Weather with You (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We waited patiently for the onset of Spring and it looked at last as if the days could only get warmer but this is the UK and our weather patterns are never always reliable. On Wednesday at least the country was more or less split in half regarding the weather. Those in the south were enjoying temperatures and sunshine more typical for the month of June or even July whereas those up north had to put up with cloudy skies and low temperatures and even rain in some places too. Temperatures in the south were in the low twenties and even as high as twenty-five degrees Celsius in places but in the north it was more like eleven degrees with a slight wind. As far as conditions are concerned the weather in the north was more typical for the season whereas in the south conditions were more unseasonal. The day was a one-off though for the main problem was the passing of a cold front making its way slowly southward. For such a small country there can be quite a difference in weather patterns between the most northerly point to the most southerly at almost any time of the year. On a more personal note, the weather was just fine for me. I was half expecting to get more job requests for the day but had just the one and that one a very small one indeed, to connect a cooker to its isolating switch. I was happy about that for it meant I would have most of the day to myself but I couldn’t do it until the cooker had been delivered at eleven o’clock. It was almost lunch time as I drove home but I decided to go for another pub/restaurant meal beforehand as I had only fruit for my breakfast some hours earlier. Just as I had put the van in the garage, for I had no intentions of taking anymore work for the day, my phone rang, but it wasn’t a job request this time. I advertise in a local free newspaper, one of two operating in the area. The call was from the other newspaper group trying to secure my business! They had been trawling their competitor’s newspaper looking for more business. I wondered if the group I advertise with do the same. I explained that as I only work part-time (more or less) and as I am also 69 years of age to boot, I didn’t want the volume of work and was quite happy with my current newspaper running my advert. I locked the garage and went indoors.
Hayfield at Easter The gates of Hayfield School are closed for the Easter break. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This past week many people will have taken the opportunity to have a brief holiday or maybe longer if in their circumstances it was possible. Anytime is possible for me being as I am self-employed and part-time too. Possibly I should be retired but for the moment I am enjoying the fact that I am still able to work because I enjoy it. However if I wanted a break I am in the fortunate position to be able to take one. For some that isn’t possible because of their commitments so they take a break whenever they can. My new neighbours living across the street have done exactly that. They have two small children and can therefore only take a holiday outside of school terms. I suppose if their children were being taught at home or by private tutors they could fit a holiday in at any time. I don’t think that is true in my neighbours case as I often see the mother doing the school run in the mornings. For anyone taking a break in this country this past week and during the approach to Easter the weather has been anything else but fine and sunny though it was sunny all day on Saturday as I wrote this. It is to be expected at this time of year of course but that doesn’t stop people travelling. The problem with this country is its size and its infrastructure for anyone using the roads and rail systems it must be somewhat of a nightmare with all the congestion that is caused by so many travelling at the same time. Unless people have gone abroad, as I think my neighbours have done, they will have had to endure the poor weather we have had here. Many have gone to foreign shores but even they will have experienced congestion getting to the airport and even at the airport! One thing I have never done is journey anywhere far away during our seasonal peak-time breaks when everyone else is doing the same. When our children were young we did go abroad for our holidays but always selected times for doing so when the traffic, human and otherwise, was lighter thus avoiding ‘the rush’. This Easter weekend I stayed indoors, not even venturing out into the garden for any length of time. The weather, though not that good, allowed me to take a walk or two. That was enough for me.
