What a couple of rough days we had since the weekend and basically all due to the high winds. The temperature has been reasonably fair for the beginning of October, hovering around 15 deg C, though some say it could be warmer. The wind didn’t prevent me doing those small jobs yesterday and perhaps now they have subsided for a spell I might be able to work some more in the garden. I went for another walk on Tuesday, this time going north once more to end up on the now overgrown beach north of the town at Marshside. The area is the white portion of the map nearest the top of the picture… The tide had been in an hour or two before I had reached the shore and all that could be seen was a covering of green far out to sea. I was at the high tide mark merely a few metres from the road where the ground is a mixture of sand, crushed seashells and flotsam and jetsam washed-up onshore. At this end of the shore the path is separated from the road by a small bank covered in grass and shrubs but as one walks south toward the pier there is just a metre or two of sand alongside the sea wall which begins at that point. I didn’t walk far in front of the wall as the sand began to turn to mud after a hundred metres or so. It isn’t until the pier is reached when the whole beach becomes sandy again. Anyway the other reason for getting off the beach was the wind-blown sand in my face! I decided to turn inland and walk the rest of the way home away from the shoreline, stopping off at the pub for a soft drink before continuing home. It can be very pleasant walking along the sea front even in the colder months but it can also be the opposite when the weather, especially the wind, turns nasty. It is at times like these I take to walking the more sheltered routes through the town.
Having gone to bed rather late on Wednesday (27) evening meant I didn’t arise too early on Thursday. I had remained up until E returned from her visit to the hospital to see her mom who had been taken ill late in the afternoon. It turned out that her mom had to stay in hospital overnight for further tests and according to E was feeling a little better before E left for home. It was approaching midnight by the time she returned. She too slept in late and didn’t come down for breakfast until after ten-thirty, I had finished mine an hour earlier. I wanted to go for a walk but waited until she was up and about before doing so. The weather forecast was good, dry, warm and sunny for the whole day. That is how it turned out, in fact I was feeling a little too warm in my coat and thought I might have been better not wearing it until I got to the sea front where it felt a bit cooler. Had I gone out earlier it would have been much cooler. Once the sun was up it was just like another Summer’s day even though it was now Autumn and almost October. By the time I had returned home two hours later I really needed to remove my coat I was so hot! The gates on the drive to the garage in which E parks her car were open. She had gone out, in fact I learned she had gone to the hospital as I had expected and would follow on and do the weekly shopping later if all went to plan. I ate lunch then spent a couple of hours on the patio in the heat of the Autumn sun. Tomorrow’s forecast was for plenty of rain. The lawn was getting covered with fallen leaves again after we had swept it the afternoon before………now I knew it was Autumn.
PS. To E’s relief her mom was back home by evening after being discharged from the hospital.
I slept in late on Friday, deliberately so as there was nothing planned for the day. It was warm and there was only a slight breeze. I chose to sit out on the patio with a drink and E joined me. Unfortunately it clouded over after thirty minutes and E went back indoors. I mentioned that as soon as she went indoors the sun would probably reappear and it did. Not only that but it remained sunny after that for quite a few hours. By now the house’s shadow had placed the patio in the shade for a while so I moved my chair down into the garden in front of the Mound and it was even warmer there than it had been on the patio. My chair was sitting on the pathway on the far left in the picture below.
That side of the garden is such a heat trap as well as it being less windy there. I sat there for over an hour just relaxing in the warm sunshine. It was almost time for lunch when I returned indoors but whilst I was outside I heard and saw a couple of RAF airplanes flying over to the west, which would be over the left wall in the picture.Today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday the annual Southport Air Show was being held so I guessed the pilots were warming up and checking the lay of the land so to speak. The skies get quite noisy during those afternoons. If I was to go for a walk northward along the coast I would be denied as the whole area is cordoned off and patrolled for three days. I would have to choose another route instead. For a time after lunch it went dull again but by late afternoon it was bright and sunny again. Unfortunately the weather forecast wasn’t very promising for Saturday, thought supposedly it would be better on Sunday. This is how it is weather-wise in this country but we are used to it.
