I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again, I am an Anglo-Saxon. I am certain my roots are from the north rather than the south and by that I mean temperate climes. I am not designed for life in the heat so when it gets too hot I suffer, I droop, I lose energy and wish it was cooler. I suppose my ideal temperature is eighteen degrees Celsius with a relative humidity of fifty percent. Not too much to ask in the country in which I was born and raised, England but often it gets far warmer than that here and far colder too. I could write a book about the English weather as could many who live here. It is Monday (28) as I write this and the day has been very warm and sticky, well for me anyway. The actual temperature outdoor rose to 23 or 24 deg. though in the direct sunshine on the patio it was far greater than that. My early morning duty to water the two gardens kept me occupied for a couple of hours. At this moment in time I am having to water both gardens twice each day because we have had very little rain save for a few hours a day or so ago. It looks as though it will be Friday before it rains again if we are lucky. As I am retired it doesn’t matter that I have to look after the gardens so closely for I now have the time to do it. I don’t much like being uncomfortable in the heat without having somewhere I can escape from it whilst being able to stay outdoors. I had put up the parasol on the patio so I could keep out of the sun but there is another place, a quiet place where I can sit if it gets too hot and it stays cool there throughout the year. I am referring to the rear of the garage nearest the patio where there is a stone bench, the one I built last year.
The sun never reaches that area close to the garage wall so it remains cool all the time. It has views over the raised flowerbed looking toward the patio so isn’t a boring place.Late in the afternoon E and I planted out fourteen of the beetroot seedlings. We put them in the three raised beds on the patio amongst the plants already there. The remaining plants we will place in the flowerbed in front of the greenhouses amongst the flowers and shrubs. As we have potato and rhubarb growing in the dedicated raised bed between the greenhouses there is nowhere else we can grow them. It was after six o’clock when E and I finally went indoors for the day and into a cooler place.
What a cool Sunday morning I woke up to! There was a definite chill in the air perhaps just letting us know that September was only five days away. Autumn would soon be upon us. The day was overcast to begin with but as the morning wore on it became bright, warm and very sunny. It was nine o’clock and I had eaten breakfast an half-hour earlier but now I wanted a coffee and to sit outside on the patio with it. It must have only been thirteen degrees Celsius but as there was hardly any air movement it felt nice sitting there. Not long afterward the sun broke through and it became much warmer. I sat for a time watching the robin flitting around the garden which appears to be his home. We are pretty sure he lives in the bush with the bright green foliage standing left of the new washing line post because we see him entering and leaving it frequently.
I don’t know if you are aware but robins are territorial and will ward-off any other robins who infringe on their territory. That is probably why we don’t see other robins in the garden. I had enough of sitting down and decided to go behind the large holly tree which is on the left in the above picture, and remove the washing line from the old pole standing there. I returned to the patio and removed the line temporarily from the post there in order to use the extra length of line wrapped around it. See in this picture below taken last year.
Now I could attach the line to the new pole and re-attach it to the other. Having done that I hung out the clothing that E had washed in the machine late the previous evening but hadn’t time to hang it. She joined me later and we sat for an hour or so just chatting. It would be after lunch we returned outdoors when we did a little tidying up around the garden paths when E fetched a hoe and we spent some time weeding out this small plot.
We did however manage to spend more time on the patio later in the afternoon relaxing in the warm sunshine. So I nearly had a completely relaxing day, something I never seem to fully achieve most of the time. Monday morning would probably see me working in the garden at least for a few hours.
