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.
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.
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.
During the day on Friday (7 th Dec.) the wind gradually grew stronger with every passing minute. The tail end of another hurricane was on its way to our shores once more. It doesn’t last long but much damage can be done in its passing. We were to expect gusts up to 80 mph in certain parts of the country and this time where we live was right in the firing line. Time to take down the flag for the first time in many months. I had been for an early morning walk and it rained throughout but it was only light rain. The wind was weak too and stayed that way for a few more hours until mid to late morning when it grew strong. By that time the skies were partly blue and the sun came out. It wasn’t cold either at 13 degrees though the wind made it feel that way. Soon after breakfast I lowered the flag then returning indoors set about doing some painting in the cellar small store room. The room itself lies partly underneath the stone steps which lead into the cellar and it has a door which is usually kept closed. That means it stays pretty cool if not cold in there though at one time the heating pipes would give off a little heat as the lagging was poor. At the beginning of last year I sorted out that problem and put new lagging around all the pipes in the cellar. Now the little room will be colder still especially as most of the pipes in there have also been boxed-in. I guess it would be an ideal place to store wine and would be even colder than the room we converted into a larder early last year. In the rooms which have no other source of heating it stays on the cold side. Only two rooms get warm and only one of those stays warm throughout the day and night. The boiler room (also called the gym) naturally gets a little warm when the heating is on during the daytime, though not all day. The new utility room gets warm because of the freezers in there and gets no heat from the pipes which are mostly all now hidden as well as being lagged. That room stays warm all day long and through the night because we keep the door closed. That means the cellar hallway stays on the cool side. The coldest rooms in the cellar are the small store just mentioned, the large store room and the workshop though none of them gets any cooler than around ten degrees. E has found the utility room to be very useful for some aspects of her crafting work as there is water and a sink on hand, a worktop and most importantly (for her) it is warm! So far I have only been working in the main area of the small store and have as yet to work in the area beneath the steps. That will mostly involve blanking off part of the room beneath the furthest steps and then painting it all. Today as I write I have still to paint the main area with its final coat and of course paint the whole floor when the room is finished. Today I also tested the wet room floor repair above the room and it had been successful.
‘I’m sorry Shirley Anne but it’s just got to go’, I told myself on Thursday morning. It was a very miserable day on Thursday just as it had been a couple of days earlier, wet and windy, very windy. I had gone to bed the evening before feeling rather down and tired and hoped the new day would be an improvement but it wasn’t. I was feeling a little down because I was tired and some of the events in the day had given me some irritation. It had been one of those days as we say. So Thursday promised better things but it didn’t fare that way for me. In the first place I woke up with a horrible bout of Cystitis and all that comes with it. I have an interim solution for Cystitis which helps until I can get some medication if I haven’t any to hand but it only helps soothe the burning sensation and kill the surface bacteria. It was enough to allow me relief until I went shopping later. However, back to the foul weather. No matter what I tried to hold down the tunnel structure over the patio the wind loosened it and I would have to try something else. There was no way I would get the upper hand and I knew it. When the weather is less windy all is fine but the wind destroys and shows no mercy. Did I mention I hate the wind? Well I do. So what’s got to go? The tunnel. As soon as the weather would allow I would be out there removing it and mark it down as a failure. What would take its place? Well I mentioned that I think in yesterday’s post. Two tee-pees or wigwams if you prefer would replace the one tunnel and should hopefully withstand the wind better. Oh the joys of gardening eh? I did no work on Thursday for not only did I have nether regions problems but I was feeling the effects of maybe a cold but definitely the bad weather.