It is still mid-September as I write this and I can say with much confidence that Summer is just about over. Over the last few days the temperature has dropped, the rain has fallen – is falling and the wind is high, more like Autumn. I could moan about Autumn’s approach but in fact the season is my favourite. All the outdoor work that still needs doing is best done without the hot sun bearing down on me but unfortunately most of the time the wind and rain bring everything to a halt. I had been working inside the garage yesterday (I write this on Tuesday 12) fixing the two brackets on which to store a couple of ladders and noticed the rain had been seeping in near the entrance, in the corner in fact. The problem was due to the joint between the garden wall and the garage wall having a crack in it because the mortar had shrunk. It would be a simple thing to rectify but the weather forecast predicted persistent rain for several days. There was just the possibility of a dry spell first thing on Tuesday morning and I took the opportunity to do the work then. I had it done in thirty minutes. It was ten o’clock with patchy cloud and a little sunshine. It improved until by one o’clock it was almost all sunshine. It didn’t last though as predicted and by later afternoon it became overcast. Rain soon followed and it was noticeably cooler. By that time the new mortar had dried enough to stand a little rain. It looked as though there would be little chance of doing anything more outdoors for a few days. When operating the garage door to access tools and such the door jammed a couple of times and it needed releasing. It is just as well that a new door system is to be installed shortly as the old one is getting worse for wear. At eleven o’clock I went for a walk, this time along the beach a couple of miles and returning the same way. I had to call into the pub on my way back to use the toilet! I was told by the manager that I looked a little windswept. When I looked in the mirror I could see why. Although my hair looked a little messy my cheeks were nice and rosy….a picture of health.
I got the chance to test the effectiveness of the coat I had purchased a month or so ago when I went for an early morning walk on Thursday. Although I have worn the coat several times since its purchase and some of those times in the rain, Thursday’s walk was a real test. Rain had been forecast to fall at around four o’clock but by the time I started out a couple of hours later it had stopped. I took the long route on my way to the coastal road and the sky to the west looked very menacing, so dark the clouds were almost black in colour and then I heard the rumble of thunder out toward the sea. To the east and south it was slightly brighter, that is the clouds were a lighter shade of grey! By the time I had reached the sea front it had begun to rain and it appeared I was walking in the same direction to where it was falling. It got heavier and heavier as I went along. Out to sea the horizon had almost faded into the sky and visibility was cut down so much the town of Blackpool, normally visible across the bay twenty miles away was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t so much the rain that was the problem but the persistent wind blowing on-shore. The scene looked pretty much like that shown in the picture, water, water, everywhere..
The coat stood the test as expected which was just as well else I’d have been soaked through. On my chosen route there was nowhere to take refuge, nowhere for respite and to be honest I really didn’t wish to stop walking anyway. I doubt I will deliberately start my walks during a heavy downpour but it is nice to know that if I get caught out in a storm I can have the assurance of staying dry, at least under my coat. My feet didn’t fare so well, though not soaking wet they did get wet. I had been in two minds as to whether I should have worn my boots but chose my trainers instead. I think I should have worn the boots! Thursday did however turn bright and warm with wall to wall blue skies after lunch.
I am not sure why cardigans are so named, perhaps a connection to Cardiganshire, Wales in the UK?
Cardiganshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyhow I got to wearing one such garment on Tuesday afternoon as the day became decidedly cool in the wind at around 15 or 16 deg C. Monday had been quite warm at around 20 deg C but it appeared we were going to have a couple of days with lower temperatures. It is as though we are at the end of September rather than the end of August. Knowing the UK weather it could change again to warmer conditions in a few day’s time. I had been out for an early morning walk when it was even cooler at 13 deg and felt cooler still because of the wind blowing from the north west. I didn’t mind that as I was suitably attired. The humidity had dropped down a few pegs too so I didn’t end up sticky and uncomfortable by the time I had returned home. When I did return home I brought with me a few apples I had picked from a tree growing wild near the footpath on public land, a tree I had not seen bearing fruit in the past. That was probably due to my not passing by the tree before when it was bearing fruit. E and I spent a little time in the rear garden and we planted the other Fan Palm in the long flowerbed.
We are still waiting for the shrub behind it and to the right to finally shed its leaves (it is deciduous) so we can plant the Olearia shrub in it’s place. Meanwhile it stands lonely in a pot..
The removed plant will be planted elsewhere at the same time. It is getting cool enough for me to be getting on with some of the outdoor projects now so watch this space. After lunch I mowed the lawn for the first time since I spread the lawn weed killer. There may not be many more times I need to cut the lawn this year but it isn’t a problem to cut it, taking only twenty minutes.
