In that?

On Friday, yesterday’s post mentioned that I had decided not to take my usual walk in preference to completing the concrete screed laying in the outside toilet. I said I might take the walk today instead, that is Saturday but that was before I realised we were in for some nasty weather. The latest storm was on its way and was currently over Ireland in the west. Although we were not supposed to be getting the worst of the wind we would still experience gale force winds. I went to bed early just in case the worst of the weather had passed over by the time I was thinking of going out. It hadn’t and in fact was just reaching its peak and it was raining heavily too! There was no way I would be going for a walk in that so I decided to eat breakfast and later work out on the gym equipment instead. I had eaten breakfast and was standing at the kitchen sink looking out of the window when I saw something which alarmed me.

The mixer was standing in the same spot as in the first picture but covered as shown in the second picture, that is when I left it on Friday. As I looked out of the window it was still in the same position but lying on its back in front of the bench! The bag covering it had been blown away and was now behind the large greenhouse diagonally across the lawn. The same place gets filled with leaves very often when it is windy. My first thoughts were of astonishment and unbelief. Then I realised just how strong the wind had been and was wondering if there had been other damaged but then realised also that the wind had most probably blown inside the bag which forced the mixer to fall backwards. Had I simply placed the mixer facing the opposite direction it would have remained standing. Then I thought, ‘I hope it isn’t damaged’, which would have been a catastrophe. I need not have been concerned for when the mixer is lying on its back as how I have to put it to allow the stand to be inserted into the base before lifting it upright, the motor is just clear of the ground. My main concern was that the motor wasn’t damaged. I am truly amazed it was alright after testing it. Needless to say I moved the mixer near to the side gate where is is sheltered from the wind and I also placed it with its front facing away from the prevailing wind. Furthermore I tied the bag through its handles around the base of the stand. So it was now standing where the large bags of sand had been just outside the outside toilet entrance. Whilst there I looked in the room to see how the screed had set. I wouldn’t be going in there again until Monday. I did exercise on the gym equipment later using the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the cycling machines. I get more exercise using the equipment but it isn’t quite the same as going for a walk in the fresh air………………….. Shirley Anne


Too much

We’ve had some really hot days over the Easter break and sunny most of the time. However it has been dry and very warm with temperatures reaching 22 deg C where I live and even warmer in other places. That is fine if you like the heat but unfortunately I do not, I get weary and tired. Of course it depends on how warm and dry it is. Anywhere between 14 and 19 deg C is fine for me and I like a little moisture in the air! It was unusual weather for April. I write this on Easter Day that is Sunday and even at this moment (six o’clock in the evening) it is still hot and sunny. They say the temperature won’t drop below 11 deg C but more likely it will stay warmer during the night. I am therefore planning my walk for the early hours before the sun rises as I don’t want a repeat experience of my walk on Friday. I have been a good girl and have resisted doing any work on my project since Thursday though I have been watering the gardens. I should hate to lose plants for the sake of a little watering. This kind of weather is great for sitting around doing nothing but that bores me soft. I did however spend a lot of time doing just that but I was restless and up and down a lot. It’s like a catch twenty-two thing, I get restless doing nothing and tired if I do something but I’d rather be doing something! I have spoken of this a few times in my posts. Some might say I am substituting work for a lack of play or other interests and they could be right, I am often not sure myself. I ask myself what would I like to do but come up with nothing.

Yes I do have interests, they are listed on one of my pages, they are varied but they are mostly things I don’t want to be doing for any great amount of time. Travel is fine but a waste of time, people are fine too but not all want to spend time with me nor I with them or some of them if I were being honest. Others are full of empty promises, we all have them in our lives I am sure. My friend told me to have fun but what is fun? Her kind of fun isn’t the same as mine. I am not sure what my kind of fun is anyway. It must be doing those things I like I suppose which brings me back to work! I seem to have answered my own question………………………………………….Shirley Anne

Too much

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.

Shirley Anne

Settled? Unsettled?

Foul weather

We have crazy weather patterns here in the UK and even from county to county there can be huge differences in our weather patterns. For such a small island, and we are a small island compared to many others, we have such weird weather at times. Yesterday I was writing about mowing the lawn whilst the weather was favourable, and it had been so it was fortunate that I did because today it has been raining continuously and apparently will do throughout Sunday too. Monday through to Wednesday looks like we’ll be having a dry spell once again. That being the case I hope to be able to pour more concrete and finish the base layer of the ramp alteration project. You will remember that initially it would happen in two or maybe three stages but since saying that the goalposts have been moved and it will take a few more stages to complete. The reason for that is because I am extending the ramp further than I originally intended. Even with what has been accomplished so far we are finding the mower can now be pushed in and out of the garage with relative ease and that will only improve when the work is finished. I have been waiting for the weather to settle down for a few days to give me time to make more progress. Some things can get done despite the weather but certain tasks are simply impossible to work at if the weather is foul. One good thing about not being able to work for me is that I get the time to exercise more on our gym equipment and that is something I have been doing more of lately. I am keen nevertheless to carry on with the work in hand so roll on Monday!

