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Posts Tagged ‘Weather’

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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Posted in Activity, DIY, House and Home | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

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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A day to remember

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 26, 2013

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Over the last week or so I had it in mind to mow the lawn as soon as I
had the chance. We have had rain lately and at this time of year the
weather turns damp overnight which leaves plenty of dew on the grass,
not ideal for mowing. However, on Saturday the weather was fine enough
but I didn’t really get the opportunity and hoped for a similarly nice
day on Sunday. The forecast looked very promising and indeed Sunday
turned out to be a really warm and pleasant day, great for mowing the
lawn in fact. I arose quite early but didn’t wish to start mowing before
10 o’clock thinking it might upset the neighbours so I didn’t start
until 10.30. E joined with me and whilst I was mowing the lawn she set
about tidying up in the greenhouses and sweeping the leaves that
cluttered the paths. She later swept up the grass cuttings that had
escaped the mower’s collection box. I don’t use the box when the weather
is warmer as the cuttings are drier and more easily removed with the
rotary sweeper. It meant that I had to empty the box regularly but even
so I finished the job with reasonable speed. Once the mower had been
stored away and the grass cuttings removed I decided to dig out the
potatoes that had grown in the raised bed between the greenhouses in
which we had planted strawberries. We didn’t plant the potatoes so they
must have grown from a few we had inadvertently left in the soil the
previous year. The harvest was about five pounds or two kilograms,
enough for a couple of meals, alright considering we hadn’t planted
them! I also took the opportunity to remove the half-dozen apples from the trees that I wasn’t able to reach the day before. On returning indoors we together swept and vacuumed the floor in one of the cellar rooms which we call the workshop as it has a bench and vice in there. There was dust on the floor from cutting some of the tiles with the ‘Abra’ file (which looks like a saw but is in fact a wire-shaped file in a saw frame), the majority were cut upstairs in the wet room using the tile cutter. We had lunch and then we peeled all the apples and cut them ready for cooking. We made two very large Apple Strudels, two large pies and what can only be described as an oversized apple-filled pasty! Two women working in a kitchen is usually a recipe for disaster, friction, argument and whatever else that might, dare I say it, upsets the apple cart! But no, we work very well together in the kitchen these days and we share in whatever tasks there are. I must say that we have been getting on well together in many ways over the last couple of months after a long spell of being not on speaking terms. I think E realizes now that she can be very nasty when she wants to be but it gets her nowhere. Life is far better and enjoyable when she is amiable, both for herself and for me too.

Shirley Anne

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You can tell

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 14, 2013

English: Indian Summer

English: Indian Summer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have enjoyed a few weeks of decent weather here in the UK but as I write this on Sunday morning it is windy outside, cool and overcast, much like it was the day before. We are approaching mid-August and it is obvious that the weather is beginning to turn much cooler and unsettled. In a few week’s time we will have arrived at the beginning of Autumn once more, my favourite time of year. People are returning home after their holidays in Europe and elsewhere looking healthy if not bronze! Showing off their suntan by wearing the ubiquitous white clothing and they will do so for as long as they can even though it is becoming much cooler. It’s funny how people act isn’t it? I’ve not been on holiday this year, in fact it has been four years now since E and I have left these shores for foreign places. I have a suntan though but not because I deliberately sit out in the sun, I don’t as a rule, no, I got my tan simply by being out and about in the sunshine for the most part. It used to be that we took a holiday every year outside of the UK but as time went by we seemed less inclined to do so. It is nice when the sun shines and the weather turns warmer but there is much to be said about cool weather too, at least for me. Many people I speak with complain about our climate and how little fine weather we often have to enjoy and I think that if they think that way then why don’t they move somewhere warmer? We may still get hot days ahead but with the passing of each day and week the likelihood of that happening grows shorter. You can tell we have had the best of the weather for this year and it can only get cooler and wetter from now on. Each year is different of course so it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that there will be some bright, warm and sunny days to come. Sometimes we can look forward to what we call a ‘Indian Summer’, Indian in the sense of the country of the same name. Late September can be warm and sunny. We’ll just have to wait and see. I can always tell when the season is about to change when I have to wear something more than a simple covering to feel comfortable, like a lightweight coat first thing in the morning if I have to go out and I have needed to do that lately. Autumn is decidedly on its way.