Friday, although turning brighter during the afternoon with much sunshine it remained in a state of threatening showery moments. It was to turn to full-on rain later, just as it had been first thing in the morning. I was up very early at five-thirty and not because I couldn’t sleep, no, I had a very good five solid hours and awoke amazingly refreshed. The window was ajar as I usually keep it through the night and I could feel the cool air through the gap. There are two windows in the room but one is seldom opened as enough fresh air can be had with just the one open. The wind was high and that remained the same throughout the day making it feel much cooler than the 21 deg C it was. It was far less than that at 13 deg C when I arose with the intention of going for a walk before breakfast. Wet, cool and windy required wrapping up well and I gave my new boots their first outing too since I had purchased them a couple of weeks earlier. I bought them to use during the colder and wetter months of the year but it was still Summer though it felt more like Autumn. I kept the walk short, only venturing out for three miles this time. I had walked twice that distance on Wednesday but I had to keep it short as I was expecting the delivery of the washing-line pole I had ordered the previous day. Soon after I had set off around seven o’clock I received a text message letting me know it was on its way. We have received articles as early as six-thirty in the morning in the past though I didn’t expect this one to arrive until early afternoon. I was back home in plenty of time for its arrival at noon. It had been just as well I was wearing suitable attire because of the driving wind a heavy rain which fell as I walked along the coastal road. A guy was running ahead of me and we were the only two braving the elements at that time. Passing motorists must have thought us mad but who cares? Fresh air and exercise won the day for us. Now all I need is another break in the weather so that I can install the pole, if not I’ll get wet walking instead.
Up early on a wet and windy August Thursday morning ready to venture out for a walk. One banana later I was outside in the weather. Though it was wet and windy it was warm, though when in the wind it felt that much cooler. I ate breakfast on my return home because it was still early enough to do that. On some occasions I skip breakfast if I am late getting back home and have an early lunch instead. E was still sitting at the breakfast table when I returned. She seldom asks how far I walked but I usually tell her anyway. It had been a short walk of just over four miles but it felt as if I had walked twice the distance because of the wind. On the outward journey I had taken a more sheltered route in the built-up areas through the town but on my return leg I walked along the promenade which is totally exposed to the west. The wind was blowing from the south-west and therefore directly in my face. I could have taken the coastal road instead as it would have made little difference. Between the promenade and the coastal road a quarter-mile away there is almost nothing of height, lake and gardens is all. I shudder to think what it would have been like for anyone out running but there weren’t any runners to be seen. Fair weather runners? I think not for I never used to deliberately run in the wind in exposed places either. I had work to do in the afternoon and the weather was to change by then, that is it would stop raining. I have been building the column for the gate at the side of the house in the rear garden and the weather has been fine whilst doing it. This is how far I got with it the day before…(centre in both pictures)
I gave up on the idea of working on the column in the afternoon for two reasons, one I was feeling tired and two it was still very windy though the rain had stopped. At the side of the house where the work is being carried out it was very windy indeed with gusts of around 35 mph, far too uncomfortable to be working in especially as there is no hurry to finish the job. Hopefully though by the time you read this it will be completed.
As I write this on a dull Sunday afternoon the party is over and I for one could not be happier. What party you may well ask? The Open golf championship event here at Royal Birkdale. Don’t misunderstand me here, many people love the game of golf but I am just not one of them.
The picture above was taken through the window in a lounge at home at around five o’clock on the last day of the golf event. Up until then the day had been mostly sunny. On Saturday there had been much rain but the previous days had been fine and sunny. I am not sure how that affected the play though I have a feeling it made little difference. For the last few days the whole town of Southport but especially Birkdale had been geared up for the event with many local restrictions having been imposed upon us all. It is something we all have had to put up with whether we like the sport or not. I can live with that. I steered well clear of the course which is very close to where I live and spent my time away from the house in the opposite direction! However during the time I was at home we had to put up with a light aircraft circling above every two to three minutes for hours on end which really was annoying. When I say circling it was doing just that, flying in a circle around the course and our house was under the flight path. On Sunday morning I went for a walk and on my return I emptied out most of the things in my van. E and I were to go and collect some bricks from her nephew which were stored at a place less than a mile from home. He had graciously allowed us to take what we wanted which was around fifty bricks. They had been dumped with other rubbish and needed to be separated but it didn’t take long to do that and we were soon back home for lunch. I stored them behind one of the garages and under cover to keep them dry until I wanted to use them.
Later E received a text message from her nephew who was asking where we were and why we hadn’t called to collect the bricks! E had thought he meant for us to collect the ones we had but it appeared he meant those stored at his own house a few hundred metres away. Those bricks had already been sorted and separated whereas the ones we took we had to glean from a general pile of other material. Although the ones we took were not stored at his house they still belonged to him. The reason he has so many bricks is that he is a builder. He asked if we wanted more as he was trying to rid himself of some of them. We accepted his offer and he said he would drop them off later. Now I won’t have to worry about buying bricks for the projects I have in mind to do. The first one is to put a gate at the end of this passage where it meets the main part of the garden.