I woke up on Thursday to a very cool day with a wind blowing. It had been raining overnight but when I arose around seven o’clock it had but almost stopped. The evening before and on through the night for a few hours it had been very humid and quite warm. I slept on top of the bed linen again because it was so uncomfortably ‘sticky’ and awoke at three-twenty after fours hours of sound sleep. I had the window open of course but by the middle of the night conditions turned a lot cooler. I had to slip beneath the bed sheets for warmth. A little less than a further four hours of sound sleep I was up and about. I have noticed my sleep patterns are gradually getting better and I am getting more sleep than I have been used to in recent years. I was going for a walk after breakfast and was in two minds as to what I should wear because of the coolness of the day. Any sort of coat would keep me too warm so I elected not to wear one. When I finally got outside and on my walk many folk I saw were wearing coats and carrying umbrellas. It wasn’t going to rain, I had faith in the forecast and it didn’t rain throughout the day. I seemed to be under dressed compared to what others were wearing as I wore only a lightweight sleeveless top and a skirt but I was comfortable despite that. I so much prefer it being cool and I am more used to that than I am with hot and humid weather. It stayed cool throughout the morning and only got warmer after lunch. In fact the minimum temperature had been about fifteen degrees Celsius when I went out on the walk and rose to eighteen later in the day. The wind made it feel that bit cooler. E had gone for her hospital appointment to have her hearing checked. Of all the other complaints she suffers with she was diagnosed with Tinnitus on her last visit too. Her mom had an appointment with the physiotherapist at the same time so they went together. E doesn’t like cool or cold weather at all whereas I don’t mind it too much. Whilst on the walk I received a call for my electrical services but I declined the work……it was to change a light bulb in a cooker extract hood! I get offered some silly jobs at times and that isn’t cool. I told her I had retired anyway.
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.
Despite it being very warm these last few days I continued to work either for myself at home or for others though on Thursday I didn’t work at all. It is now Friday as I write this late in the evening and there is now a much welcomed breeze blowing outside. It has become much cooler too. Temperatures reached around 28 or 29 deg C which is in the low to mid eighties on the Fahrenheit scale but the killer has been the high humidity. I had no work scheduled for the day so around nine-thirty after breakfast I decided to prune back the shrubs on the far side of our rear garden which had encroached too far out over the concrete path there. Now I can actually walk the length of the path without dodging and ducking to avoid the branches! A little tidying up of leaves and I was finished in just over an hour. It was beginning to get warmer outside by this time and too much exertion wasn’t advisable and I returned indoors for a while. As I had risen from my bed around six o’clock I’d had an early breakfast so was feeling hungry on the approach to noon and therefore had an early lunch. Soon afterward I decided to mow the lawn and it was hard-going because it had not dried out completely from the previous evening’s heavy rain and in parts it was quite long. It grows faster in the area immediately behind the house which shelters it from the afternoon sun. The far side of the lawn suffers in the heat of a summer’s sun. I had to empty out the cuttings about six times, four times as many as I normally have to and the cuttings taken from behind the house were quite wet. E had left the house whilst I was mowing the lawn and I thought she had gone with her sister who had called to drop off some clothes that needed washing. Her machine is faulty and she is waiting for the replacement to be delivered so E had offered to wash it for her. I went for a walk and thought no more about it. On my return home about forty minutes later E was standing outside our neighbour’s house chatting with her. Evidently they had called me on the phone but I hadn’t heard the phone ringing as it was in my bag and I had been surrounded by the noise of traffic. E hadn’t her house keys when she left the house and in fact she had only gone to chat with our neighbour but hadn’t let me know. I had set the house alarm and it had gone off whilst I was out, When I went into the house I switched off the alarm which by now had stopped anyway and I reset it and checked it out twice to make sure it was working. It worked perfectly so I have no idea why it had triggered when it did. It did indicate that ‘Zone 1′ had a problem when I first went back into the house to reset it so perhaps it was the door switch that had temporarily failed. Zone 1 is the entry door to the house. Maybe we should invest in a living alarm as in the picture! I went into the garden to sit out on the patio for a while, it was too hot to do much else but after a while I took one of the chairs off the patio and moved it into the shade of the house. I sat there with my feet on the cool grass in the shade but after ten minutes my phone rang and someone asked if I could connect a cooker for them. They had just moved into an apartment which happened to lie on the road at the top of our own. I called to do it and was back less than twenty minutes later.