Night ‘n’ Gales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Friday afternoon on my return from the pub having had a meal there I found the house empty. E had gone out somewhere and had forgotten to set the house alarm. She may have thought I was still at home instead of checking that I wasn’t. I suppose part of that problem is mine because I slipped out without letting her know. Anyhow it was a lovely sunny day and I wanted to make the most of it by being outdoors doing something. It wasn’t too warm however, a mere 9 deg. C but because there was little or no wind it felt much warmer than that. Saturday’s forecast didn’t look promising at all, we were told to expect high winds and gales coupled with lots of rain. In fact that was the forecast for many days ahead. I mowed the lawn on Friday morning for that reason and was glad I did for we did get lots of wind and rain overnight and into Saturday morning. However although the wind was high it wasn’t as bad as had been forecast, here at least. With that in mind I decided to lower the flag on Friday afternoon until the worst of the weather had passed. In winds exceeding 35 mph it is recommended the flag isn’t flown. I guess we had winds of around 25 mph but I didn’t wish to take that chance. I wanted to carry out some maintenance on the loop of rope which holds the bottom of the flag when it is flying. The top of the flag is held by the main rope itself which is inside the flag pole and emanates at the top. The loop of rope needs to be weighty so that the lower end of the flag is held down and also to allow the rope to fall downwards when both the flag is fitted and when it is not. When the flag isn’t fitted I attach the free end of the rope to the loop so that there is enough weight to allow the rope to fall. If I didn’t do that there is the possibility that the rope would remain at the top of the pole and out of reach. The loop I had made a few months ago needed to be heavier and I had it in mind to alter it the next time the flag was lowered. That is what I did on Friday. No special loop of rope is supplied by the manufacturer of the pole or flag but the flag is supplied with a short length of rope attached on its lower corner. This is supposed to form the loop to circle the pole at the bottom of the flag whilst the top is held by the main rope. If this method is used however there is little weight to hold the bottom of the flag down and in high winds this prevents the flag from opening fully sometimes. It also means there is no way to hoist the rope up the pole to keep it out of reach when no flag is attached. A separate heavier loop of rope is a better idea so that the main rope can be fixed to it and hoisted up out of reach knowing there will be enough weight to allow it to drop when required. The other end of the rope is of course locked inside the pole and is only accessible by removing a locked cover plate. As the very high winds didn’t materialise I re-attached the flag on Saturday afternoon. It was windy and although the temperature was 12 deg. C it felt much cooler than the day before because of that wind.
It was a very wet day here in Toronto, and the umbrellas were out in force as you can see from this lineup at the streetcar stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over the last few days the weather has turned colder, just a reminder I suppose that Winter hasn’t finished with us yet and that Spring will have to wait. It has also been wet and windy lately and not the kind of weather anyone wishes to be outside in unless it is absolutely necessary. However, I like going out for short walks and I am not usually put off by the weather but unfortunately I don’t have the rain-proof outer clothing I once had and have to make do with an umbrella if it is raining. When it is windy it means using the umbrella is sometimes an impossibility so I end up staying indoors and taking some exercise on my treadmill. The advantages of the treadmill are I remain dry, I can run, walk or jog and adjust the gradient as it pleases me. The exercise can be very demanding or more relaxed and I can even watch television or listen to the radio whilst doing it but I much prefer to be outdoors, at least for walks, especially if the day is warm and sunny. On Saturday morning I was feeling a little restless with nothing much to do and wanting to get outside for a walk. It was cold outside, no warmer than 6 deg C but there was almost no wind at all, ideal conditions for a walkabout without the need for special outdoor clothing other than that which would keep me warm. The walk replaced my lunch. I’d had porridge for an early breakfast and that is usually enough to keep me going until early evening so missing lunch is no big deal and in any case it is better for my health not to eat too much. I headed off toward town through the back streets rather than along the main route. There were few people about, probably because of the cold weather but more could be found in the town centre where there are plenty of shops to browse in. Eventually I turned back and headed for home but I thought I would drop into the pub on my way. I needed a drink, a soft drink, and I also needed the toilet! I had expected the place to be full as it usually is in the afternoon but surprisingly it wasn’t. I didn’t stay long, just enough time to have my drink and then I was off home. I thought the walk would have made me feel hungry but no so. It was evening before I next ate something.
A New Morning, Changing Weather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday I spoke about the rough weather we had on Monday morning and the fact that I wanted to go into town to buy some things. During my average week I cannot get into town in the morning for I am usually at work so when a day comes along where I have no work I like to take the opportunity. However, I didn’t much fancy going out in the rough weather but did so late in the morning because the forecast was for sunshine and by the time I left the house it had indeed started to get brighter. I didn’t wish to walk the whole distance there and back as on my return journey I would be carrying more weight so I decided to take the van and park it in my usual place just outside the parking metre zone. It still meant I would have to walk about half a mile but that is far better than the mile and a quarter it would have been (one way) if I was carrying bags of shopping. By the time I had parked the van the sun was out though it was still very windy. I had walked a matter of 200 yards and hailstones began to fall in the high driving wind. I took shelter at a bus stop and waited for it to subside. About five minutes later it had stopped but the wind was relentless. Fortunately the wind was blowing in the same direction I was walking but I knew I would have to walk into it on the way back. At last I was in the shopping precinct and in the warmth of the shops. Soon I had all my shopping done and I set off back to the van. The wind was biting and full on in my face. I was well wrapped up for walking but there is no protection against the wind on your face unless you wear a mask! I saw a young man wearing exactly that. It took the form of a skull and looked a bit spooky but I guess he couldn’t care less, his face must have been warm. Finally I reached the van and was glad to get out of the wind. The sun was ‘cracking the flags’ as they say but the wind took away any warmth the sun was providing. I just threw everything on the passenger seat and drove off but not for home, not just yet. I made a detour to the pub and had a hot meal. I had skipped breakfast for I had it in mind anyway to eat out somewhere. Once home again I packed away my shopping and had a restful afternoon but later decided to do a spot of baking as we were out of fresh home-baked scones.