That is at the end of the side wall of the house on the right. Now I am not planning to begin that work during the summer though anything is possible with me.
Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For a few days we had warm, hot, humid and sunny weather beginning on Sunday last week and for the first time since I can remember I was glad I wasn’t working in my capacity as an electrician. It always seemed to me that when the weather was like this I would be doing work of a heavier nature and sweating profusely in the process which made me feel very uncomfortable. When people asked me if I didn’t like the hot weather I would tell them that I am an Anglo-Saxon and not used to it! I was joking of course but I had a point, I wasn’t raised in a hot climate and whenever I visit hot countries I spend a lot of the time in the water! I do prefer it to be cooler, always have but hot weather is fine for a little while especially if I can spend time in the shade with a cooling breeze blowing. When I go out walking I try to do it as early as I can if it is too hot and sticky. As for work, well I try to avoid doing anything that will make me break out in a sweat when the weather is too oppressive. Now that I am (more or less) retired I can please myself. Some things need doing though like mowing the lawn which I did on Monday morning. As the mower is petrol-driven it is not that difficult to push about but even so, if it is very warm and humid it can be uncomfortable. I went for another walk but stayed within the confines of the town, it was too warm to wander where I might like to in case I needed to refresh myself or pay a visit to the little girl’s room too. I have discovered that under certain circumstances regarding the weather I tend to need the bathroom more often. It is a humidity thing…. work it out for yourself. So in the afternoon E and I spent much of the time on the patio once more. It was too warm and humid to do anything else. The weekend was forecast to be much cooler and I couldn’t wait. E however would like it to be hot all of the time. I think she would soon tire of it though despite what she says.
Sunny Sunday sunshine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was wondering if E would eventually make it downstairs before ten o’clock as she was now on crutches for a few days to allow her foot to heal and that made it difficult to get about. Anyway she did manage and was soon eating breakfast though I had to take it to the table for her. An hour later I went out for a late morning walk. It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze as I walked along the seafront. Surprisingly there were not many people about, at least at that place and time. I walked back toward the town centre but only because I needed the bathroom! The town centre was busy as usual, just like any other day of the week. I remember a time when Sundays were held as sacred, a day for resting, a sabbath. It was unheard of for anyone to work on a Sunday except if it was necessary as in the case of police, fire and hospital staff for instance. How times have changed and that because of a non-believing secular society. Anyway a short walk of four miles saw me back home. I found E had taken up residence on the patio to sit in the sun with her feet up. I made a couple of drinks and joined her though I sat in the shade. Eventually it was lunchtime, well one-thirty, and rather than have her struggle back indoors I prepared lunch and we sat outside to eat it. Unfortunately she did have to go indoors to the bathroom after a while whilst I collected a mattress for her to lie upon when she returned. It was pleasant to sit outside and we stayed there for a couple of hours when we had visitors call. It was our eldest son and granddaughter and they stayed for an hour or so until it was time for her bed. As she is only five and a half that means six-thirty. We returned indoors for an evening meal. Monday promised to be even better but I would be doing some work for a change instead of just sitting around on the patio.
The last couple of days proved to be a complete change from the warm even hot days preceding and in fact have been quite cool. The cooling effect was due mainly to the high winds though the temperature had dropped dramatically too. Not ideal for relaxing in the garden or even working in the garden. I had been feeling drained with a lack of enthusiasm for any activity. I didn’t even take a walk because of the wind and the rain too, yes we finally got the rain we were hoping for. Anyway it was mainly the wind which kept me indoors. That was Friday and Saturday and it looked as if Sunday was going to follow suit. The day started dull and windy though any rain that fell was very slight indeed, so much so it was barely there. The forecast was promising as far as it promised to be sunny later in the day. It was only about 14 deg C throughout the morning with a little wind so I went out for a walk wearing a lightweight jacket, this one which I had purchased a couple of weeks ago
It looks like a raincoat but it isn’t designed for wet weather, it is more just a coat for use in the cool evenings of the warmer months of the year. It is very lightweight and comfortable to wear and it keeps the wind at bay if it isn’t too windy. I walked into the town centre and on the way saw an electrician acquaintance of mine working in an empty shop. Naturally I stopped for a chat with him before moving on. There is an open space named Princess Diana Gardens which is in front of the local civic buildings and theatre/arts centre and there was an army brass band playing there. Many folk were sitting on the benches listening and I found a seat and stayed listening too.
