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.
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.
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.
Tuesday was going to be the hottest day of the year so far according to the weather forecast. Well it sure lived up to that. Between three and four in the afternoon, that is at the height of the day for temperature readouts I checked the temperature on the patio but in a shaded spot using a mercury thermometer. Actually two thermometers in one which shows maximum and minimum temperatures side by side. It showed 29 deg C but shortly after that reading it reached 30 deg C. Obviously it was hotter in the sunshine, probably by a few more degrees. For me it was unbearable, not because I couldn’t get used to it if I had to but because having these temperatures for just a couple of days isn’t long enough to get used to it. Days two and three of holidays in hot climates and we begin to get accustomed don’t we? If these temperatures were normal for us we are used to them. However as I am always saying, I am an Anglo-Saxon and for me it is too hot to tango! I spent a some time in the rear garden in the morning whilst it was a little cooler, pulling out armfuls of montbretia in the flowerbed adjacent to the patio which had sprouted within a low-lying shrub which itself has gotten out of hand. Now that we can actually see that shrub we can prune it back but I fancy I will be digging it out later when it is a bit cooler and replacing it with one or two others. I have an idea what I would like in there but E might think differently though she didn’t bother when I dug out and repopulated the larger of the two flowerbeds we had worked on in the front garden recently. I then spent a little time relaxing on the patio but couldn’t sit there too long. I decided to pull out the second of the two garden benches which had been stored in the large greenhouse beneath the wooden table now being used as a worktop in there. The wooden furniture we once used on the patio and in the garden, it comprises the table, two benches and four chairs. The four chairs are stored in the cellar and only the two benches are actually outside and being outside they need a coat of garden furniture oil/varnish applying every so often. I took the second bench out and hosed it down before transporting it out to the front garden. After lunch and when it was dry I got to work and applied the oil/varnish coat and then went into the rear garden where the other one sits in front of the patio and gave that a coat too. This one didn’t need a second coat as it was already in good condition having been coated earlier in the year but the second one required another coat which I applied an hour or so later.
The lower picture was taken last Autumn and it shows the bench in front of the patio on which some of the old wooden furniture can still be seen. It wouldn’t have been long after that picture was taken that I moved the furniture under cover aside from the bench.
E did a little hoeing and weeding during the day but we spent much of the time in the afternoon just lounging on the patio. She was sunbathing but I sat under the parasol out of direct sunlight. At that time of day it was really too hot to do much else.
….and then it went hot again, not that it cooled down much but after yesterday’s brief heavy downpour it was again hot and humid on Monday. I was up and about around six o’clock and had eaten breakfast soon after seven. I sat out on the patio for a while before the sun began to shine on the patio itself and the temperature even then was seventeen degrees (Celsius of course). The sky was free of clouds and although the sun was fairly high at that time the large trees to the north and north-east ensured the patio remained in a dappled shade. About an hour later it would be in full sunshine. It stays that way at this time of year from then on for many hours save for a brief spell around noon when the shadow of the house puts the patio in the shade for an hour. Around five to six in the evening the patio is again back in the shade. It all means that we get plenty of sunshine on the patio. I returned indoors for a time and only returned outside when E had finished her breakfast. We then went into the garage and cut the old carpet stored there into smaller pieces so we could put them in into the non-recyclable waste bin. It was beginning to get too warm for any strenuous exercise and we decided to just sit on the patio until lunch time. I stayed under the canopy as I hadn’t sufficient sun blocking cream to protect me. I don’t usually do the sunbathing thing anyway but I also don’t wish to be pinned to one spot trying to avoid the sun. After lunch I applied what little sun cream I had and walked into the village to purchase more. It was around two-thirty and I didn’t want to return directly home. E would be out with her mom so I would be returning to an empty house. Although I had applied more cream to my arms and chest where I normally burn easily, I kept in the shade as much as was possible even so. My intention was to pay a visit to the pub on my way back home which meant a long detour so that the pub was indeed on my way home. The last time I went in there was 6th December last year! To think I used to be in there five or six times per week! Now that I don’t drink alcohol and haven’t done so for a few years there seems little point in going there except to meet people. Occasionally E and I will eat there but we haven’t done that for a while either, that is at this pub anyway. We will have to correct that soon but we have been so busy working at home the days dining out have been few. I met up with two people I know and met another for the first time. I stayed an hour or so and then went home. E hadn’t returned home yet so I went out on the patio with my guitar for a while. It was six-thirty before she returned and we could have our evening meal. The highest temperature we recorded on the patio out of direct sunshine was 27 degrees. Nice if you like it that hot. I prefer something like 18-20 perhaps and cooler if I am working.
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.
We cannot say that we have had it bad during the Summer, the weather has for the most part been warm and sunny. It has been unusually warm and sometimes sunny during the last couple of months too, exceptionally so for November. We have been experiencing overnight temperatures exceeding those we would normally expect during the day at this time of year but slowly all that is changing. Most noticeably the wind has been getting stronger making it feel colder than it actually is but it is getting colder in any case. I suppose we can expect it to really feel like it is mid to late Autumn in the days to come. It is time to think about pruning the deciduous trees and shrubs that need pruning back and to prepare those plants more susceptible to the cold for protection if needs be. With that in mind E and I spent a few minutes wrapping three of the Phoenix Canariensis trees with sheets of bubble-wrap plastic and tieing them up so that only their tops are exposed. It isn’t for the low temperatures that we will get during the next few months but for the cold winds. These particular plants can withstand temperatures as low as minus seven degree celsius but the cold winds burn their leaves. It is the wind that we are protecting against. I have noticed I am having to wrap up more whenever I am out of the house or going to work. I am beginning to see the need to have the heating on in my van. The house heating has been switched on for a few weeks. It is Autumn and although it is my favourite time of year, it sure can get cold, wet and windy! Soon it will be Winter and Christmas time and before we know it the next year will be upon us. It is a time for preparation and readiness whilst we are still able and to wrap up those plants which need a winter overcoat so we can enjoy them during the warmer months. Despite it being so cool and windy we still have flowering plants in the garden, in fact some of them only burst into flower in Autumn. Others actually prefer it being wet and cool. Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and not before time as I have spent quite some time sweeping them up. Each day there have been fresh heaps of them to move but finally there are now almost none. Some apples remain on the branches but I have fitted a net beneath those branches which are above the concrete path to catch them when they fall. There is still plenty to do out in the garden but I will be well wrapped up for it.
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 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.