We waited patiently for the onset of Spring and it looked at last as if the days could only get warmer but this is the UK and our weather patterns are never always reliable. On Wednesday at least the country was more or less split in half regarding the weather. Those in the south were enjoying temperatures and sunshine more typical for the month of June or even July whereas those up north had to put up with cloudy skies and low temperatures and even rain in some places too. Temperatures in the south were in the low twenties and even as high as twenty-five degrees Celsius in places but in the north it was more like eleven degrees with a slight wind. As far as conditions are concerned the weather in the north was more typical for the season whereas in the south conditions were more unseasonal. The day was a one-off though for the main problem was the passing of a cold front making its way slowly southward. For such a small country there can be quite a difference in weather patterns between the most northerly point to the most southerly at almost any time of the year. On a more personal note, the weather was just fine for me. I was half expecting to get more job requests for the day but had just the one and that one a very small one indeed, to connect a cooker to its isolating switch. I was happy about that for it meant I would have most of the day to myself but I couldn’t do it until the cooker had been delivered at eleven o’clock. It was almost lunch time as I drove home but I decided to go for another pub/restaurant meal beforehand as I had only fruit for my breakfast some hours earlier. Just as I had put the van in the garage, for I had no intentions of taking anymore work for the day, my phone rang, but it wasn’t a job request this time. I advertise in a local free newspaper, one of two operating in the area. The call was from the other newspaper group trying to secure my business! They had been trawling their competitor’s newspaper looking for more business. I wondered if the group I advertise with do the same. I explained that as I only work part-time (more or less) and as I am also 69 years of age to boot, I didn’t want the volume of work and was quite happy with my current newspaper running my advert. I locked the garage and went indoors.
With all the reports we have been hearing about high winds, freezing weather and floods is it any wonder people are asking what is causing it all? Most of the USA at the moment is frozen solid, many places here are covered with flood water and we have experienced gales and severe gales with probably more on the way. One thing we can say is that it is Winter after all but it has been a long time since we in general saw weather as bad as we have seen lately. Many of course blame the weather changes on rising global temperature (?)supposedly caused by human activity which seems on the face of it to be quite contradictory. It is true however that the average overall temperature of the planet has increased slightly and it takes only a rise in temperature of a degree or two Celsius to afford a disruption. Parts of the Globe are experiencing droughts not experienced before with higher temperatures happening at both poles. Ice is melting both in the Arctic and Antarctic which can only result in higher sea levels paving the way for coastal flooding. ‘The times they are a changing‘, rings the Bob Dylan song. There could be another explanation of cause however as some have iterated and that is that we could be heading for another Ice Age or at least a mini Ice Age. According to studies of the Earth’s past there have been at least two major Ice Ages with a number of smaller peaks and troughs in between which we call mini Ice Ages. Of course measurements will have to be taken over a number of years to reveal the truth of the matter. In the meantime we just have to get on with it and make preparations for possibly more difficult times ahead.
