I went to bed early but didn’t drop off to sleep until just after ten o’clock. I had set the alarm for four-thirty despite knowing that usually I lie awake waiting for it to go off! I wanted to take an early walk and set off just after five-thirty. The forecast had been for a cold night and fairly windy with it. Whenever the wind blows it makes things colder than the dry bulb indicates. It is all about evaporation. As an engineer one of my responsibilities was to ensure a comfortable working environment for the staff across the site. I had to maintain an ambient temperature of 21 deg C and a relative humidity of 50% both within set limits. I often used a whirling hygrometer which is a device resembling one of those rattles people often used at football matches many years ago. In the hygrometer are two mercury-filled thermometers one of which has the bulb inside a sock which is dipped in distilled water. As the device is rotated at speed it takes two temperatures, a dry bulb and a wet bulb temperature. The wet bulb would generally produce a lower temperature than the dry bulb due to the cooling effect caused by the evaporation of the wet sock. A reference chart would be used to find the relative humidity using the two temperatures. That by the way was a slight diversion to my post! It is interesting though as many folk wouldn’t know why the wind has a cooling effect, they just know it does.
There you see the device in the picture. Although I was well wrapped up the walk was bracing to say the least! I chose to walk my current route in a clockwise direction rather than the counter-clockwise direction I normally take which meant walking along the sea front with the wind in my face. I was certainly glad when I reached the point where I would turn inland and then back home with the wind behind me! It began to rain. It took some time to ‘thaw out’ on my return. How different from a couple of weeks ago when it was quite balmy. Now the rain was heavier and the morning looked miserable but after breakfast I did a little more work in the garage. This time cutting out the slot in the door edge in which to sit the new lock. It took me ages to do it because the door was on its hinges. I should have done it whilst it was held in the workbench the day before but of course I didn’t have it then. Suddenly I had it finished, the slot anyway and I stopped work. “I’ve had enough” I told myself and tidied up. It was twelve forty-five and time for lunch.
A few months ago I manufactured a gate to fit at the side of the house……
It didn’t take long to construct and it fitted perfectly into the space where I placed it but that was when the weather was warm and dry. The weather naturally has changed since then becoming colder and more humid which all means the wooden gate expanded. That’s what wood does when the temperature and humidity change. I knew I had to remove the gate and shave a little wood from it but I had to wait for my youngest son to return the borrowed plane so I could get on with it. In fact he had borrowed two planes, one of them electric and it was the electric one I wanted to do the job. Finally after weeks of asking he brought the plane over and I was able to do the work which only took a half hour. Now there is a gap between the gate and the frame so further expansion if it happens will not result in the gate jamming as it did. A few years ago I erected a flagpole in the front garden…..
As you might expect the weather has affected that too. The flag has to put up with wind, sun, rain and everything the weather throws at it. That being the case the flag has to be replaced from time to time and in fact new ones have been purchased along the way. On Thursday last week however I noticed the halyard rope had become worn and I had to remove the flag for a few days until I could replace the rope. At the time of writing I am waiting for the delivery of the rope and a couple of accessories. I have never had to change the rope since it was new and I am hoping I will be able to attach the replacement to the old one in order to pull it up through the pole and out at the top. If I find I can’t it will mean erecting part of the scaffolding tower around the base to remove the top section of the pole. It may be prudent to do so anyway so that the finial can be serviced. At present it tends to remain fixed when it should be free to rotate about the top of the pole. The weather takes its toll on anything exposed to it!
I had spent a night of intermittent sleep sessions but nevertheless finally waking satisfied and rested. I wanted to go for a walk but as it was Saturday I thought I would eat a breakfast first then realised it didn’t matter which day it was, after all I am retired! Having said that I am only retired from my work as an electrician, I have lots of other things now to occupy my time. Anyway after breakfast I had to wait a while before I could go for the walk….naturally so. It was just the right temperature for walking but I didn’t realise the humidity was as high as it was, 87% relative, which is very high. There had been a slight breeze and it was pleasant to be out in. The wind was a little stronger when I reached the coastal road of course and it made the walk easy. However, by the time I had returned home I was sweating profusely and felt hot.