Shirley Anne

A nothing day

Do you ever get nothing days in your life? Days in which nothing out of the ordinary happens or nothing gets done happen all of the time but hopefully not every day for everyone! My Wednesday was such a day for me. It was the 13 th day of March but it could have been a nothing day on any day both before and after. The weather hereabouts had been really miserable with very high winds blowing and the occasional showering of rain didn’t help matters much. There were things I wanted to be getting on with outside but they were never going to happen until the weather improved. One was finishing the work on the ramp behind the garage and to start work on constructing and installing a new door and frame for the same garage. The latter project was to widen the access into and out of the garage especially for the new mower.

The picture was taken a couple of years ago but shows the rear door of the garage which I intend to replace. I could have started the work on the door had there been materials on hand but there wasn’t. I would have to order them along with other materials but because the weather was so bad I shelved the idea for a few days. Earlier I had partly drained down the heating system in order to remove a leaking valve and on filling it up again discovered the bathroom towel rail heater refused to heat up. That was caused by trapped air in the system which I attempted to remove but at first couldn’t. It happens every time I drain the system for one reason or another. Over a couple of days I eventually did manage to get the air out but still the towel rail wasn’t getting hot enough. I decided to leave it alone for one more day to see if it would eventually work and it did just as it usually did. I went for a walk early in the morning even though the wind was still very strong (around 55 to 60 mph) and tried to stay sheltered from it as best I could. The wind finally eased off later in the evening and hopefully Thursday would be a better day where I might get something done if I felt inclined. It would probably be to order timber for making a start on the door and frame. The concrete laying for the ramp alterations would still have to wait for an improvement in the weather.

Shirley Anne

Bit of a tussle

It is Monday 18 th Feb. The weather is in a bit of a tussle at the moment hovering between nice and warm and cold and windy. Despite that we are told to expect a warmer week. As far as I can make out the worst of the weather is behind us as we approach Spring. Well all I can say is wait and see. I am more concerned about any frost we may still get and by that I mean a hard frost lasting days. Why is that I hear you ask? Well after lunch today it became rather warm and sunny so I made the decision to remove the frost protection I had provided for the more susceptible plants we have in the garden namely the Phoenix Canariensis (palms). Last year they took a battering from the easterly winds which brought about a severe frost. We seem to have been fortunate this year and the weather has even been unduly warm. So off I went into the garden and guess what happened? The sun went in and the wind picked up and it became much cooler. No matter it was just cool and not freezing! After I had returned indoors say half an hour later the sun re-emerged the sky went blue and everywhere warmed up again. Just typical of my ‘good’ fortune. One of the bags in which the pebbles had been delivered came in very useful for storing the pieces of bubble-wrap I had used to protect the plants. They can be used again though I did purchase a large roll of bubble-wrap which would last for years.

Hopefully there will be no hard frost in the remaining weeks of Winter. This morning I had taken a longer walk than I had done for months and walked southward to Ainsdale taking the coastal road. I wasn’t that warm even though there was a south to south-westerly breeze. I walked down to the beach there, lovely at any time of year. The tide was just turning as I arrived and was beginning to recede but was still high upon the beach. I didn’t stop there too long because of the wind exposure and turned toward the dunes to make my way back home. It was the first time this year I had taken that route. There was far more shelter from the wind in the dunes though the line of trees and undergrowth on my left afforded the most protection. To my right were the main part of the dunes the other side of which lies the coastal road. By this time the sun had appeared and was warming by back from the right. I met a couple of people walking their dogs and one or two others out jogging. Finally I was back home and having an early lunch as I had skipped breakfast but feeling well and invigorated.

Shirley Anne

Got it wrong

According to the weather forecast we were supposed to have had very high winds overnight on Wednesday. E tells me that in fact it had been windy though not as bad as was forecast. However I am only referring to the weather here where I live, it might have been a different story elsewhere. This morning (Thursday 7) I went to do the weekly shopping and the weather wasn’t very pleasant at all, wet and windy but this afternoon it is bright sunshine all the way. It is however getting windier by the minute and having just heard the weather report we are in for the high winds previously promised. Sometimes they just get it wrong or in this case the date!