Shirley Anne

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Weather changes things

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 8, 2013


weather (Photo credit: oldbilluk)

It was only last week we saw the end of a two-week heat spell. It can get quite hot in the UK but long periods of hot weather are rare and do not happen every year, in fact the last prolonged period of hot weather we had here was seven years ago! Personally I do not like it continuously hot and that fact would stop me from living in a normally hot country. I don’t like it too cold either but cold weather doesn’t bother me in the same way as hot weather does. During the hot weather I was able to do a lot of work outside, the sort of work that requires it to be warm and dry. Once it begins to rain things change and only certain tasks can be carried outdoors. Mowing the lawn certainly isn’t one of them. The worst time of the year for mowing the lawn I think is early Spring when the weather is wetter and the temperature isn’t yet warm enough to dry out the grass. The grass begins to grow quite rapidly and before you know it has grown quite high. This, coupled with damp conditions makes mowing a real challenge but if the grass is left it becomes really difficult to cut with any ease. I was glad I only had to face that challenge once this year but it still took me more than twice the time it normally takes when the grass is dry. It was about two weeks ago now that I had to water the lawn twice a day for four days because it had dried out too much and was suffering. A day later we got the rain we had hoped for. Another week or so later and the grass needed cutting again. That was last Saturday. I could have left it another few days but the weather was about to change again with a couple of days of rain promised. It would be too long a time to leave off cutting the lawn. So on Saturday morning I set about mowing the lawn. Now the day was windy, warm and dry, ideal for hanging out the washing. I had bed linen and a few clothes in the washing machine whilst I was eating breakfast and doing a few other things and once they were washed I put them out on the line before I mowed the lawn. Now cutting the lawn takes around a half hour or so and by the time I had finished it the washing was completely dry! Usually the washing has to stay on the line longer but the humidity must have been so low allowing it to dry quickly. I knew it was dry because I felt comfortable. No stickiness, stuffiness or clothes clinging to wet skin. Yes the weather makes all the difference to what we do and whether we are comfortable doing it!

Shirley Anne

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It’s nice but…….

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 12, 2013

The jet stream (shown here in pink) is a well-...

The jet stream (shown here in pink) is a well-known example of the thermal wind. It arises from the horizontal temperature gradient from the warm tropics to the cold polar regions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All through the winter months people were bemoaning the fact that it was too cold. Come on it was Winter after all! What did they expect? Come Spring they were all looking forward to warmer times which didn’t seem to be happening except for the occasional burst now and then. The onset of Summer was very disappointing with cold spells totally foreign to the time of year and the temperature persistently refusing to climb. Suddenly the ‘Jet Stream’ changed position and we now have the weather we expect to have in Summer but it is so hot, at least for me. High temperatures leave me feeling drained of energy but when the humidity is high too I suffer even more, in fact everyone suffers when the humidity is high, unless you are a fish! High humidity prevents the body cooling down through evaporation of sweat. It has been said that the ideal temperature and humidity for human beings are 21 degrees Celsius and 50% relative humidity. I know this to be true from working in the past in the air conditioning field as part of my workload as an engineer. I am qualified as an electrical technician and electrician with much experience and training in air conditioning, heating and ventilation, refrigeration, plumbing, computer and other control systems and many other fields in the electrical business such as CCTV, alarms, alternative power supplies and UPS. I have even worked in electrical transmission systems up to 11 Kv. So I can safely say that I  have acquired much information, knowledge and understanding of things that concern my environment in the 51 years I have been working, 51 years almost to the day without being unemployed too. There are very few things in my normal working day that I find difficult to understand or to resolve when things go wrong but I don’t always take on the work myself, I will employ others to do the work for me if it is easier for me to do that and if it is quicker to employ someone else too! Some things are best left to those who are occupied in the field continually every day and have instant access to parts which may be required. Sometimes though I just don’t want to do the work myself! I don’t much feel like doing anything when the weather is hot but I do. Getting back to the temperature, although it is nice having hot and sunny weather for me it is too hot. Some like it hot as the saying goes but not me. Ideally I would like the temperature to be around 18 degrees with a 40% humidity level but for the time being I will have to suffer the inconvenience.

