an elderly lady who, shall we say, wasn’t totally with us. Her friend hadn’t known what the job entailed and I was told that all she wanted was for me to replace a light fitting with a new one. I discovered that the wiring to the light I was supposed to replace didn’t exist as didn’t the light! Evidently the previous owner of the house had removed it from the ceiling and plastered over the hole. The switch on the wall had also been disconnected. The lady now in residence had lived there for 23 years and had only just decided to have the light replaced! I set about assessing what needed to be done and found the room above completely filled with heavy furniture standing on the carpet which would need to be rolled back to gain access to the floorboards. In her innocence she told me that I could move the furniture into another room across the landing. I smiled and told her that as a 68 year-old woman I wasn’t prepared to move any furniture except any that might just need shifting a little from where it stood. In fact I have never moved furniture out of a room to enable me to do any job. That is the responsibility of the person for whom I am working. In fact most people either move the furniture themselves or get someone else to do it for them. I explained this to her and she understood. She will arrange for the furniture to be moved and call me back. So it was a bit of a waste of time again for me though she did pay me for that time. I returned home and got on with one or two things indoors that needed attention. The rain began to ease and later in the afternoon I was able to go outside, segregate and bag most of the builders rubble that had accumulated as we dug out the mound, things like small pieces of brick, concrete, natural stone, tarmacadam, pottery, wall and roof tiles, slate, plastic bags, soft drink containers (coke cans), glass and miscellaneous pieces of metal. People will throw away their waste anywhere! I even found two tiny glass bottles that may have been used as containers for oil paint (as in artists paint) or perfume. Neither had tops but one must have had a cork stopper whilst the other must have had a screw-on lid as that one has an open thread moulded in the glass. There was little else I could do outside so I went indoors. I spent some time with my guitar then had a visit from our youngest son and his girlfriend. It appears she can’t find her passport so they came to look amongst the belongings they have temporarily stored in our house. They left without finding it. By early evening the weather had turned dry and partly sunny but it was too late to do any work outside.

Shirley Anne

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Day by day

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 24, 2014

Overcast weather at the Humble Administrator's...

Overcast weather at the Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well the weather has become unsettled again with rain some days and sunshine on others. We have had therefore to get out to do the work in the garden whenever the opportunity arose. This has been difficult for me for on some days I am working away from home for a few hours. I don’t work on a Sunday and on Tuesday I didn’t wish to work in the garden as the weather had become showery. We simply went out for a meal in the afternoon instead. We had Friday, Saturday, Monday and as I write this on Tuesday evening perhaps Wednesday with good weather for working in the garden. We have to take each day as it comes. We’ve still not received a quote for the brickwork we want doing on the garden toilet project but at the moment we don’t really mind as we can concentrate on the garden. When we dined out on Tuesday E decided we would try out a pub we had passed by a couple of weeks ago which looked inviting. We arrived after 2 o’clock and found the place almost completely deserted with only two young women and their small children inside. I placed our order at the bar and when we were served E recognised  the woman who waited upon us. She was an older woman who later told us she was 71 years old. She used to manage one of the old pubs in Southport and that is where E had known her from. She told us that she didn’t want to retire from working completely and that was why she was working in the pub. After our meal we chatted further and then we left. I doubt very much that we will be returning to that pub for a while at least. We are keen to get on with the garden work but there is much to do. Hopefully we can find the time if the weather doesn’t remain changeable but we’ll have to wait and see. Well the weather was glorious on Wednesday after all so E and I spent all day digging and excavating some of the huge slabs of stone together with many house bricks that were obviously part of a wall once. It appears that whoever built the mound wasn’t too fussy what they threw in there. We now have a considerable stack of old bricks as well as natural stones and slabs with more to dig out. We have that much material we could almost open our own reclamation yard! Many of the slabs now remain in the area because eventually they will come to rest there and as we have moved much soil and debris they are not in the way. What we will do is slowly set them in place as we move along shifting the mound. The work is very demanding and really soaks our energy but we don’t mind that. It is going to take weeks to get the area in shape.

Shirley Anne

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Bored already!

