All very well but……

…..it can be boring! What? Public holidays. Over Easter the weather can be warm and sunny but can also be wet, cold and windy. Where I live it was a mixture of all and at times wasn’t pleasant at all. Many folk take a trip somewhere but unless it is to a warmer country it hardly seems worth it unless the weather isn’t a consideration.

English: Easter holidays On a cold North Sea b...
Easter holidays On a cold North Sea beach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does one do if the weather is poor? Well there are all sorts of things of course and for some being outdoors is great no matter what the weather is like. For those who wish to remain indoors there are still things they can partake in but it all depends on the individual. My Easter Day was spent indoors and as it was Sunday I did no work for Sundays I rest. However it is hard for me to spend all day doing nothing so I get bored. There aren’t many recreational activities which interest me these days except playing my guitar or watching documentaries on tv but even those things can’t satisfy all the time. Social events are fine but for me they would be boring if all I did was socialise every day. So I rested uneasy for most of the day with only the thought of being able to continue with my projects on Monday! Had the day been warm and sunny however everything would have been different, I would have been out in the garden and on the patio most of the time. I could have gone walking but I had done that only two days before and I wanted to rest anyway. I often wonder what other people get up to when the weather is poor and they remain indoors. To be honest I don’t really want to know!

Shirley Anne

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Still cold

Today as I write it is Good Friday. I am reminded as always each day that Jesus died and suffered on a cross for me. This day celebrates that event. It is both a sad and a happy day, sad because what Jesus did was necessary for us all, happy because if we believe we too will be raised up to everlasting life. However, that isn’t the subject of this post. Many folk will be taking a break from their usual routine either going on a short holiday or relaxing at home. Two of my neighbours have taken short breaks away from home but for E and myself staying at home is fine though if we did take a break away from home it would most likely be out of the country. Personally I can’t see why going to a different country just to relax is necessary unless it is for the benefit of guaranteed warm sunshine. I have to say that dull and cold weather can be depressing if it stays that way too long. At the moment we are experiencing a dip in temperature after a short spell of warm and sunny weather. That is the nature of this land, it can be unpredictable sometimes. This morning I took a walk northwards on the edge of town and then turned toward the seafront. I was glad I had taken gloves with me and in fact at this time of year they will remain in the bag I carry until I know they will not be needed. It was quite a cold morning though that was more due to the south-easterly wind than the temperature which hovered around seven degrees. I was happy to return to the comfort and warmth of home later. In the meantime I did enjoy the walk, I always do.

Shirley Anne

Turned colder

English: Wind blown coastal Alder tree in Forv...
Wind blown coastal Alder tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a somewhat colder day on Thursday because the wind direction was from the east and north-east. Whenever the wind blows from that direction, at least in Winter, it is almost always colder. Here on the west coast the prevailing winds are from the west and south-west and are therefore usually warmer. The day was a mixture of sunshine and clouds. Whenever the sun broke through it felt like a Spring day  but when the clouds got in the way the coldness of the wind thrust it home that we are still in the winter months. It can only get better though and by the time you are reading this it will most probably be a lot warmer. I write on the 22nd. It is early afternoon and I have just helped E in with the weekly shopping. I had been for a walk earlier in the morning along The Promenade to the north end of the seafront returning home along the seafront itself. The Promenade is around a mile and a quarter from home and is itself around a mile in length. I walked on the beach coming homeward as it was more sheltered from the easterly winds because of the sea wall. I had taken a pair of sunglasses with me for the sun was shining brightly at first. Along the way however the clouds rolled in but I kept the sunglasses on as they served to keep the cold wind out of my eyes. It didn’t stay cloudy for long and soon the sun was out again. It made a pleasant change being out on a walk and not working on the project. On my return home however I did do a little something, I sanded down the handrail I had painted with primer the day before making it ready for the top coat of paint. I was determined not to do anything else on the project and just take the day off.