Shirley Anne

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Lousy Thursday

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 30, 2013

The Client

The Client

After a lovely Tuesday(and Wednesday) and a busy Wednesday, actually I was busy on both days, Thursday proved to be a bit of a let down. As rain was forecast, which turned out to be true, I was unable to do any outside work involving concrete or mortar I had hoped that the electrical job I was supposed to do would keep me active but alas it wasn’t to be. I turned up as promised but my client didn’t, instead she sent me a text message letting me know that someone else would be there. The idea was to assess the work and give an estimate, something I don’t do these days in person for I have been let down too many times in the past. I call to see the job and submit an estimate and then they get someone else to do the work! That bit I don’t mind but the travelling and the time wasted I do. I have sufficient knowledge to be able to assess a job and give a rough estimate over the phone after I have asked some relevant questions. As this particular job was only two miles away it didn’t matter too much and as I had already given the client an estimate over the phone (which turned out quite accurate) I expected to be told to go ahead and do the work but I was met at the door by the tenant. The client hadn’t informed me that she was the ‘landlady’ of the property and that it had been let out to a tenant who hadn’t a clue about what I’d been asked to do. I telephoned the client and explained what was involved and left her to decide if she wished for me to do it. The job was to install an electric cooker circuit so she could purchase an electric cooker to replace the existing gas cooker which had a faulty oven control. It would be far less expensive to simply buy a new gas appliance as she wanted to replace the cooker anyway rather than have the expense of an electric circuit to be installed as well. Just before I left the premises I received another call from a lady a further two miles down the road who wanted me to fit a replacement light in her kitchen which she had already purchased. When I arrived ten minutes later she decided she would like to defer the job until her daughter was at home later in the day though I have no idea why, it wasn’t for any logical reason that I could think of. So again I was let down and although she’d asked me if I could call back later I refused saying that I wouldn’t be available. I don’t like being messed about by people who cannot make up their minds what they want and when they want it, some of them think that all I have to do all day is run around to suit them. So I returned home and left it at that. E went out in the afternoon to do the weekly shopping with her mum and I was left at home with pretty much nothing to do. So what did I do? I made some scones! I did some housework and I indulged in some hobbies but all the time I wanted to do something different. It goes that way sometimes.

Shirley Anne

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Two whole days doing nothing much

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 25, 2013



I usually take at least one day off at the weekend from my weekly labours but this past weekend I was forced to take two. The weather made a turn for the worst and it rained almost solidly for the two days. What made it even more uninviting was the high wind, especially on Sunday. I have been eager to do some more work on my little project but as it is all outside work the weather decides when I can do that. Most of the concrete mixing and laying has been done but some still remains, the footings for constructing the steps to the vegetable plot. The area is raised a couple of feet (say a half-metre) above the pathway leading to and from the garage where I have been constructing some concrete steps and is about at the same level as the adjacent patio. Hence the need for a couple of steps to reach it safely. I shall be using precast concrete paving slabs for the steps rather than mixing and laying concrete to make them, it is easier and quicker but there will be some brickwork required. If the weather remains fine, as it is now, I hope much of the heavier work will be completed this week but I can’t let it interfere with taking E out to lunch! As the weather was rather lousy over the weekend I decided to fill out my tax return for the Inland Revenue, something I usually put off doing until later. I hate, well no, that is too harsh a word, I dislike collating all the paperwork and accounts and filling in the form but it has to be done. I breathe a sigh of relief when I have finished. You would think I had mounds of information to collate but in fact the whole process takes me less than an hour! Well I am only a part-timer these days so there is little really to do. I just find it a chore. On Sunday morning I missed breakfast and spent a half-hour on the treadmill, went into the garden to cool off. I returned indoors, cooked a Bolognese sauce before bathing and getting dressed. The sun finally showed up in the afternoon and the weather turned less unsettled. So far it has remained that way.