The alarm went off at two in the morning and woke me up when usually I am lying there waiting for it to ring. I must have been just that bit more tired on Friday evening. What happened next sometimes happens after I switch the alarm off though not often, I dozed off again but woke fifty minutes later. Saturday was a day for my walk and I was ready to get out there and take it but it was very windy and cool. Would it be too windy I thought? When I had gotten dressed I skipped breakfast opened the front door and braved the elements as they say. The wind wasn’t as bad as I had thought it might be but then again I was sheltered close to home. As soon as I had reached the first street pointing west toward the coast I could feel the brunt of the wind but it still wasn’t as bad as I imagined earlier. The walk this time took me along The Promenade which runs parallel to the seafront but a quarter mile inland. It passes behind the town’s clubland and being a Saturday morning I was half-expecting to see some alcohol-imbibed people staggering about as sometimes happens if it isn’t pouring down with rain. I wasn’t disappointed. The first person I came across was a middle-aged man leaning on the frame of the shelter he was beneath. He couldn’t do otherwise it seemed as he looked a little unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glazed. ‘Good morning’ I said. He seemed taken aback, well he would wouldn’t he being in the state he was? No reply. I repeated my greeting and with a look of disbelief I guess he responded. I carried on with my walk. Across the road ahead I saw four younger guys dressed in shirts and trousers who were walking away from The Promenade back into town through a passageway. One of them stopped to relieve himself against the small wall there. There seems to be no shame with people today in what they get up to. You would think anyone wanting to urinate would find somewhere a little more discreet. Further along I saw four children walking aimlessly on the sidewalk. They were about the age of eleven or twelve though one appeared to be older, say fifteen. What were they doing out so early (or late) I wondered? Lack of parental control no doubt. Finally all that was behind me and I had reached the point for me to turn back homeward along the seafront.
Here the wind was at its strongest and my eyes became glazed too in the face of it. I decided not to walk the entire way back along the seafront leaving the last mile and a half or thereabouts to turn into the built-up areas where the wind wasn’t as bad. According to the weather forecast the day ahead would be miserably wet and windy. I would stay indoors and out of it .
It did rain later on Saturday as forecast and quite heavily for a time though it was spasmodic. When I awoke on Sunday morning at two am it was dry but by six o’clock it began raining in earnest and stayed that way throughout the day. It had been very windy on Saturday but it was less so on Sunday morning. The weather hadn’t been this way for many weeks and needed getting used to again. My Sunday was to be a day of complete rest so I didn’t need to venture outside except to dump waste into the wheelie bins. I was so pleased that the weather had turned cooler at least for a time. It gave the gardens some space to recuperate and me too! Worse than the heat though for me is the high humidity that when combined with the heat makes it so uncomfortable. High humidity actually makes it feel warmer because we cannot lose body heat as efficiently. So in cooler weather it can be beneficial having high humidity. Being indoors at home with little to do gives me time to think about things. I am always looking for something constructive to do especially if it is something I can get my teeth into so to speak, something I can do with my hands, a project. On Sunday I gave some extra thought to something I had been thinking about over the previous few days and it has to do with the lawn in the rear garden,
I took the above pictures on Sunday. The lawn has slowly improved over the last week or so after being scorched dry because of the high temperatures and sunshine. I had watered it daily, sometimes twice until the grass returned to its present lush appearance. The dark patches are the remains of the moss which had taken over large areas until we treated it a couple of months ago. The grass is growing back in those areas though you may not be able to see it in the picture. The grass also looks unkempt because I haven’t mowed it for weeks. I have deliberately left it that way until it thickens up. Yes, it will be harder to mow but the machine can cope with that. Anyway it is the lawn itself for which I have ideas. I am thinking of landscaping an area of the lawn by placing an island containing trees, shrubs and rocks in it. If it happens I think it will greatly improve the otherwise plain lawn and be more pleasing on the eye. Watch this space as they say.
I could sense the possibility of rain as I looked out through the window from my bed. It was Saturday morning (16 th) and five-thirty as I lay there contemplating the day ahead. I decided a walk was on the cards but I was hungry so I decided to wait until after breakfast this time. I had just finished breakfast and saw that fine rain was falling. I would need to take a raincoat if I was to brave the elements as they say. It wasn’t a warm morning at all, in fact it stayed pretty cool all day long. It was 16 deg C but it felt more like 10 or 11 in the breeze. I had put on my walking boots too thinking that lighter footwear was unsuitable for what seemed like a late Autumn day which as it turned out was a wise decision. The outward part of the walk was pleasant enough but I was glad I had put on the rainproof jacket for it kept me warm in the cooling breeze. I had reached the half-way stage when the rain began to pour down in earnest. It remained that way until I reached home when suddenly it stopped! As soon as I went indoors I realised just how cool it had been outside. There had been quite a number of women out running on the route I had taken and none seemed bothered about the driving rain. I knew how they must have felt having spent many a time doing the same thing years ago. I sometimes wish I could do it again but then realise how unnecessary it would be at my time in life. I get my exercising in other ways now not least of all taking a walk. It was Saturday and the afternoon was beckoning more activity. Did I succumb? I’ll let you guess.