Shirley Anne

Hot and cold

Daydreams in Cold Weather
Daydreams in Cold Weather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever I see or use the phrase ‘hot and cold’ I am reminded of these verses in Revelations 3:15-16 where it reads ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Jesus is speaking to the church at Laodicea but in fact to all those who profess to follow him but not fully. He is saying he would rather we were totally for him or totally against him than to be lukewarm and half-hearted. This post however isn’t about the faith but just to show how I feel about many things in my life. Another phrase is ‘Decisions, decisions’, spoken by those who cannot make up their mind about something one way or the other. I am a bit like that toward the weather but not about the weather itself for it cannot be anything else than the way it is can it? We have enjoyed some really mild weather in January and some would say very ‘unseasonal’ though it hasn’t all been that way. One day it would rain and the next day it would be dry, one day it would be mild and the next cool or even cold. One thing which I hate most though has been the frequently windy days. I would say ‘I wish the weather would make up its mind what it is doing, either be warm or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm but please….not all of them’. It is useless of course to wish for such things as we well know. If anything the weather has been less harsh in January than in many former years and one wonders if this is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Only time will reveal the answer to that question. It does mean my garden plants, those more used to milder climates, have not had to endure severe cold spells for we have accumulated quite a number of such plants in recent times. Fan palms, Phoenix Canariensis, Yucca and Cordyline all feature in our gardens now and one or two of them it is said can bear low temperatures, even down to minus 8 deg C for a time though I would always endeavour to shield them if ever it gets below zero. It would be nice to be able to guarantee what the weather will be like at any time in the year and for any length of time but unfortunately this is the UK and the weather can be very unpredictable at times.

Shirley Anne

It is the start

English: Gayle Beck After a morning of constan...
Gayle Beck After a morning of constant drizzle, Gayle beck is seen flowing through Hawes with a fair volume of water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing this on Thursday 21 after having my lunch. I had missed breakfast as I tend to do when I plan going for a walk in the morning. This morning was no exception. It has been a wet and dull morning with no prospect of any sunshine at all today. It wasn’t raining heavily when I went out but there was a constant drizzle, fine rain, the sort that drifts slowly down from the sky and seems to get into every nook and cranny not effectively screened from it. Even such fine drizzle can lead to streams of gushing water in some places. Anyway, it wasn’t going to prevent my enjoyment and off I went. I headed to the beach and walked toward the pier at which point I took to the roadside because there was too much mud on the beach for the next couple of hundred metres. I decided to remain on the roadside and continued as far as I wished until turning off to return homeward along a different route. I did return to the seafront for the last part of my walk. By the time I arrived home I was ready to do it all over again……but I didn’t. It proves a point, one which I already knew anyway, that the more we exercise the more we want to and are able to. It is all about building up stamina. When we exercise our bodies produce endorphins, ‘Any of a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.‘ In other words exercising makes you feel good. It is the start of Winter (Dec 21 or thereabouts) today if it can be pinned down to the calendar of course. It is so mild despite the rain. For some time now I have done little in the way of work at home though there are some things in the pipeline ahead which I plan on doing. I made the decision to put off all little projects until the beginning of the new year and simply enjoy doing nothing for a while, apart from my exercising of course.

Shirley Anne

 

The things we do

Gosh it was cold on Thursday, peculiarly the same as it was the previous Thursday and it was all due to the wind. Storm Caroline was attacking the country this time. We have had several storms come our way this year. The part of the country worse hit was Scotland up in the far north but that didn’t mean the rest of the country escaped from its effects. Here in Southport a couple of hundred miles south of the eye of the storm we were still battered by winds gusting between fifty and seventy miles per hour. Yes, I prefer miles per hour rather than kilometres per hour being as I am of an older generation! I do understand the metric system of course and have been using it for many years but I cling to the old ways when I can. New ways aren’t always the best. Anyway we were expecting the delivery of the elliptical cross trainer on Thursday morning and as is usual these days we are bombarded with text messages and emails informing us of the delivery status. Tracking is what they call it but all they really have to do is say the goods will arrive in the morning or in the afternoon, is there any need to know the exact minute? I think not. I was up early and ready to go for a walk by nine o’clock but E was still in bed so I left a note informing her of the expected arrival of the trainer, between 10.10 and 12.10 according to the latest text message. I went for my walk and instead of steering clear of the sea front I braved it on the return path home. Gosh it was cold! I turned inland for the latter part just to escape the wind. The trainer hadn’t yet arrived and it was eleven o’clock but that was alright if it was to arrive when they said it would. I made myself a coffee and soon afterward it arrived. It was too large a parcel, the size of a free-standing small wardrobe to bring into the house through the front doors. Even so, it was to be located downstairs in the cellar anyway and would have been difficult to take there from the main entrance. It had to go through the garage and into the cellar from the garden entrance. The poor guys delivering it had no trolley which I thought a little stupid so I brought our trolley out to their van so they could use it. Thanking me they moved it down the path into the now opened garage and dropped it where I indicated. As I write this near lunch time it remains standing in the garage. Somehow and some way I have to manoeuvre it through the rear door of the garage and into the cellar through the garden entrance door. We’ll see what happens. Having returned indoors for lunch I decided first to take down the flag knowing full well that it couldn’t withstand the expected high winds to come. It would be raised again probably the next day.