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 20, 2014

An opening title for Bored to Death

An opening title for Bored to Death (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was such a nice day on Saturday, full sunshine, little or no wind, high temperature, well high for this time of year but still around 18 deg.C or more and it was more in the rear garden as it is quite sheltered there. The problem with such nice weather, if there is a problem, is that for me at least, I am reluctant to work, not because I don’t want to but because the heat saps my energy too quickly. E and I had spent Friday more or less all day out in the garden and that day was similarly warm and sunny to a lesser degree so by the afternoon we were both feeling rather tired. As you may have read in yesterday’s post we had been digging away at the ‘Mound’. I didn’t much feel like doing that again for a whole day especially in the heat but I did spend some time removing the loose soil later in the day. After rising early at about 7 o’clock I had my breakfast and spent a little time out on the patio which is in full sunshine throughout the morning.  After an hour or so of being in the shadow of the house the patio also gets full sunshine for most of the afternoon and early evening at this time of year. I took my guitar with me and sat playing for a while. I had done some washing for our youngest son who was at home for the weekend and still in bed. I hung it out to dry then did some more. I wanted to do some digging but thought the better of it thinking I might do some later. To be honest I was feeling bored and simply wanted something to do. I like the sunshine but cannot sit in it for long as I get bored. In fact I don’t sit in the sun at all if I can help it as I don’t wish to be burnt. Sunbathing is just not what I do. I will sit outside under an umbrella but even that doesn’t protect me from the suns rays that well. I had put the large rectangular umbrella/canopy up on Friday and it will stay up now until the late summer. It has stay cords to stop the wind from blowing it down so it is quite safe to leave it out for the season. I also took out one of the two small drinks fridges and placed it on the table beneath the umbrella. That too can remain outdoors and connected to the supply quite safely and is handy for when we want a cool drink. E went to her monthly group meeting in the afternoon and I thought about going for a ride on my bicycle but over the last few days I have been suffering on and off with ‘water on the knee’. My left knee is a touch swollen and if it persists I shall have to see the doctor. It could be one of a few things that have caused the water retention but I am just hoping it is merely a bruised joint. In any case cycling isn’t a good idea with a damaged knee. It could be age-related, arthritis, worn ligament of cartilage or something else. I am surprised I haven’t suffered with bad knees earlier in life for the amount of kneeling I have done in my job. Yes, I do use a cushion but when younger I never gave that a thought. Such is life, we are all born to die aren’t we? Nice weather and I am already bored with it!

Shirley Anne

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Saturday and Sunday

Posted by Shirley Anne on April 2, 2014

English: Snow scene - pedestrians only. Lookin...

Snow scene – pedestrians only. Looking east up the hill one snowy Sunday lunchtime in March. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday and Sunday saw a real trend towards warmer times, especially Sunday as temperatures reached 17 C hereabouts. In some parts of the country I believe it reached 20 C. Not bad for the end of March. I remember the old saying about March, it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well traditionally I suppose that has been true but considering the way climate has changed during the last few years it no longer is sometimes. In my youth I remember it snowing on my birthday, November 21 and of course by the time it was Christmas we could expect everywhere to be covered in snow. Gradually over the years in my lifetime that snow has appeared later each year or early in the following year. I don’t think we’ve had more than a dusting of it this year, that is 2014 and when we did it was only for a day or two. It is true to say that where I live at least there hasn’t been much snow at all for quite a few years even when other parts of the country  were knee-deep in it. We have had snow but it was only for brief spells. A couple of years ago we had a couple of days of snow which compacted to ice. That remained on the ground for two weeks before it all dispersed. It has been cold of course but not as cold as it has been historically. The seasons themselves seem to be edging forward as each year passes and although that really is happening because of planetary motion over thousands of years what we are seeing cannot be attributed to that. We are probably seeing climate changes and shifts due to other forces, perhaps partly or totally because of human activity. That of course is currently under investigation and we are having to make ongoing adjustments to the way we, the human race, treat our environment. It is pleasant to enjoy a warm climate but not at the expense of the environment. So here we are again at the beginning of Spring in real terms and once again we will be spending more time outdoors as it gets warmer. The forecast for the first few days of the week were for it to be similarly warm and sunny.