All through the winter months people were bemoaning the fact that it was too cold. Come on it was Winter after all! What did they expect? Come Spring they were all looking forward to warmer times which didn’t seem to be happening except for the occasional burst now and then. The onset of Summer was very disappointing with cold spells totally foreign to the time of year and the temperature persistently refusing to climb. Suddenly the ‘Jet Stream’ changed position and we now have the weather we expect to have in Summer but it is so hot, at least for me. High temperatures leave me feeling drained of energy but when the humidity is high too I suffer even more, in fact everyone suffers when the humidity is high, unless you are a fish! High humidity prevents the body cooling down through evaporation of sweat. It has been said that the ideal temperature and humidity for human beings are 21 degrees Celsius and 50% relative humidity. I know this to be true from working in the past in the air conditioning field as part of my workload as an engineer. I am qualified as an electrical technician and electrician with much experience and training in air conditioning, heating and ventilation, refrigeration, plumbing, computer and other control systems and many other fields in the electrical business such as CCTV, alarms, alternative power supplies and UPS. I have even worked in electrical transmission systems up to 11 Kv. So I can safely say that I have acquired much information, knowledge and understanding of things that concern my environment in the 51 years I have been working, 51 years almost to the day without being unemployed too. There are very few things in my normal working day that I find difficult to understand or to resolve when things go wrong but I don’t always take on the work myself, I will employ others to do the work for me if it is easier for me to do that and if it is quicker to employ someone else too! Some things are best left to those who are occupied in the field continually every day and have instant access to parts which may be required. Sometimes though I just don’t want to do the work myself! I don’t much feel like doing anything when the weather is hot but I do. Getting back to the temperature, although it is nice having hot and sunny weather for me it is too hot. Some like it hot as the saying goes but not me. Ideally I would like the temperature to be around 18 degrees with a 40% humidity level but for the time being I will have to suffer the inconvenience.
After a few days of miserable weather of snow, wind and rain the sun began to shine again at last (Tuesday) although it is still cold. What little snow we had it has almost all disappeared now but it could fall again at any time of course. Some snow still lies on pavements shaded from the sun and can only melt when the air temperature rises but at 2 degrees Celsius this could take some time, especially as the temperature drops below zero overnight. I am looking forward to the time I can get out on my bicycle again but it may be some time yet. The problem with the weather in the UK is that it is so unpredictable. This is due to the UK’s location on the Globe where warm and cold winds can be in conflict and where the Gulf Stream warms an otherwise cold sea. The position of the ‘Jetstream’ high in the atmosphere has a strong influence too, enabling cold air from the north or east to blow or allowing warmer winds from the west and south. My bicycle stands next to my van in the garage ready for action that at the moment isn’t going to happen. At least the sun is shining and is brightening up the lives of people during these cold days of winter. We all know it won’t last though but although we cannot make hay at this time of year we can be happy that the sun is shining can’t we? Just as well, more snow is forecast for Friday and they say it will be raining the day after with 6 C temperature! I did say the weather in the UK is unpredictable.
We had some unusually warm weather for well over a week but this week we are back to the average temperatures for this time of year, hovering around 8 to 12 degC, noticeably colder! We haven’t had rain for more than two weeks I think but we should have some soon. The problem with the British climate is, well, the British climate! It can be so unpredictable at times. As I write this on Monday afternoon after returning home from a mornings work and after a few days of not feeling so well, I must still have an infection for my lower lip has developed a swelling on one side. Perhaps the beginning of a cold sore! I am reminded of how funny I appeared recently after my whole mouth swelled up because of an allergic reaction to something I never did discover. This time it isn’t quite so bad though but still a proverbial pain! Maybe it is the weather, who knows? I remember last year we had some lovely weather early in the year and when we should have had better weather during the summer it didn’t really happen. That’s not to say the summer was bad, it wasn’t, it just didn’t last too long. Whenever we get fine weather early in the year people often quip that is all the summer we are likely to get! Weather patterns seem to have changed quite dramatically during my lifetime. Whether that is accurate I am not sure, I guess I could research the facts if I really wanted to. Personally speaking I am not all that fond of hot stifling weather preferring as I do for it to be a little cooler but I do like to have what I consider to be the right temperature and climate for the time of year, warm in the summer and cold in the winter. The way things are going these days we get snow in April and very little in December, not that here in Southport we ever get much snow compared to elsewhere. Even this week we are forecast to receive snow albeit in Scotland and the higher ground in places around England. Not much chance here on the coast but hey, this is Britain, anything could happen! In a way though, for the time being, I’m glad we haven’t had too much rain, the grass won’t need cutting again for a while. There will be plenty of time during the real summer for doing that I’m sure. That’s assuming we get one.