Shirley Anne

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Home alone and bored?

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 17, 2013



On occasion I am left at home alone. Whenever E has a meeting or goes out for the day with her competition partaking friends I sometimes find myself with only myself for company. That of course isn’t a problem as usually I have things to do and sometimes I am out at work part of the time anyway but when it is raining and I haven’t work either away from home or at home I find I am struggling for something to do and end up bored! This is what happened on Friday. E left the house around seven in the morning and I had a job to do away from home at nine. I was occupied for an hour or so before I left the house but I returned back from the job a mere half an hour or so later. The job was about a half-mile away, it was small and I am a fast worker! I wanted to continue laying concrete but decided against it because of the weather. It rained on and off throughout the day and would have made the task difficult and I’d have gotten soaked for my effort. As it happened I decided instead to demolish part of the wall I needed to do before I could re-route the overflow pipe from the water-butt into the drain as I explained in my previous post. I simply stopped working when it rained and resumed when it stopped and I managed to do what I needed to. Unfortunately the weather got worse during the afternoon and working outside was impossible. I abandoned the idea of doing any further work outside for the day. At times like this I would normally go for a walk or go to the pub for a couple of hours but I knew I would soon get bored doing that as there aren’t many people to chat with in the afternoons. Early in the afternoon and after lunch I set about making some scones. The remainder of the day was spent on the computers, playing guitar and later entertaining a temporary house resident in the evening. On Thursday evening our youngest son had telephoned and asked if we could help a friend of his by looking after his aged cat for a night. He brought the cat to our house on Friday evening. It is some time since we last had an animal at home. I like animals, especially dogs but although I like cats too I would rather they belonged to somebody else! Cats are destructive animals and I wouldn’t have one as a pet for that reason. I have been in many houses where there have been cats in residence and see scratched wallpaper and furniture everywhere. Not only that but cats tend to jump up onto things, beds, tables, worktops in the kitchen and most anywhere they please. No thank you, I don’t want one as a pet. Was I bored? Not really but I did find it a struggle at times finding something to do.

Shirley Anne

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A bit of a change?

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 9, 2013

A bit of a change? Well not really. On Wednesday evening someone called to ask if it was possible for me to do a small electrical job, in fact it was the second call that evening asking the same thing.

The Night Caller (1998 film)

The Night Caller (1998 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first caller wanted to know how soon I could fit some new lights after she had bought them and I replied by saying probably the next day as I haven’t had much electrical work of late. That caller may call again but may not. In the meantime the second caller was eager for me to do their job and I obliged by doing it on Thursday morning. The job took most of the morning to do and I was back home for lunch. E went out mid-afternoon to do the weekly shopping with her mum as she usually does and I had no other plans for the day but as soon as she left the house I set about breaking some old concrete slabs that we had been using as a temporary step behind the old garage door. The picture can be seen in a recent post. I broke the slabs to form some hardcore before starting to lay a base of concrete over it. I got the cement mixer out and set about mixing some concrete. (We’d had a large delivery of sand, cement and gravel during Wednesday together with a half-dozen paving slabs we will be laying behind the new garage some time in the future). Two mixes later and the hardcore rubble had been covered over with concrete. Later on I will be laying more concrete to complete the ramp I intend to make there. After tidying up I thought I’d give the garden plants a good watering as it hasn’t rained for quite a few days. I went back indoors just before five and poured myself a drink in the kitchen. When I turned around E was standing there and she frightened the life out of me! I hadn’t heard her coming into the house though she must have been there for a good few minutes. I wish she’d make some sort of noise when returning home so that I wouldn’t be caught unaware. I think she enjoys taking me by surprise. It is such nice weather at the moment and it would be foolish not to take advantage of it when I have the opportunity, besides which I like working at home and this sort of work can only be done when it isn’t raining. Friday saw E and I mixing even more concrete and laying it over what I had laid the day before and also on the top step leading out of the other garage (we have yet to lay the concrete around the grid there to complete the set of new steps). We agreed to work only a half-day on Saturday to finish off the ramp behind the garage which we had been working on over the previous  three days. The remainder of Saturday and the whole of Sunday will be spent relaxing either in the garden or inside the house, though I might go for a bike ride on Sunday. Whilst there is still much work to do on the projects in hand I have been giving some thought to another project or two which I would like to do later but we’ll have to see what develops. And here’s me wondering what I could be doing if I retire!