Shirley Anne

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Locked out and bored

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 17, 2014

English: Hand I'm bored Español: Mano I'm bored

I’m bored

It is now Friday afternoon and I am writing this for something to do. The weather has turned nasty again and it is wet and windy outside. The day started calm and dry but we knew it was again going to be a little stormy. I believe the worst of the weather will be suffered by those living further south who will no doubt have had enough by now. More flooding is expected in areas already knee-deep or more in water and many more will be forced to leave their homes. I am grateful at least for not having to undergo what they are suffering. I wish them all well. I haven’t had much in the way of electrical work lately, well this week, so I have spent more time at home. Unfortunately there is little more I can do on our bathroom project but what I am able to do as I write this I am unable to do. Why? I have been locked out of the bathroom by E who, bless her, has taken over the area to do some more painting. She is quite a dab-hand at painting so I am happy for her to do it since she cannot undertake the heavier work which has been left to me. Most of that work is complete now and there only remains for me to cut and position the heavy-duty plywood base on which the shower tray will ultimately sit. That has to be done before we can start tiling the walls but at the moment the bath is sitting there out-of-the-way. E will be out tomorrow afternoon so maybe I will be able to do more then, unless she paints some more! Somehow I don’t think she will. Speaking about the tiles, we were supposed to be receiving their delivery this Sunday which will be yesterday when you read this but the date was moved back to today, Monday. I might not be at home to receive them but E will be. I have to take my van in for its annual MOT and at this time I am not sure if I will have any electrical work to do. I know I have two jobs to do tomorrow and one or two others in the pipeline. So although the bathroom project might seem to be dragging along it is because I am not at home for much of the time and we have been waiting on delivery of materials. Once the tiles have arrived there should be nothing to stop us pushing ahead and I will be grateful then for a break or two. The surveyor came before lunch to measure the cracked window and will start the ball rolling for its replacement. The garage door is fixed though we are waiting for the fitter to come and check out a niggling little problem to do with lubrication of the track in which it runs as once or twice it has been reluctant to drop. At the moment, as I write, I am a little bored. When I started writing this post  it was wet and windy but now the sun is streaming in through the window! English weather eh?

Shirley Anne

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Minimal damage

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 16, 2014

Force 12 at sea.

Force 12 at sea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday morning was much quieter than the night before. I went to bed with severe gale force winds howling about the house and although it was still a little windy it was a much calmer day. I arose quite late and in fact was stirred by a telephone call from the guy who had repaired the roller door in the garage. Although he had repaired the installation I had discovered that occasionally it was hesitant to drop down in the guide rails which made it start to unwind in situ unless it was aided manually. I found this out whilst I was reinstating the limit switch I spoke about yesterday. Anyhow he called to let me know when someone would call and sort it out. As it was quite late I forewent breakfast and just had a cup of coffee, making one for E at the same time and taking it upstairs to the bathroom where she was busy painting the window frames! After the drink I put on my coat and went outside to look for any damage caused by the wind. I had already noticed the small greenhouse had lost one of its plastic panels, the larger greenhouse was intact as I expected as it is a more profession structure with glass panes. I also noticed that the largest tree overlooking our garden which is located just on the other side of the wall in my rear neighbour’s garden had lost two of its branches both of which had fallen on their side of the wall. The branches were as large as small trees and their falling had flattened other trees and shrubs beneath. Another branch had fallen into my next-door neighbours garden and nearby lay the plastic panel from our small greenhouse. I called next door to retrieve it but my neighbour wasn’t at home. That was the only damage that had been sustained at the rear of the house. I then went to the front of the house and discovered a small piece of roofing felt had curled-up from on top of the garage in which I park my van. I got the ladder and repositioned it then placed two large slabs of stone on top of it to hold it down until the weather improves and it can be heated and sealed down again. No doubt that will be weeks away. It isn’t urgent that it gets repaired immediately and I may do it myself as I have a gas blow-torch I could use. That was all the damage I could find. My next-door neighbours wooden panel fence however had two of its panels blown out. He has had nothing but trouble with that fence ever since it was erected twelve years or more ago, it is forever having its panels come adrift. Considering the severity of the weather I think we got off lightly and I am grateful for that. I pity the many who haven’t had it so good, especially those who have been flooded out of their homes. The wind passes but the water will remain for months.

Shirley Anne

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What’s going to happen?

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 15, 2014

A large extratropical low-pressure system swir...

A large extratropical low-pressure system swirls off the southwestern coast of Iceland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing this late on Wednesday afternoon and the wind is beginning to get quite strong outside. Strange whistling sounds seldom heard are occurring quite often as the wind blows over pipes and chimney stacks. We have been told to expect gusts of wind at speeds of up to 100 mph but at the moment it is probably around 40 or 50 at a guess. Of all the weather characteristics it is the wind I dislike the most. It is so damaging and destructive. There’s nothing we can do about that of course except to live in as solidly built a house as possible. It will be morning before the winds ease off but by then the damage will be done. It has to be said that we are indeed experiencing a lot of stormy and wet weather lately as low pressure after low pressure systems pass over the country. Many areas have suffered with heavy flooding as rivers overflow their banks spewing excess water over much of the low-lying ground, especially in the west country counties and along the south coast. We have been fortunate in this part of the country, that is the north-west and in other northern parts in that there hasn’t been much devastation due to flooding, though it has happened in some locations. We cannot however escape the wind if it gets up! Being as we are on the coast here in Southport there always seems to be a breeze blowing as the prevailing direction for most of our weather is from the west. Again, as we are on the front line so to speak. right on the coast, we are open to whatever winds come our way but not necessarily the rain or snow as much precipitation falls on higher ground. It does rain and snow of course but not as severely as in some places around the country, especially where the snow is concerned. On windy days I like to remain indoors. Having said that I was working partially outdoors this morning as I had been working in the garage and going back and forth between there and the house when I had to use the workbench in the cellar. A couple of days ago we discovered the roller door was faulty and yesterday, Tuesday, the guy came to repair it under guarantee.