It had been the high humidity making me feel that way because Nature’s way of cooling me down through my sweat evaporating had been restricted. Too much moisture already in the air. The wind had assisted in the evaporation but once I’d stopped walking and gone indoors it felt too sticky for comfort. This is one reason why I like to go for a walk earlier in the day during the warmer months, it is much cooler then. I was able to remain indoors with the windows open enough to allow a cooling breeze to wash over me. Soon I had cooled down to feel comfortable again. The day turned out to be very sunny throughout but the humidity still remained high. I was happy to just relax in it and do nothing for a change.
It is the same every year, I (we) moan about the dreary dull wet days of winter and when it gets hot and sunny I do the same, never satisfied. When it is cool (and dry if I’m outdoors) I can get on with the various jobs that need doing and special jobs I call my projects but once it gets too warm and humid I don’t feel much like doing anything. So it was on Saturday. I had slept in a little longer than usual but that was due to my not getting off to sleep sooner. I hadn’t done much on Friday so wasn’t as tired as I might have been. There wasn’t any reason for me to get up early anyway. By the time I arrived downstairs it was already bright, sunny and warm. I had a little something to eat and went out on to the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I had it in mind to do a little gardening but wasn’t in a hurry to start. In fact it wasn’t until mid-afternoon before I did anything. E went to her monthly meeting at one o’clock and I wanted to eat lunch before doing any work but it was too early to eat. I went back to the patio and lay down for an hour then had lunch. The work I wanted to do in the front garden was to pluck out weeds, plant a small holly bush in the mound, one that had been growing in a pot but needed putting in the ground and then to water the garden too. It was very hot in the front garden as there is no shade from the sun at all in the afternoon. Once I had finished there it was into the rear garden to water the plants there and again there was little or no shade there either! It’s all too much like hard work in the summer when all I want to do is relax. It isn’t that I don’t want to work but the heat and humidity make it so uncomfortable, for me anyway. E arrived back home around four-thirty and we both spent an hour on the patio, she to lie down, me to just sit this time and chat. She would be off again very early in the morning to spend the day at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham to a food festival being held there. It is an annual event she and a couple of others attend. I would have to either go somewhere or sit it out at home trying to relax in the heat. Either way it would be uncomfortable for me. Roll on the cooler weather!
I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather for there is nothing I can do about it. These past few days have been very warm and humid, so much so it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and drained of energy. It has more to do with the humidity rather than the temperature and that applies to everyone. We can only cool down (in the air) if our perspiration is allowed to evaporate but the higher the humidity the less that can happen. I try to do as little as possible when conditions are humid but it isn’t easy. On Thursday morning I had a dental appointment across town and even at ten o’clock in the morning it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. How grateful I was that the surgery is fully air-conditioned. Whilst I was waiting to see the dentist I received a phone call from my neighbour informing me that I should return home because the house alarm had been sounding. I wondered why E hadn’t contacted me but as we haven’t been on speaking terms she asked a neighbour! All that however is a different story which I will not go into at this time. I explained that it was impossible for me to return immediately and left it at that. The alarm would automatically cease sounding after twenty minutes anyway and when I did arrive back home some forty minutes later it had indeed cut off.
It transpired that the main panel battery was faulty but I called the alarm company and asked if they could attend and replace it and also do a complete service at the same time. We hadn’t an existing maintenance agreement so I arranged that with the engineer when he called. For an annual fee (presently £108) they will check out the system each year and carry out any necessary repairs. I had asked their office not to send an engineer before three o’clock as I was eating out. They came at one-fifteen! Fortunately I had been to the pub before then but my visit there was cut short. It was just as well as it turned out. It is unusual for people to arrive earlier than the appointed time I have to say but I suppose they had time on their hands. My dental appointment by the way was for a routine check-up and clean but I have been referred to a local clinic in regard to a gum infection at the dentist’s request. He just wanted a second opinion. By mid-afternoon all had calmed down, dentist, pub, alarm sorted but I had to water the gardens once again. It is easy enough for me to go and stand in the shower if I get too uncomfortable but the poor plants must be wondering when it will be that it rains again! I wish it would too.