Shirley Anne

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Forget Summer

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 18, 2013

English: Hyde Park in a heatwave The second we...

Hyde Park in a heatwave The second week of August 2003 was the hottest ever recorded in London, with temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius. Not surprisingly many people flocked to the parks to cool off.

It is past the middle of May and still it is very cold. The warmer temperatures we have come to expect at this time of year have been somewhat lacking even though there have been warm sunny days. It appears that the ‘Jet Stream’, the high altitude wind pattern is favouring places like Moscow with the United Kingdom fairing less well as a result. Until the Jet Stream shifts in our favour I guess we can say goodbye to a  warm Summer again this year. I watch the weather forecasts with interest but it is all bad news lately. I heard tell that the month of June won’t be much better either.  Astronomically speaking Summer starts on or about the 21st day of June so there is still time left for an improvement I suppose. It may be that the later months of the season will prove me wrong. I do hope so. It can be rather depressing when all we get is poor weather when reasonably it should be better. We must however make the most of things for we have no control over matters. For many people summer is the two-week vacation they take each year in a foreign land though not everyone can afford such things. I have been fortunate in that respect having enjoyed many holidays in foreign places in the past. These days I am less bothered about travelling across the globe for the pleasure of enjoying the warm weather which is taken for granted in many countries.  Quite often I have found that the living conditions in these beautiful places where the sun shines most of the year and the temperatures never fall below 20 degrees Celsius are very poor indeed. Having a warm or hot climate doesn’t guarantee perfect happiness unless you have plenty of money and money doesn’t even buy happiness! I am not giving up on Summer, things are not that bad really, it could be a lot worse, in fact it may well be a lot better! I am not sure just what I will be doing in the months ahead. Working? Most probably. Taking a vacation?  Probably not but anything is possible. Enjoying myself? I will try my best. Summer will be great if I am still here to enjoy it won’t it?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Enjoyment, Happiness, Weather, Well-being | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It isn’t that strange

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 2, 2013

Cover for Strange Weather Lately Volume Two gr...

Cover for Strange Weather Lately Volume Two graphic novel by metaphrog. Published in 1999. 

Today, Monday, as I write this, it is very sunny and very windy. At this time of year we are used to enjoying the warmer days of mid-Spring but alas it is more like late Winter. Over the last few years, indeed over the last few decades, there has been a gradual change in our weather patterns. Many scientists and meteorological experts agree that the whole world is entering a warmer phase and attribute the temperature increase, small as it is at the moment, to increases in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. According to many this rise has come about by human activity caused by the burning of fossil fuels but is this the whole picture?  The Earth has seen climate changes many times and it may surprise some to know that even during the last 1000 years there have been noticeable changes, changes which cannot be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels. There are indications that the temperature was higher during the 10th to the 14th centuries. It is believed that the temperatures during the last 4000 years have reached their warmest levels on several occasions. It is a well-known fact that however that there was a dramatic drop in temperatures during the 16th and 19th centuries, a period often called the mini Ice Age. We moan so much about the weather but conditions could be worse and have been in the past. For more information I suggest a visit to this site http://www.co2science.org/subject/other/clim_hist_1thousand.php I think you will find it rather fascinating and perhaps  give you a better understanding about our topsy-turvy weather here in the UK.