This image shows an electrical reed switch.

This image shows an electrical reed switch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prior to his arrival on Monday I removed a switch assembly which in conjunction with a photo cell operates the fluorescent light fitting in the garage automatically when it is dark. I was never satisfied with my original setup and have had it in mind to change it for some time. I have been too busy to get round to it but as we haven’t much to do in the bathroom at the moment I took the opportunity to alter it. The reed switch is encased in a large aluminium housing and is mounted on a bracket adjacent to the wall channel in which the door moves up and down. At the bottom of the door I have fitted a permanent magnet (also encased in aluminium). When the magnet reaches the position where the switch is located it operates the switch which in turn operates an electronic circuit controlling a relay which puts power through to the light. Sounds complicated for those not into such things but is in fact a very basic circuit. The light can also be switched on manually in the normal way through a wall switch of course. The weather at that time was calm, bright and sunny. Now it is dark, wet, cold and windy!

Shirley Anne

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So what’s next?

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 10, 2014

English: cloud, rain, snow, weather forecast s...

English: cloud, rain, snow, weather forecast symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I write this late on Friday after spending most of the working day away from home doing my electrical thing. The weather forecast for the day was promising, a dry day was predicted but with perhaps the occasional shower. My first job was really three jobs in one but the main one was to be done entirely outdoors and it would take me a couple of hours to complete. The lady of the house suggested I do the two small jobs, both indoors but I explained that it would be prudent for me to do the larger outdoor job first in case the weather turned nasty, which is what I did. Although it was cloudy there was no sign of rain and I was just finishing the job when the heavens opened and we had a heavy downpour of sleet and hailstones. I was three metres up a ladder with about thirty seconds work left to do. It wasn’t worth climbing down so I stuck it out and finished the job. I climbed down the ladder and the downpour stopped, the sun broke out and remained that way for the rest of the day! Just typical, a mere thirty seconds and I’d have been home-free and dry! I remained indoors to complete the other two jobs. Unbeknown to me someone had called me on my mobile phone earlier in the morning but I didn’t hear the phone ringing. When I checked my phone later I returned the call and discovered my services were again in demand. Another job a few miles away. By the time I had done that it was way past lunchtime so when I finally got back home I was feeling rather hungry. After a quick snack E took me into town so that I could deposit some cash and to purchase some general purpose filler. E had spent her time at home filling in the various holes in the woodwork and doing some more painting but she had used what little filler we had and needed more. I didn’t do any work at home on that day for a couple of reasons, one, I was feeling tired and two, we would have been in each others way. Tomorrow, that is Saturday as I write this, E will be away from home all day so I plan to give the ceiling another coat of paint and perhaps look at some other work which we need to do in the bathroom at a later date like the water supply to the bath taps and the way that the glass panels around the shower will be fitted. We should be in possession of the wall and floor tiles as you read this. We are just about ready to start fixing them.

Shirley Anne

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A window of opportunity

Posted by Shirley Anne on January 25, 2014

English: A Window of Opportunity, Birmingham I...

