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!
A day like this would have been better don’t you think?
Ah, Sunday morning and all tucked up under the duvet made me feel so secure and warm, The curtains drawn back allowed me to see the new day outside and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Rain was pelting against the glass of the windows forced relentlessly by the strong north-westerly winds. I tried to close my eyes again but it was now too late, time to get up and face the day. I was going for a walk, down along the beach and back along the coastal road this time. It was around eight-twenty as I stepped through the front door, I was well wrapped up to face the elements and needed to be, it would get worse before it got better! I walked the half-mile or so to the coast road and crossed over to walk through the sand dunes and onward to the beach. There was the watery and muddy paths to negotiate before I reached the sand and soon after I arrived there the wind picked up and became stronger, then the rain began to fall again. It had ceased raining by the time I set off but now it was back with a vengeance. Have you ever stood in a waterfall? I have and there on the beach it felt just the same. I stooped down to the sand to minimise the drowning I was being given but thankfully it lasted only a few minutes before easing off to be just light rain for ten minutes. I looked heavenward to see a bright blue sky, the clouds had blown over, well most of them. I made it to the point where I was to turn off the beach and as I did I saw several police, coast guard and ranger vehicles with their crews standing close by. I wondered if there had been an incident along the beach for as I had approached the turning off point I could see flashing amber lights in the distance ahead of me further along the beach. Whatever the event was about it looked as though it was all over. I continued with my walk and homeward bound. By the time I reached home the sun was shining, it was warmer and most of the sky was blue. It didn’t last too long however as by one o’clock it was cloudy again, then sunny, then cloudy…..a day of two halves.
By noon on Friday (27) I was worn out but soon after lunch all was right again, though I remained a little tired till bedtime. It all began with my going to bed early the previous night as I was beginning to doze off in the chair around nine o’clock. This meant I fell asleep at ten-thirty as my head hit the pillow and slept through until five o’clock.
Worn Me Down (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I had an appointment with the nurse at the surgery who was to take some blood samples to be sent off for analysis at my doctor’s request following my last visit to see her. The appointment was at five minutes before ten o’clock and I had hours to spare before then. I didn’t arise until seven however and I decided to spend some time on the treadmill before taking a shower and then getting dressed. I couldn’t eat breakfast because I was supposed to fast for at least twelve hours before the blood samples were taken. I hadn’t eaten since six o’clock the previous evening, more than enough lapsed time. I remained hungry therefore until the samples were taken. I walked down to the surgery which is about a half-mile from home. I had put on my walking boots and a suitable coat in order to go for a walk once I had seen the nurse. I probably walked another two miles before reaching the point on the seafront I was aiming for. I ate the banana I had taken with me along the way. No collecting pebbles and stones this time as on my last journey I had collected enough to finish the work I was doing in the flowerbed at home. I was home before noon so whilst it was warm and sunny I thought I’d mow the lawn and hopefully for the last time this year. The grass however was wet with dew as expected but it was the moss that was retaining the water, not the grass. Even so the mower made short work of it. Now I was hungry and tired. I prepared and ate lunch as by now it was one o’clock. Usually I dine with E but she had been busy in her workshop and didn’t arrive downstairs until almost two o’clock. I was too hungry to wait that long. She asked if I had enjoyed the walk, which I always do. I told her I’d cut the lawn since my return which is why I was feeling a little tired and she hadn’t noticed. Our lawnmower like most isn’t exactly quiet but she hadn’t realised the ‘buzzing’ sound she could hear faintly was the mower! Her workshop is at the top of the house though, four levels above the garden and double-glazing seem to be effective in blocking out the world. The day was so pleasant and warm I found a little time to sit on the patio with a coffee in the afternoon. It didn’t last too long though after all it was late October.
On Saturday through to Sunday afternoon we felt the effects of the latest storm to grace our shores and it was even worse than the previous one we had endured merely a matter of days before. You might say we were fortunate as it didn’t pass too close but it didn’t need to.
A map of the Irish Sea. Major ports shown in red; freight-only ports shown in blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The eye of the storm passed over the Irish sea between England and Wales on the east and Ireland on the west. That meant the highest winds encircled it and guess where I live, right beneath them? On the map Southport is located just above ‘Liverpool‘ on the straight piece of coast before the next inlet above it. The eye of the storm passed over ‘Anglesey‘. The previous storm passed further to the west and we were less affected by it. The wind and rain were relentless and for hours we were bombarded with it. The driving wind forced some of the rain beneath the lead flashing over the bay window in a room at the front of the house. It found its way into the ceiling space and on to the floor in that room. When time and weather allow an investigation we will see what can be done to prevent it happening again.* I put off going for a walk on Sunday until after eleven o’clock. The rain had ceased but the wind was still strong at 35 mph (51 Km). I managed to get to the beach but it was hard-going though very refreshing. Surprisingly it didn’t feel very cold despite the wind. I walked a little on the sand before returning nearer to the coast road to walk there instead. I returned home ready for lunch an hour later, a little windswept! Around three o’clock the sun began to shine, the sky began to turn blue and thankfully the wind had dropped to a more respectable level. I actually found time to potter about in the garden!