Shirley Anne

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It is getting better……honest!

Posted by Shirley Anne on March 15, 2013

English: Location of the Channel Islands

Location of the Channel Islands

A couple of days ago I was sitting at home writing one of my posts and mentioning something about the brilliant sunshine we were enjoying in our part of the country. That same day, Monday, I heard what the weather was like in the Channel Islands where they almost never get snow. They were experiencing one of the worst snow blizzards they have ever had the misfortune to get, in fact much of northern France and south-east England were having the same experience yet here along the coast in west Lancashire it was sunny with no snow. Later that day though we began to see fine snow descending as the sky grew darker and darker with approaching clouds from the east. By nightfall we had what you might call a ‘dusting’ of snow but only about a couple of millimetres.  However, because it was extremely cold it remained on the ground until morning. Tuesday started again with bright sunshine and clear blue skies and as the temperature rose the snow disappeared except in the very sheltered spots. The weather is getting better each day as Spring approaches. The main problem facing the country as far as the weather is concerned is the wind direction. Whilst it is blowing from the east we will continue with colder days. According to the forecast though the wind is beginning to veer from the north and gradually from the west, where we expect it to be coming from at this time of year. Most of my mornings are spent at home unless I have work to do and once it is afternoon I begin to think about going for bike rides or visiting the pub for a meal or going for a walk somewhere as by that time I don’t expect any calls on my phone requesting work that day. Most folk call me in the evenings unless it is something they think requires urgent attention. By mid afternoon I am not usually prepared to start work and always tend to defer jobs to be scheduled some other day and in the morning. Life is getting better for me as I begin to take things more easy and please myself. Now that the weather is seemingly improving I thought we might have gotten the chance to see something of the comet that paid the inner solar system a visit recently but alas I think we’ve missed it. Those in the southern hemisphere have enjoyed watching its progress as it swept toward the sun and we in the northern hemisphere should have still been able to see it after it had swung round the sun returning from whence it came. If it had been visible, it would have graced the western sky after sunset for a few more days. According to what I’ve read it would have been visible between 12th and 20th of this month. Later in the year however in November, we are informed that a much brighter comet will make an appearance and will be more prominent in the northern hemisphere for a change. We’ll see.

Shirley Anne

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Hurry up!

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 15, 2013

Daydreams in Cold Weather

Daydreams in Cold Weather

It hasn’t been a really bad winter where I live considering some of the appalling weather many have had so suffer elsewhere. I cannot complain really having only suffered a couple of days of negotiable snow and ice before it disappeared completely. Even now more snow is forecast for tomorrow (Wednesday) but I think we may avoid it here on the coast and I don’t think it will last very long where it does fall. We have reached that time of the year when things are beginning to improve, temperatures rising albeit slowly and with spells of cold still persisting but I see the snowdrops in my garden and the green stems of daffodils growing quite tall ready to open next month. There are already flowering plants hugging the ground which don’t seem to mind the cold weather but these are winter flowering plants that blossom for most of the year giving the borders a lot of colour. They are yellow, red and purple with large green foliage and really do brighten up the dull soil. Most other plants are still dormant apart from the evergreen shrubs we have. The sun is desperately trying to shine through the clouds and it lights up the house giving it that extra shot of heat too but then it disappears for the day and everywhere seems cold again. I wish the warmer weather would hurry. Even though I don’t mind the cold weather too much it isn’t the same. I long for Spring and it is only round the corner. The front of our house bears the full sunshine as it more or less faces SSW and if I am sitting in one of the two front lounges it is very much noticeable. At the moment I am being teased for the sun comes and goes during the day giving me a glimpse and promise of better days ahead.

Shirley Anne

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