It was getting a little monotonous having each day to water the gardens because of the dry weather. Oh it has been just fine for sitting about in or simply being out in but all I wanted was a little rain now and then. The attempt to rain was made last evening (13 th) but it wasn’t very much. However it was a storm called Hector which gave some respite from the heat and dry weather. The only problem was it brought more wind than rain! It got pretty stormy hereabouts but fortunately we were too far south to receive the harshest of the wind. Nevertheless some tree branches came down here and there. I had gotten up early on Thursday in order to do the weekly shopping again for E has been unable these last couple of months. I actually arose at five-thirty and was in the kitchen at six-fifteen. However I thought I would do a little work before breakfast which was to give the repaired door frame I did yesterday a coat of priming paint. I later in the day applied the top coat. Anyway whilst I was doing that I heard a loud snap and something falling on the lawn behind me. I paid no attention until I had finished the small painting job for I knew what it had been making that noise. Once again the neighbour’s tree was shedding a branch because of the high winds. It is the large tree left of centre on the other side of the wall in the picture. You may be able to see from its leaves and the leaves of the apple trees bottom right from which direction the wind is blowing. It is left to right or west to east of course.
Most of the time we are picking up small twigs and leaves which have fallen from the tree but occasionally when it is very windy larger parts fall down. I cleared up the mess on the lawn and deposited the bulk of the fallen branch in my neighbour’s garden. At the same time I took the opportunity to prune back a couple of lower branches on the tall holly tree which stands next to the large greenhouse. It is just right of centre at the end of the greenhouse in the picture. Naturally I chopped the holly branches up and put the pieces into our own waste bin. I returned indoors for breakfast. It was seven o’clock. After eating I waited until it was eight o’clock before driving to the supermarket. I was back home at nine-fifteen just as E came down for breakfast. Pretty much throughout the day it was windy but there was still no rain. In fact it brightened up late morning. I would be watering the gardens again if it remained dry.
It was such a lovely sunny day that greeted me as I awoke from my slumber. I didn’t really want to exchange the warmth beneath the duvet but I knew I had to get up some time. It was nine o’clock and I forced myself into action. I didn’t dress for the day but put on my sports clothes for I was going to spend a little time on the treadmill. Before I went downstairs however I stripped off the bed linen and replaced it with fresh sheets. I collected some clothes which needed washing too and I took the two large bundles with me as I left the bedroom. Going directly into the laundry room in the cellar I put the first load into the washing machine and returned upstairs to put on my running shoes and socks. I returned downstairs with my water bottle and started my exercise. I had to open the cellar door leading into the garden to allow some much-needed ventilation as the room still smelled of paint and sealant! I left the door open whilst exercising. Although it was sunny outside it was also bitterly cold. For the next few days and for a couple of previous days we were to experience a cold snap with winds blowing from the east. We were getting our weather delivered fresh from Siberia for a change. All I can say about that is I am glad I live on the west coast and not the east! It would be bad enough here but far worse on the other side of the country. My main concern was for the plants in the garden, the semi-tropical ones such as the Phoenix Canariensis and the Fan Palms. They are supposed to be able to withstand temperatures down to -8 C but I sure wouldn’t like to put them to the test. With expected temperatures down to -2 C on this side of the country it would probably be alright. The plants are somewhat sheltered by native varieties in any case. Those temperatures incidentally are the ones through the night, daytime temperatures are expected to be a few degrees higher. Hopefully after a few days the winds would be coming from the west. I finished my exercise and as I normally do if it isn’t raining, I cool off outdoors in the garden. That is when I saw some more bluebells which needed digging out so I did the job whilst I was out there in my shorts and skimpy top! Gosh it was cold out of the sunshine but soon enough I was inside again and hanging up the first bundle of washing. I then placed the second bundle into the machine before finally going upstairs for something to eat…..at belated breakfast! I did venture out again later but this time I was well-wrapped up!