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.
I had spent a night of intermittent sleep sessions but nevertheless finally waking satisfied and rested. I wanted to go for a walk but as it was Saturday I thought I would eat a breakfast first then realised it didn’t matter which day it was, after all I am retired! Having said that I am only retired from my work as an electrician, I have lots of other things now to occupy my time. Anyway after breakfast I had to wait a while before I could go for the walk….naturally so. It was just the right temperature for walking but I didn’t realise the humidity was as high as it was, 87% relative, which is very high. There had been a slight breeze and it was pleasant to be out in. The wind was a little stronger when I reached the coastal road of course and it made the walk easy. However, by the time I had returned home I was sweating profusely and felt hot.
It had been the high humidity making me feel that way because Nature’s way of cooling me down through my sweat evaporating had been restricted. Too much moisture already in the air. The wind had assisted in the evaporation but once I’d stopped walking and gone indoors it felt too sticky for comfort. This is one reason why I like to go for a walk earlier in the day during the warmer months, it is much cooler then. I was able to remain indoors with the windows open enough to allow a cooling breeze to wash over me. Soon I had cooled down to feel comfortable again. The day turned out to be very sunny throughout but the humidity still remained high. I was happy to just relax in it and do nothing for a change.
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.
Wednesday proved to be very different from the days surrounding it as the temperature rose to a level more suitable for a summer’s day. Alright it wasn’t quite officially summer but the seasons do not stick to a regimented date do they? It was warm and sunny especially in the afternoon but the day had started dull and overcast though it was still warm. I had nothing to do and didn’t really want to be working anyway. I pottered about in the garden during the morning digging out a few weeds and montbretia plants which are still popping up here and there. It is after all the growing season for montbretia and of course weeds seem to grow whatever time of year it is! Nothing really arduous though and afterwards I got out the hose and gave the garden a good watering. It had been raining in the previous days but at this time of year it is soon dry again. A little more time pottering about inside the house before E and I went to the pub for our belated lunch. It would have been pointless to have gone there earlier as it is always packed between noon and say two-thirty which was the time we arrived. As usual the staff were at their best and soon we were served. On our return home E told me she had to go out again to post a letter she had forgotten to take with us earlier. Usually she drives to the post box even though it is less than three hundred metres away and that only because of her condition. I offered to walk there and post it for her while she put her car in the garage. When I returned a few minutes later I stopped by our next-door neighbour’s house to chat for a minute. She had her decorator painting the outside walls of her house, something her husband used to do every five years until he died three and a half years ago. The poor guy had been working at the front of the house for quite a few hours and hadn’t stopped for lunch. As he said, who wants to resume work after eating a meal? He was right, I missed lunch very often when out working and for the same reason. She had provided drinks of course, something he couldn’t do without especially in the heat of the day and especially as the front of the house was in full sunshine during the day. It must have been very uncomfortable and tiring. I am sure I wouldn’t have liked to do it. I was thinking later that perhaps he should have started the work by painting the rear of the house first as it would have been shaded throughout the day. The sun almost never shines on the rear wall of her house. The following day, Thursday was forecast to be cooler with a slight breeze blowing, much better conditions for working in but as he told me earlier he hadn’t checked the weather forecast. What would he have done if it had begun to rain soon after he had started the work? It is always wise to check the forecast before doing any work outdoors methinks.
I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather for there is nothing I can do about it. These past few days have been very warm and humid, so much so it has left me feeling very uncomfortable and drained of energy. It has more to do with the humidity rather than the temperature and that applies to everyone. We can only cool down (in the air) if our perspiration is allowed to evaporate but the higher the humidity the less that can happen. I try to do as little as possible when conditions are humid but it isn’t easy. On Thursday morning I had a dental appointment across town and even at ten o’clock in the morning it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. How grateful I was that the surgery is fully air-conditioned. Whilst I was waiting to see the dentist I received a phone call from my neighbour informing me that I should return home because the house alarm had been sounding. I wondered why E hadn’t contacted me but as we haven’t been on speaking terms she asked a neighbour! All that however is a different story which I will not go into at this time. I explained that it was impossible for me to return immediately and left it at that. The alarm would automatically cease sounding after twenty minutes anyway and when I did arrive back home some forty minutes later it had indeed cut off.