* Post Script: I carried out the repairs which had caused the leak the following day having found a loose brick and some holes in the wall. They were hidden from sight behind the guttering. At the same time I replaced some of the plastic sheeting beneath the roof tiles which had become worn exposing the timbers behind.
On Friday morning I had a chance to sleep in until ten o’clock but was awakened by a phone call asking me to do a small electrical job. It was from an elderly couple for whom I had worked before and they insisted they would call me in preference before anyone else. He is a little senile and set in his ways whilst she had a stroke a few years ago which left her in difficulties with her speech. She couldn’t phone because of that and he seemed not to notice that I was trying to tell him I had retired as he kept on talking about the electrical problem. They live around three miles from me so how could I refuse to help? I dressed and went there immediately. As is sometimes the case with older folk they worry about potential electrical faults. As it happened there wasn’t a fault at all. What had happened was he had placed a piece of half-toasted bread into the toaster but somehow had wedged it in between the metal guide and the elements consequently short-circuiting the toaster.
Two slices of electrically toasted white bread (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
That had caused the RCD to trip which cut the supply to other circuits too. He had already corrected the fault himself but it appeared he wanted to be sure. As E and I wanted to go shopping in the afternoon I missed the opportunity to go for a walk. I didn’t wish the same thing to happen on Saturday. I arose early on Saturday for two reasons, first of all I had to go and collect my medications and secondly, I hardly slept at all during the night so was awake anyway. It was a dull morning and threatening to rain, in fact that had been the forecast as we were expecting the tail-end of yet another storm to head our way. Again, although we were at the fringes where I live it got very wet and windy throughout the afternoon and evening. I wanted to go for a walk and fortunately was able to in the morning before the rain fell in earnest though it did rain for about twenty minutes while I was out. After lunch E went to her monthly meeting and I was left at home to hang out the washing, indoors of course for the rain was belting down!
I had managed to do a spot of clearing up of moss on the ‘secret garden’ flagstones and pathway as it was getting out of hand (compare to photo in yesterday’s post). Soon after the rain began to fall. With nothing better to do I spent a half-hour on the treadmill working out.
Sahara desert from space
One thing I think you can guarantee here in the UK is the often unpredictable weather. Usually we get the remnants of any Western Atlantic storms or hurricanes which befall those countries in the Caribbean or the States of the USA. Obviously by the time those storms reach the UK they have lost most of their power even though they can still be strong enough to cause mayhem. Whether one part of the UK is hit the hardest or not depends totally upon the path of the storm and the prevailing conditions here when it reaches our shores. As we had been enjoying high pressure over most of the country during the latest storm’s approach it was forced to follow a route which took it across Ireland and the north-west of Scotland rather than across England and Wales. That wasn’t to say the north-west areas of those countries didn’t feel the effects to some degree. I live in the southern part of north-west England and we still experienced high winds gusting at seventy mph. Here is a picture of a tornado (taken during the recent storm) over the town of Morcambe which is around sixty miles north of Southport where I live
North West England in red
On Monday evening I lowered our flag for that reason but raised it again on Tuesday morning when the wind had died down. On Monday morning I went for a walk whilst the wind was less strong but the day had an eerie feel to it. The sun had made an attempt to break through the clouds earlier but the clouds won. The sky turned an orange-red colour as did the sun. It looked more like a sunset or sunrise rather than the late morning it was and although the wind was blowing it was surprisingly warm at twenty-one degrees. It was reported that the colour was due to sand being whipped-up in The Sahara and being carried northward over the UK. The winds had been blowing from the south for many days by then. By the time I had returned home the sky had turned completely blue with no clouds at all! I even sat out on the patio for a time in the full sunshine. An hour or so later and it was cloudy and the winds began to strengthen, no more sitting outside. The worst of the weather came overnight but by Tuesday morning it was much better though the wind remained with us throughout the day. I am talking about twenty mph winds here and not the seventy-something mph winds we had during the night. The day turned out bright and sunny and I was able to do some work in the garden and later in the afternoon I went for another walk down to the beach popping into my local pub for a drink on my way back home.