When I spoke about the weather in Monday’s post, written last Thursday, I realised that conditions at this time of year can change so quickly from day-to-day. The old saying that the month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb is often proved true. It was indeed a bright and sunny day hereabouts on Thursday and fairly warm too but when I arose on Monday morning at seven o’clock the picture outside my bedroom window looked like this..
The garden had a dusting of soft hailstones. The wind was up and the hail was coming down in bursts. However shortly afterwards everything changed and in the space of about fifteen minutes almost all of the hailstones had disappeared as you can see in the third picture below.
A further fifteen minutes later the garden was fully lit by the morning sun but unfortunately before I could take another photograph it once again became cloudy and dull. I opened the window to see how warm or cold it was outside and surprisingly it was fairly warm, well warm for me. I guess it must have been around 5 deg C, though in the stiff breeze it would have felt much colder. I was wanting to go into town for a few things sometime in the morning as I had no work scheduled but the poor weather threatened a stay at home instead. I am writing this on Monday morning and as yet haven’t made up my mind whether the trip into town will happen but there’s plenty of time for the weather to change once more. In fact the forecast for the next few hours is bright sunshine! We can never rely on the weather being stable at this time of year for it can change so quickly.
St George’s Cross – the flag of England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Funny how things go sometimes. I was talking about flying the flag or rather not flying the flag a few days ago because of the very high winds we had been experiencing. I had to lower the flag and remove it for a few days until the wind subsided. The recommended upper speed limit of the wind when flying the flag is 35 mph and it has been far windier than that lately. A couple of days ago I resumed flying the flag, well the one we have that isn’t damaged for we had to take down the Union flag because it was showing signs of wear. It had been of lesser quality than we had expected and not as good as the other flag which is the cross of St George but not like the one shown in this picture! Anyway to cut a long story short I decided to purchase a new and better quality Union flag which should have arrived by the time this is posted. It cost a little under £65 inclusive of tax and postage. Having decided to fly the flag again the weather has now turned quite mild with little wind, just typical. Not only has there been little in the way of wind there has been no snow either. Some parts of the country have been less fortunate though to see the smiles upon the children’s faces they are happy about it. I don’t like snow or wind myself. I’ve not been too busy lately and I am in grave danger of getting used to that. I hope my electrical work picks up a bit as I am not receiving many requests just at the moment. Nature of the beast, sometimes I am swamped with work and at other times barely get any. It’s a bit like the wind, it comes and it goes and at the moment neither is in abundance.
The weather has been awful lately, mostly windy, wet and cold or at best cool. We have had but only a couple of hours of respite and sunshine during the past week or so. Last Summer I purchased a flag pole together with one flag. Later I purchased a second flag different from the first but recently I took down the second flag which we had been flying for some months. The first flag, the flag of St. George the patron saint of England is of better quality than the second flag which is the Union Flag of England, Ireland (Northern Ireland) and Scotland.
The Union Flag, the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The problem with the Union Flag is that it has begun to ‘shred’ and come away at the edges and is obviously not up to the job whereas the other flag is made of sturdier stuff. I will have to purchase another Union Flag but one of a better quality this time. However for the time being neither of the flags have been flying because of the high winds. We are advised by the manufacturer of the flag pole not to fly flags whenever the wind speeds get too high. They quote an advisable speed over which flags should not be flown and that is thirty-five miles per hour. We have followed that advise by monitoring the weather forecasts. Both flags are two metre flags by definition and are consequently quite large though larger ones can be purchased. The two metre flag is that recommended by the flag pole manufacture for the seven metre pole we bought. As I write this on Monday morning it is still windy though the flag will remain indoors for the time being until the weather improves more. I might wait until I purchase another Union Flag before I fly one again. I hope to purchase one soon. It will cost me around £65 for the better quality flag.