It transpired that the main panel battery was faulty but I called the alarm company and asked if they could attend and replace it and also do a complete service at the same time. We hadn’t an existing maintenance agreement so I arranged that with the engineer when he called. For an annual fee (presently £108) they will check out the system each year and carry out any necessary repairs. I had asked their office not to send an engineer before three o’clock as I was eating out. They came at one-fifteen! Fortunately I had been to the pub before then but my visit there was cut short. It was just as well as it turned out. It is unusual for people to arrive earlier than the appointed time I have to say but I suppose they had time on their hands. My dental appointment by the way was for a routine check-up and clean but I have been referred to a local clinic in regard to a gum infection at the dentist’s request. He just wanted a second opinion. By mid-afternoon all had calmed down, dentist, pub, alarm sorted but I had to water the gardens once again. It is easy enough for me to go and stand in the shower if I get too uncomfortable but the poor plants must be wondering when it will be that it rains again! I wish it would too.
I arose very early on Wednesday morning and after breakfast I was outside just before eight o’clock fully dressed in my overalls and ready to work. There was a bit of a chill in the air and everywhere was damp because of the high humidity. About an hour or two after I began to work I had to return indoors to remove some of the clothing I was wearing beneath the overalls as I became uncomfortable in the high humidity. Late in the afternoon on Tuesday I had decided to dig out the remaining soil behind the small wall where I had earlier begun to fill in behind with concrete. I found some spare wood sheets in the cellar that I could use for shuttering and set them in place ready for filling behind with concrete on Wednesday. I had not been able to do any other work in the Plot on Tuesday as you will have read in yesterday’s post. So the first thing I did on Wednesday morning was to mix some heavy duty concrete. Two mixer loads would just about do it and I had very little left over. Even so, that didn’t go to waste as I used it elsewhere. I poured it in behind the shuttering (see middle right in picture). I switched from mixing the heavy duty concrete to one using granite dust or granno for I was using it to fill in between the paving slabs. Even though I had mixed two full mixer loads there wasn’t enough to do all of the work but by that time I was beginning to get very tired. I would need to clean up the area later when the concrete had hardened. I stopped working at just a little after one o’clock but then had to tidy everything away. It was just as well that I couldn’t finish all the work I had intended to do because I needed to plan what I was going to do in the area around the new steps. I made those plans a little later in the afternoon but to do it I would need some more old bricks. Now there are some old bricks in the area behind the other garage but many of them are covered in either concrete or hard mortar. I would have to see if there was enough of them that I could reclaim to do the work, though I could manage with fewer if I had to. At this stage I wasn’t sure what I would concentrate on doing the following day but I wanted to do as much as I could while the weather was good. I have yet to start work on the right-hand-side of the flowerbed but that work is mainly laying paving slabs and filling in with concrete.
To be honest it is the high humidity which gets me down rather than the temperature though it can still be too hot even when the humidity is low. The more humid the more discomfort and the more difficult for any form of manual labour. As the week progressed the temperature dropped but the humidity remained high. I had been working in the garden earlier in the week but on Thursday morning and again on Friday morning I had electrical work to do which in a way was beneficial for it kept me from burning myself out with the gardening work. I had to be at home at one o’clock as the joiner was fitting the new door. He arrived right on time but it took him longer than he had expected to do the work. That might have been due to the warm weather though I could be wrong. It took him until four-thirty to complete the job which would be around three hours actually doing the work. Anyway I could do little work myself within the house and working out in the garden was not viable for three reasons, I was too tired in the heat, I would have to dress for gardening work which meant I couldn’t respond quickly if the guy needed me for something as it would mean having to remove my boots and other dirt gathering garments to walk about in the house. The third reason was that I didn’t feel like starting the gardening so late in the day. As it was I had to clean the room after he had gone and once again vacuum the stairwell from top to bottom as I had done on Monday after the carpet had been laid. I wonder how some people can make such a mess when doing a job, ahem. Well you cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg or two! By the time I had cleaned the three landings and three flights of stairs I was exhausted and very wet with perspiration. E hadn’t yet returned home with the groceries so I went into the rear garden to water the plants and to cool off in the slight breeze. Before I returned indoors I took the washing off the line that E had hung out earlier. Whilst I was doing that E arrived home. We had a late dinner and I did little else before bed time.
It was a scorcher of a day on Sunday with temperatures around 24 C. It felt a little humid during the morning but less so as the day wore on. For early May these conditions are abnormal hereabouts as the average temperature should be around 16 C. I won’t complain about that but if I have anything to do I much prefer the lower temperature. I find the high temperature combined with higher humidity just drains the energy out of me. I wanted to go for a walk in the morning but it threatened rain and though that wouldn’t matter I decided against it and spent time on the treadmill in the cooler and dryer cellar. E wanted to do some gardening, removing weeds and overgrowth in one of the flower beds in the front garden so she set everything up and left me to my own devices. I didn’t much want to do anything in the garden but I ended up doing a little. I decided to take the ‘Yucca’ plant I have been nurturing (not sure of the variety) out of the large plant pot I had planted it in last year and plant it in the flowerbed next to the patio and against the wall
Which is in this flowerbed
Apart from plucking out one or two weeds and later watering the garden I did little else. After lunch E and I spent a little time out on the patio relaxing in the heat of the day with myself bare-footed on the artificial turf which surprisingly was warm, soft and dry. I don’t do sunbathing so after a short time I cover up my more sensitive parts, which means most of me I guess.