To be honest it is the high humidity which gets me down rather than the temperature though it can still be too hot even when the humidity is low. The more humid the more discomfort and the more difficult for any form of manual labour. As the week progressed the temperature dropped but the humidity remained high. I had been working in the garden earlier in the week but on Thursday morning and again on Friday morning I had electrical work to do which in a way was beneficial for it kept me from burning myself out with the gardening work. I had to be at home at one o’clock as the joiner was fitting the new door. He arrived right on time but it took him longer than he had expected to do the work. That might have been due to the warm weather though I could be wrong. It took him until four-thirty to complete the job which would be around three hours actually doing the work. Anyway I could do little work myself within the house and working out in the garden was not viable for three reasons, I was too tired in the heat, I would have to dress for gardening work which meant I couldn’t respond quickly if the guy needed me for something as it would mean having to remove my boots and other dirt gathering garments to walk about in the house. The third reason was that I didn’t feel like starting the gardening so late in the day. As it was I had to clean the room after he had gone and once again vacuum the stairwell from top to bottom as I had done on Monday after the carpet had been laid. I wonder how some people can make such a mess when doing a job, ahem. Well you cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg or two! By the time I had cleaned the three landings and three flights of stairs I was exhausted and very wet with perspiration. E hadn’t yet returned home with the groceries so I went into the rear garden to water the plants and to cool off in the slight breeze. Before I returned indoors I took the washing off the line that E had hung out earlier. Whilst I was doing that E arrived home. We had a late dinner and I did little else before bed time.
It was a scorcher of a day on Sunday with temperatures around 24 C. It felt a little humid during the morning but less so as the day wore on. For early May these conditions are abnormal hereabouts as the average temperature should be around 16 C. I won’t complain about that but if I have anything to do I much prefer the lower temperature. I find the high temperature combined with higher humidity just drains the energy out of me. I wanted to go for a walk in the morning but it threatened rain and though that wouldn’t matter I decided against it and spent time on the treadmill in the cooler and dryer cellar. E wanted to do some gardening, removing weeds and overgrowth in one of the flower beds in the front garden so she set everything up and left me to my own devices. I didn’t much want to do anything in the garden but I ended up doing a little. I decided to take the ‘Yucca’ plant I have been nurturing (not sure of the variety) out of the large plant pot I had planted it in last year and plant it in the flowerbed next to the patio and against the wall
Which is in this flowerbed
Apart from plucking out one or two weeds and later watering the garden I did little else. After lunch E and I spent a little time out on the patio relaxing in the heat of the day with myself bare-footed on the artificial turf which surprisingly was warm, soft and dry. I don’t do sunbathing so after a short time I cover up my more sensitive parts, which means most of me I guess.
Now it is Tuesday as I write this and the day has been much warmer and humid than it was yesterday and it was uncomfortable then! I can put up with the heat for a little time as long as there is some air movement but when it is humid with too it becomes unbearable. I had several ‘small’ jobs to do in a house about ten miles away but although they were small it still took me more than three hours to do them all. I had plenty of ventilation within the house so it was cool enough at least for the first couple of hours but because the humidity was high I became like a wet sponge. For those who may not know, it is the evaporation of moisture (perspiration) which cools us down when we are too hot but if the humidity is high that evaporation cannot take place and we remain hot as well as wet! It can be very dangerous and hazardous to our health if we cannot lose excess heat readily. Anyway the last of the jobs had been to re-arrange the supply circuits in the garden shed and my oh my was it hot in there! Fortunately the work was just inside the doorway so I could step out into the breeze that by now was blowing. It was still humid though. I was paid handsomely for my work so I drove to my local pub again and treated myself to another meal. When I arrived home shortly afterwards it was after three o’clock. I sat out on the patio with a drink. At around five o’clock I went indoors and almost immediately received a call for help with an electrical problem. An older guy was replacing a bathroom light but didn’t know how to connect it for in his words ‘there are too many wires’. I offered to call there straight away as it was only a half-mile distant. I had it connected and fitted in ten minutes and was paid for my effort though I only charged them half of what I would normally have done. It still paid enough to cover my lunch twice over. On Wednesday morning I was to do another ‘small’ job or two in another house three miles from home. Now if only the humidity would drop it would be pleasant working on these small tasks but the weather won’t remain as it is for ever I hope.