Shirley Anne

So far so good

It is December 2 as I write this. It is Saturday afternoon and I have just eaten lunch. Actually lunch served as two meals for I haven’t eaten breakfast. Over the last few days the weather has been cold with a northerly biting wind blowing off the sea along the coast where I live. Today all of that changed and it has been warmer and far less windy. Although the temperature is barely reaching 9 deg C it has been pleasant in the sunshine, well this morning anyway for at this very moment the sun is about to set and the day has turned cloudy. I went for a walk along the seashore to a point some three miles or more away before turning inland to take an elevated  footpath across the marshland. The path is a historical ‘right of way‘ passage which cuts through one of the local golf courses of which there are many around here. The area is called ‘Marshside’ for very obvious reasons, it is basically marshland or wet land where many wildfowl visit. Having traversed to the other side of the area the path led out to a road which I have often walked on my travels to and from the seafront. There was an old sign showing the site where an old airfield was located many years ago. There was a workshop at the location from 1910 until 1966 according to the sign……….This is the exit point onto Hesketh Road from which I emerged. 

More information here…….http://www.forgottenairfields.com/united-kingdom/england/merseyside/hesketh-park-aerodrome-s1249.html

Facing the row of houses I turned right which took me back to the shore. I remained on the concrete on my walk back home having walked on the shore on the outward trek. What is the collective term for a large group of people dressed in waterproof clothing carrying tripods and binoculars? No I don’t know either but there was such a group descended on the footpath in front of me eagerly pointing their binoculars out to sea across the marshes. One thing you can say about this part of the coast is we have plenty of geese, ducks, swans, gannets and gulls and many more varieties of birds for bird watchers, which is what this group were doing. Just a couple of miles further inland there is a wetland centre for all those interested in birds. It is called Martin Mere…. https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/martin-mere/  . So that was my day on Saturday. As we approach the Winter Solstice we can begin to look forward to warmer times ahead but we’ve got some cold weather yet to come first no doubt. In the meantime so far so good.

Shirley Anne

I gave in

We had another bright and sunny day on Thursday but it was bitterly cold outside with an offshore wind making it feel that much colder. Despite the weather I got myself ready to take a walk, yes, you guessed it, down toward the beach. Brave as I am as far as the cold weather is concerned even I had to admit to feeling uncomfortable as I plodded along through the sand dunes trying to steer clear of the biting wind. All along the coast hereabouts we have sand lizards and Natterjack toads (  http://www.countryfile.com/days-out/natterjack-toads-southport-lancashire  ) both of which are protected species. In among the dunes there are areas called ‘slacks’, wet places, as well as large ponds which are dotted between the dunes. These are the breeding grounds for the toads, not that I saw any toads of course as they would be hibernating out of sight until Spring. The lizards are even more inconspicuous, even in Summer. As I walked along I noticed the surface of the ponds were partly frozen in places showing just how cold it really was. The air temperature at that time was around 3 or 4 deg C but the wind-chill factor made it feel nearer zero. The ground is often frosty at this time of year despite the higher air temperature. Although there was some shelter from the wind it nevertheless made its presence felt. I walked perhaps a mile in total through the dunes and decided it was too cold there so I moved away from the shore to more sheltered places. I don’t usually feel the effects of the cold weather when I am wrapped up in suitable clothing and although I wear a skirt my legs never seem to feel cold. I wear thick knee-length stockings which I let drop to my ankles and my walking boots and it is enough. However my hands can get cold even though I may be wearing fleece-lined gloves. The main problem is the wind. If it isn’t windy, which is very rare in Southport, the coldness is less noticeable. I might have been a little tired on Thursday morning but I cut my walk short and returned home after only an hour.