Now it is Tuesday as I write this and the day has been much warmer and humid than it was yesterday and it was uncomfortable then! I can put up with the heat for a little time as long as there is some air movement but when it is humid with too it becomes unbearable. I had several ‘small’ jobs to do in a house about ten miles away but although they were small it still took me more than three hours to do them all. I had plenty of ventilation within the house so it was cool enough at least for the first couple of hours but because the humidity was high I became like a wet sponge. For those who may not know, it is the evaporation of moisture (perspiration) which cools us down when we are too hot but if the humidity is high that evaporation cannot take place and we remain hot as well as wet! It can be very dangerous and hazardous to our health if we cannot lose excess heat readily. Anyway the last of the jobs had been to re-arrange the supply circuits in the garden shed and my oh my was it hot in there! Fortunately the work was just inside the doorway so I could step out into the breeze that by now was blowing. It was still humid though. I was paid handsomely for my work so I drove to my local pub again and treated myself to another meal. When I arrived home shortly afterwards it was after three o’clock. I sat out on the patio with a drink. At around five o’clock I went indoors and almost immediately received a call for help with an electrical problem. An older guy was replacing a bathroom light but didn’t know how to connect it for in his words ‘there are too many wires’. I offered to call there straight away as it was only a half-mile distant. I had it connected and fitted in ten minutes and was paid for my effort though I only charged them half of what I would normally have done. It still paid enough to cover my lunch twice over. On Wednesday morning I was to do another ‘small’ job or two in another house three miles from home. Now if only the humidity would drop it would be pleasant working on these small tasks but the weather won’t remain as it is for ever I hope.
We don’t have good weather here in the UK all of the time or even most of the time. Our seasons are all over the place sometimes so that when we expect warm weather it can be cold, expecting dry weather and it rains. One good thing about our climate is that it varies throughout the year but after months of inclement and unpredictable weather we yearn for something more stable, especially in the Summer months. Not every year is the same either, some years we get nice summers but at other times it has been a complete washout. One thing we can say about our weather is that it is predictably unpredictable! It is now late June, the 29th to be exact as I write this on Monday afternoon and the day has been hot and humid, dry (that is it hasn’t been raining) and very sunny. The rest of the week promises to be even hotter and more humid with no rain. Well that is this week, what happens next week is something else. It will already be July as you read this in a couple of days’ time for I write much of my posts a few days in advance. The months of July and August should be the best months of the year if you like warm or even hot weather so I am wondering if this year will prove to be so. We can only hope. Now although I like sunny weather I am not fond of it being too warm or humid, preferring as I do the cooler months. Sunshine is nice any time in the year for me. Today, that is Monday, I had no electrical work to do though I had some offers. Those offers were too distant for me to accept as I would need to charge extra for travel and mileage. I cannot expect my customers to pay for that when most of the time the jobs are small and don’t warrant being charged too much. For those jobs closer to home I can afford not to charge too much extra. Anyway as I hadn’t any offers by two o’clock I took a walk to the pub and treated myself to a two-course dinner with a soft drink and a coffee to follow the meal. As it was two-thirty by the time I got there finding a seat was easy. It was nice to sit inside in the cool air though some were outside dining in the heat and no doubt fending off the flies! That is another reason I don’t eat outdoors unless it is a barbecue. The smoke keeps most of the pesky insects at bay! On my return home I stopped to chat to my next-door neighbour for a minute. She is having her bathroom refurbished and I think after seeing what E and I have done with our bathroom it prompted her to do something with hers. We did encourage her to do it by the way. As soon as I got inside I was outside again having a drink out on the patio but as my readers know I didn’t remain seated too long. I got up and watered the garden, paying particular attention to the lawn. It is a catch twenty-two situation with the lawn, if it isn’t watered it suffers in the warmer months because the grass is kept short and if left to grow it will retain more moisture in the roots but looks unsightly! Can’t win with lawns. Even watering our lawn every day doesn’t always guarantee it remains green and lush and that is because the drainage is too good, being as it is on sandy soil. I do what I can but the heat of the day is oppressive and limits my activity.