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.
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’?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.