Believe it or not the band were standing in the circular area above the fountains you see in the picture. Of course the fountains were not switched on! Unfortunately I had missed much of the music but was still able to hear the last twenty minutes of the performance. The weekend had been dedicated to the armed forces with celebrations in Liverpool as well as Southport. Once the music was over I continued with my walk, returning home after two hours. After one o’clock the day brightened up but it wasn’t until three-thirty that E and I managed to squeeze in some relaxation on the patio in the now bright sunshine. It was still a little breezy though and the temperature hadn’t risen much.
At last we have some cool and refreshing weather after days of unbearable heat and humidity. I write this on Thursday morning at home with the fresh air wafting in through the open windows. Again I had slept upon the bed rather than in it because of the high overnight temperature and humidity but perhaps this evening I will be able to have the duvet cover me! Enough of that. I woke early enough to have breakfast but fell asleep again and was late getting up. It was ten-thirty and I allowed myself only a fruit drink until lunch. I had a job to do at home, one of those things we promise to do but keep putting off. I say ‘we’ but in this case it was an electrical job which of course not everyone would do anyway unless they had the knowledge. At home we have a large hot water storage cylinder where the water is heated either by the immersion heater or indirectly by an internal coil through which hot water heated by the boiler circulates. Most of the time we have the boiler heat the cylinder. Our boiler is in a room in the cellar and the cylinder is two floors above but not directly above. This means the circulation pipes are long and have to be well insulated, which they are. The boiler ‘knows’ when to heat up the circulating water because there is a thermostat exactly as the one shown above on the cylinder to send that signal when necessary. Now then, for some time the cylinder water temperature has been excessively hot which isn’t a problem in itself but can be hazardous if we are not aware of it. The thermostat was positioned too low on the cylinder and set at too high a setting. The water at the bottom of the cylinder was being monitored rather than that higher up the cylinder which is the normal way. I had to replace the supply cable to allow the thermostat to be re-positioned. Not a big job but a little awkward and I had it done in a half-hour. The benefits resulting from such a simple job are well worth the short time it took to do it so I wonder why it took so long for me to get around to it!
I just want it to be fresh and a little cooler but as I write this on Monday it appears we have a couple of more days of really hot weather to endure yet. I have little doubt it will get hot again within the next couple of months but I need respite. I’ve said it before and I say it again, I do not like hot and humid weather except perhaps if I have a sea or an ocean to dive into. well there is a sea close-by to where I live, the Irish Sea but it is hardly a sea I want to go swimming in as it is too cold for the most part.
A map of the Irish Sea. Major ports shown in red; freight-only ports shown in blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The beach we have here is nothing like the ones found in tropical places though there is plenty of sand! When the tide turns we have to walk a mile or more if we wish to reach the water and when the tide turns again we have to move quickly or get trapped on a sandbank. There are channels, quicksand and mud to contend with in certain parts too. Further along the coast people have lost their lives through ignorance or refusal to respond to the warnings. No, the waters I like to dive into cannot be found hereabouts though there are many beaches round the Irish Sea which are nice, and safe too. As I haven’t taken a beach holiday for many years and am unlikely to in the foreseeable future I have to cool off in other ways. It doesn’t help though when I take a walk somewhere and get all hot and sticky in the process. Funny thing is it seems only to be a problem once I stop. Again I went for an even longer walk today (Monday) and ended up all hot and bothered as they say. I did cool off soon enough though once I was indoors and had taken a cool drink of water. I do take water with me whenever I go walking, even in the cooler months I put a bottle in my bag. It was a week since I did any electrical work and that turned out to be something different to what I had expected. I had been asked to check out a power outlet which wasn’t working but wasn’t told that it had been that way for a long time. I discovered that myself when investigating the fault. A single outlet in a room above their kitchen was the one I had been asked to check but in fact none of the kitchen outlets were working either as they were all on the same circuit. However in order to resolve the problem it would require the floor boards above the kitchen to be lifted. Now then, there was a train set layout covering most of that floor with furniture covering the rest. Below all of that was a carpet of course. They weren’t prepared to put up with the upset to have the work done so I was paid for my time, the minimum charge I levy for any job. In any event I wouldn’t have taken on the work anyway it being more suited for a younger person to do. Well after all I am no spring chicken now! In this heat who wants to be doing anything anyway?