Braunton: Saunton Sands. A mist can be seen lifting off the surf as a winter day draws to its close (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes, there is a joke there in the title but I don’t wish to talk about underwear. Up until Saturday last the weather has been quite mild for the most part and dry for much of the time too but I sense that will not last now we are nearing the second week of Winter. I speak about the calendar of course for the season doesn’t really show its bad side until January and February. However the country has had its first real taste of the season as it has been snowing in many places. Most of that snow though has fallen elsewhere to here where I live in Southport. A mere twenty miles or so south John Lennon airport had to close because of heavy snow fall. The airport is on the south side of Liverpool. Further northward toward north Lancashire and Cumbria they too had snow and a few miles inland from Southport also saw snow. At best we had a little sleet and I mean a little, it was mostly cold rain. Today, Sunday, as I write this the day has been gloriously sunny though cold. There was a ground frost everywhere when I arose but gradually all that had melted by noon. Well it is Winter after all. I could have gone for a walk but I decided to be lazy and stay indoors. I asked E if she would like a roast dinner, something we hadn’t enjoyed on a Sunday early afternoon for some time. I went downstairs to dig out a frozen chicken from the freezer and as it was late in the morning I had to defrost the bird in the microwave oven. Usually we let meat thaw naturally but we were dining around one o’clock. It took a mere twenty minutes or so and was ready for the oven immediately. I had preheated the oven so popped it in straight away. It was eleven fifty on the clock. Whilst it was cooking I prepared everything else. We sat down to eat around one-thirty. After dinner and after doing the washing-up I fancied baking another cake. Whilst E and I were out shopping before Christmas I bought a new round metal cake tin and was keen to use it for the first time rather than having to use the rectangular rubber/polyethylene one I had been using. So out came all the ingredients and soon the cake was in the already warm oven. It is a good idea to do as much baking as possible whilst the oven is hot for it saves on energy. I had wanted to make some coconut macaroons but didn’t have all the necessary ingredients for the recipe I was using. E said she would buy it in when next she went shopping. Winter is a good season to be baking at home I think and I am getting better at it all the time. I didn’t do much baking at home until recently. That was because I had too many other things to do, and still have I suppose but I am more relaxed about my other duties these days. Now I can take time out to bake whenever I feel like it. Mmmm….I haven’t baked any scones for a while…..and it’s warm indoors
Ah, the pudding. Months in the making. Finally ready to have the brandy poured on, and then thrown to the lions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Those of my readers here in the UK will already know how mild the weather has been over the last week or so, mild for the month of December that is. However it hasn’t always been dry with it. We have had some cold spells too though nothing like it must get in other places in the world. I have been so busy these last few weeks I have not had the opportunity to do some work out in the garden for despite there having been many days of fair weather I have been elsewhere. There are a couple of things I have been itching to get done, moving the gooseberry bushes and finishing off the area around the ‘mound’ we have been working on throughout the summer months are just two of them. As I have a couple of weeks of free time over the Christmas holiday I hope I will have the opportunity to get those things done. It all depends upon the weather of course. Whilst everyone is stuffing their faces with turkey I could be out in the garden working, you never know! Well turkey isn’t on my menu anyway, neither are mince pies, and Christmas pudding (though I do love Christmas Pudding I seldom eat it these days). I gave up eating that stuff years ago. My diet over the holiday will be just as it is every other day of the year, normal. Many will already know I will probably have beans on toast topped with a lightly fried egg or two for my Christmas day dinner. Why? Because I love beans on toast topped with eggs and I prefer it to the rich foods that I once imbibed at this time of year. I won’t be feeling bloated because I had over-indulged either. I had a tendency to do that once I have to admit but to be fair it was due to the many different things we bought just because it was Christmas. For many people Christmas is a time for over-indulgence in one form or another which is their prerogative but it isn’t for me, I prefer simpler fayre and in moderation. I will be alone at home for most of Christmas Day as I have been for many years now so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to my readers that the day might see me out doing some work in my garden at some point. That of course depends on the weather being dry.
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.
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!
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!
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.