English: A Window of Opportunity, Birmingham If you like 1960’s monster architecture, you’ll love Birmingham!This is the upper part of the House of Fraser building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was expecting to do some work at home on Wednesday morning but was told that we were going to be visited by our son and his two-year-old daughter around ten o’clock. His wife had been dropped off in the neighbourhood for a meeting she had so rather than make the trip back home our son and his daughter came to stay for an hour or so. It was nice to see them both of course for most of their visits I have to say have been infrequent and short-lived to date. There are good reasons for that of course as our son is the only one with a car and he is often at work as a policeman. We chatted and he explained that his wife’s mum had been taken ill last Friday with a suspected mini heart attack, in fact several of them, and she was rushed to our local hospital. She was later transferred to a specialist unit in a hospital in Liverpool where she received a stent implant in one of her arteries. She is a healthy and fit lady, eats sensibly and exercises but it is believed that her condition is hereditary. My son was concerned that the ‘defective’ gene might have been passed down to his wife and subsequently their daughter. We hope of course it hasn’t and it is not conclusive that it might. Sadly their visit was curtailed when his wife phoned to be picked up from her meeting and they left around midday. It was too early for lunch so I was looking for something to get started on in the bathroom. My first intention was to cut and lay the plywood that had arrived the previous day but when the weather changed for the better I thought about fitting that part of the new drain pipe system we have installed beneath the floor which exits the building and is connected to the main clean water downspout. We had left that short piece of old pipework still connected as it meant leaving a hole in the wall until we could fit the replacement. In order to do that a ladder was required and it had to be dry weather with little or no wind as the work was all at high level. A window of opportunity was needed both for the weather and for the right moment in my work schedule as I have been concentrating on other things. With a little help from E I set about making that change and we had it done in a little over an hour with the brickwork sealed around the pipe with mortar. I will complete the connection to the drain pipes I have already installed when that mortar is set hard and I have decided on where the drain for the wash basin is to be located. That may well be done by the time you read this. The only remaining high level work outside in connection with the bathroom project is that of installing the soil pipe to the new position for the toilet waste but that can be left until most of the other work is done and indeed even after the floor has been laid. That also requires a window of opportunity as far as the weather is concerned. It was too late to do much more in the afternoon once we’d had lunch and as I am working away from home on Thursday it may be a few days before much else gets done. Yet another window of opportunity eh?

Shirley Anne

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Cold, windy and miserable times

Posted by Shirley Anne on January 11, 2014

Antarctic Skin Temperature Trends between 1981...

Antarctic Skin Temperature Trends between 1981 and 2007, based on thermal infrared observations made by a series of NOAA satellite sensors. Skin temperature trends do not necessarily reflect air temperature trends. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With all the reports we have been hearing about high winds, freezing weather and floods is it any wonder people are asking what is causing it all? Most of the USA at the moment is frozen solid, many places here are covered with flood water and we have experienced gales and severe gales with probably more on the way. One thing we can say is that it is Winter after all but it has been a long time since we in general saw weather as bad as we have seen lately. Many of course blame the weather changes on rising global temperature (?)supposedly caused by human activity which seems on the face of it to be quite contradictory. It is true however that the average overall temperature of the planet has increased slightly and it takes only a rise in temperature of a degree or two Celsius to afford a disruption. Parts of the Globe are experiencing droughts not experienced before with higher temperatures happening at both poles. Ice is melting both in the Arctic and Antarctic which can only result in higher sea levels paving the way for coastal flooding. ‘The times they are a changing‘, rings the Bob Dylan song. There could be another explanation of cause however as some have iterated and that is that we could be heading for another Ice Age or at least a mini Ice Age. According to studies of the Earth’s past there have been at least two major Ice Ages with a number of smaller peaks and troughs in between which we call mini Ice Ages. Of course measurements will have to be taken over a number of years to reveal the truth of the matter. In the meantime we just have to get on with it and make preparations for possibly more difficult times ahead.

Shirley Anne

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Posted by Shirley Anne on November 15, 2013

Disaster Bay

Disaster Bay (Photo credit: kerriemv)

Catastrophes happen all over the world. Unless you have been holidaying on another planet recently you can’t have escaped hearing the reports of the aftermath of the enormous typhoon which caused tremendous devastation in the islands of the Philippines. Many thousands of people lost their lives there and most of the buildings in some towns have been razed to the ground. People who survived the storm have been left homeless and have little or nothing to eat. In such conditions in a warm climate disease can spread so easily making an unbearable existence even more so. In some places around the world similar or smaller catastrophes happen on a regular basis, even annually and yet people insist in continuing to live there. It is easy to say that people should move away to somewhere safer of course but many things can prevent that, work, finances, family or simply a willingness to remain where one has roots. In the so-called ‘tornado alley’ of the mid-west USA many places are hit by storms every year yet people still live there. I was watching a television program recently called ‘The Raging Planet‘ which reported on a few such natural disasters and the devastation they caused and wondered why people pick up the pieces and start again in the same place knowing that at some point in the future the same thing will happen. New Orleans lies mostly below sea level and despite the attempts to hold back the regular flood waters of the Mississippi  River the city is still bombarded from the sea and lies in the path of many hurricanes from that direction. Conditions are hardly likely to improve and in fact may get worse given that global warming is supposed to be a reality with the prospect of rising sea levels. Perhaps they should abandon the city and start again somewhere safer. Perhaps catastrophes and unnecessary loss of life can be avoided one day, if we’ve a mind to make it happen.

Shirley Anne

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