Shirley Anne

They can’t wait

Downstairs a little later on Wednesday even though I was up and out of bed before eight. Being a woman it takes longer sometimes to get ready for the day! Still, I wasn’t dressed in my day clothes when I did get downstairs, I was dressed for working out on the treadmill or other things. Although I wasn’t really in the mood for running I made the effort as I always do and as I always do I feel great for doing it. It’s psychological I suppose. Anyway that done it was time for breakfast after which I got ready to go for a walk. Wednesday was a lovely sunny day but it was cold at 5 deg C with a slight northerly wind making it feel even colder. I was well-wrapped up though and prepared to enjoy the walk despite the cold. Part of the walk included my ending up at the pier. There were very few people out and about, especially down on the sea front where it was exposed to the wind. It didn’t matter to me, I walked the length of the pier, which in Southport is quite a long way….
Southport Pier is a Grade II listed pleasure pier located in Southport, Merseyside, England. First opened in August 1860, it is the oldest iron pier in the country and spans a length of 1,108 metres (3,635 ft), making it the second-longest in Great Britain after Southend Pier. Although at one stage reaching out 4,380 feet (1,340 m), a succession of storms and fires during the late 19th and early 20th century have reduced its length to that of the present day. (Extract from Wikipedia)’

At the time of writing the pier has been undergoing extensive maintenance to its ironwork and the work has been in progress for a couple of months. It will take a few more months I guess to complete the work. I spoke with one of the guys working there who told me that although the work is good (you’ve got to enjoy your work!) it was ‘Bl***y freezing’ he quipped! I left him to it and started back home which would be to the right along the shoreline and off the picture above. On the way home I paid a visit to the pub as I wanted a drink and the use of their toilet, though not necessarily in that order! It was packed with diners inside in the warmth. I stayed at the bar and off the carpet as I was wearing dirty boots. It was decorated for Christmas inside with two very large trees. It was still November. I thought it too early for Christmas decorations but it seems with each passing year it gets earlier. I suppose people are just too keen to begin the Christmas festivities. It’s a pity many don’t believe in Christ. He seems to have been left out of His own birthday celebrations (at the pub) once again, for nowhere could be seen anything to indicate the reason for the season. With a sigh I left for home and dwelled upon the weeks ahead and all that will go on during that time and into the new year.

Shirley Anne

Changes

A few months ago I manufactured a gate to fit at the side of the house……

It didn’t take long to construct and it fitted perfectly into the space where I placed it but that was when the weather was warm and dry. The weather naturally has changed since then becoming colder and more humid which all means the wooden gate expanded. That’s what wood does when the temperature and humidity change. I knew I had to remove the gate and shave a little wood from it but I had to wait for my youngest son to return the borrowed plane so I could get on with it. In fact he had borrowed two planes, one of them electric and it was the electric one I wanted to do the job. Finally after weeks of asking he brought the plane over and I was able to do the work which only took a half hour. Now there is a gap between the gate and the frame so further expansion if it happens will not result in the gate jamming as it did. A few years ago I erected a flagpole in the front garden….. 

As you might expect the weather has affected that too. The flag has to put up with wind, sun, rain and everything the weather throws at it. That being the case the flag has to be replaced from time to time and in fact new ones have been purchased along the way. On Thursday last week however I noticed the halyard rope had become worn and I had to remove the flag for a few days until I could replace the rope. At the time of writing I am waiting for the delivery of the rope and a couple of accessories. I have never had to change the rope since it was new and I am hoping I will be able to attach the replacement to the old one in order to pull it up through the pole and out at the top. If I find I can’t it will mean erecting part of the scaffolding tower around the base to remove the top section of the pole. It may be prudent to do so anyway so that the finial can be serviced. At present it tends to remain fixed when it should be free to rotate about the top of the pole. The weather takes its toll on anything exposed to it!

Shirley Anne