Despite the weather we are having it isn’t as bad as it was when the picture on the left was taken a few years ago. Yesterday, whilst there had been reasonable weather I did some work in the gardens, a spot of clearing them of accumulated leaves and the twigs and small branches that keep falling from a neighbour’s tree in the rear garden. It seems to be forever dropping twigs or branches. I also spent an hour digging out unwanted bluebells and one or two montbretia. Unfortunately some of the bluebells bulbs cannot be dug out as they lie beneath the tangle of tree roots. I had to just dig as far as I could and pull out the stems. After removing the majority of the bulbs a couple of years ago I knew there would be others some of which I knew I couldn’t remove unless I also dug out the other plants. Either way it is an impossible task and I fear the bluebells will just keep appearing each year. When I am pushing up daisies they can do what they please and no doubt they will! Today however I am staying indoors and out of the wind. I have other things to do indoors anyway.

Shirley Anne

Now sunshine…..

……..oh how varied the weather we get here in the UK. For some today it is cold, icy and there is snow lying on the ground but here where I live it is sunny with just a little ground frost or the remnants of ice where the sun doesn’t shine. We are very fortunate I admit so I never complain. I was up early to do the weekly shopping being as it is Thursday, the day I do it. No walks again because of the muscular pain but it isn’t a problem, the pain is slowly easing and I am more and more convinced it is due to trapped nerves in my neck. To that end I exercise my neck muscles. It was still cold when I left the house around seven-thirty but during the day it has been getting warmer and now the sun us shining.

I have been wanting to sweep up the leaves that have again accumulated in the rear garden but when I looked out of the window later in the morning I noticed the blackbirds flicking up the leaves searching for insects to eat. I am therefore going to leave the leaves lying there for a while.

I seem to be getting too used to doing very little and I’ll have to do something about that before I turn to seed!

Shirley Anne

Now ice

Icy weather

Yesterday it snowed for a short time. Today it is very cold and icy. Overnight the temperature dropped to two below zero, pretty mild for some places in the world but for us, cold. It is now January 23 and I expect it will get worse before it gets better but hoping it doesn’t get worse. The forecast for the next week is a rise in temperature but will it remain milder? Weather forecasting has improved vastly over the years due mainly to the machinery of interpretation, mostly computers. Even so much gathering of information is needed before successful weather prediction algorithms can do their work. They don’t always get it right though. The only place I went outside today was the garden and only then to dispose of accumulated garbage. It is collection day tomorrow but I find that it isn’t worth wheeling the bin into the street as there isn’t much in it! Having disposed of the garbage I placed some food waste material, mainly the peels of a melon, grapefruit, orange and kiwi, into the compost bin where everything gets returned to basics for spreading over the garden as plant food. We might think it is garbage but the plants don’t! For them it is food, minerals and sugars and they thrive on it. Come to thing of it we do exactly the same, put minerals and sugars into our body so that we too can thrive. I sometimes feel sorry for the plants stuck out there in the garden in all weathers and today especially in the icy cold conditions. They have their defences and can put up with it, well most of them. The ones that can’t have been wrapped up for the winter, at least until it stops freezing over. Today, apart from a few minutes outside, I have remained indoors relaxing. My back pain is persisting and is taking a long time to heal though there is an improvement. Tomorrow morning I do the shopping but thankfully it should be a little warmer by then according to the forecast though they can get it wrong!

Shirley Anne

Snowy Day

It was Tuesday 22 Jan and during the late morning the weather was very wintry with the sleet and snow falling. It was for the second time this year so far but as on the previous occasion a few days earlier it didn’t last. No doubt it would snow again as February approached. February is for the UK usually the coldest, wettest and least sunny of all the months. The Sun is still low over the horizon so when it gets wet it pretty much stays that way for a while. If it snows and it is otherwise dry then the snow gets a chance to stick and build up. Fortunately that doesn’t happen much these days and hasn’t really done so at least here in the north-west along the coast though not along the whole coast hereabouts. The Liverpool Bay area is somewhat sheltered from the severest of weather but it doesn’t get away Scott-free. As I write I am hoping we don’t get weather which is too severe. E is presently in the cellar retouching the paint on one or two of the doors down there, mostly in the gaps of the planks that the doors are constructed with. They were made using tongue and grooved timbers and sometimes it is difficult to get the paint in between the timbers where there are gaps. She is very particular when it comes to detail. I am too but I had just about enough of working in the cellar once I had finished the painting. I couldn’t at present do any work anyway for I am still suffering with a little muscular pain and want to keep on relaxing until it improves. This is also the reason I haven’t been out for walks over the past week.

Shirley Anne