What a couple of rough days we had since the weekend and basically all due to the high winds. The temperature has been reasonably fair for the beginning of October, hovering around 15 deg C, though some say it could be warmer. The wind didn’t prevent me doing those small jobs yesterday and perhaps now they have subsided for a spell I might be able to work some more in the garden. I went for another walk on Tuesday, this time going north once more to end up on the now overgrown beach north of the town at Marshside. The area is the white portion of the map nearest the top of the picture… The tide had been in an hour or two before I had reached the shore and all that could be seen was a covering of green far out to sea. I was at the high tide mark merely a few metres from the road where the ground is a mixture of sand, crushed seashells and flotsam and jetsam washed-up onshore. At this end of the shore the path is separated from the road by a small bank covered in grass and shrubs but as one walks south toward the pier there is just a metre or two of sand alongside the sea wall which begins at that point. I didn’t walk far in front of the wall as the sand began to turn to mud after a hundred metres or so. It isn’t until the pier is reached when the whole beach becomes sandy again. Anyway the other reason for getting off the beach was the wind-blown sand in my face! I decided to turn inland and walk the rest of the way home away from the shoreline, stopping off at the pub for a soft drink before continuing home. It can be very pleasant walking along the sea front even in the colder months but it can also be the opposite when the weather, especially the wind, turns nasty. It is at times like these I take to walking the more sheltered routes through the town.
Having gone to bed rather late on Wednesday (27) evening meant I didn’t arise too early on Thursday. I had remained up until E returned from her visit to the hospital to see her mom who had been taken ill late in the afternoon. It turned out that her mom had to stay in hospital overnight for further tests and according to E was feeling a little better before E left for home. It was approaching midnight by the time she returned. She too slept in late and didn’t come down for breakfast until after ten-thirty, I had finished mine an hour earlier. I wanted to go for a walk but waited until she was up and about before doing so. The weather forecast was good, dry, warm and sunny for the whole day. That is how it turned out, in fact I was feeling a little too warm in my coat and thought I might have been better not wearing it until I got to the sea front where it felt a bit cooler. Had I gone out earlier it would have been much cooler. Once the sun was up it was just like another Summer’s day even though it was now Autumn and almost October. By the time I had returned home two hours later I really needed to remove my coat I was so hot! The gates on the drive to the garage in which E parks her car were open. She had gone out, in fact I learned she had gone to the hospital as I had expected and would follow on and do the weekly shopping later if all went to plan. I ate lunch then spent a couple of hours on the patio in the heat of the Autumn sun. Tomorrow’s forecast was for plenty of rain. The lawn was getting covered with fallen leaves again after we had swept it the afternoon before………now I knew it was Autumn.
PS. To E’s relief her mom was back home by evening after being discharged from the hospital.
I slept in late on Friday, deliberately so as there was nothing planned for the day. It was warm and there was only a slight breeze. I chose to sit out on the patio with a drink and E joined me. Unfortunately it clouded over after thirty minutes and E went back indoors. I mentioned that as soon as she went indoors the sun would probably reappear and it did. Not only that but it remained sunny after that for quite a few hours. By now the house’s shadow had placed the patio in the shade for a while so I moved my chair down into the garden in front of the Mound and it was even warmer there than it had been on the patio. My chair was sitting on the pathway on the far left in the picture below.
That side of the garden is such a heat trap as well as it being less windy there. I sat there for over an hour just relaxing in the warm sunshine. It was almost time for lunch when I returned indoors but whilst I was outside I heard and saw a couple of RAF airplanes flying over to the west, which would be over the left wall in the picture.Today (Friday), Saturday and Sunday the annual Southport Air Show was being held so I guessed the pilots were warming up and checking the lay of the land so to speak. The skies get quite noisy during those afternoons. If I was to go for a walk northward along the coast I would be denied as the whole area is cordoned off and patrolled for three days. I would have to choose another route instead. For a time after lunch it went dull again but by late afternoon it was bright and sunny again. Unfortunately the weather forecast wasn’t very promising for Saturday, thought supposedly it would be better on Sunday. This is how it is weather-wise in this country but we are used to it.
It is still mid-September as I write this and I can say with much confidence that Summer is just about over. Over the last few days the temperature has dropped, the rain has fallen – is falling and the wind is high, more like Autumn. I could moan about Autumn’s approach but in fact the season is my favourite. All the outdoor work that still needs doing is best done without the hot sun bearing down on me but unfortunately most of the time the wind and rain bring everything to a halt. I had been working inside the garage yesterday (I write this on Tuesday 12) fixing the two brackets on which to store a couple of ladders and noticed the rain had been seeping in near the entrance, in the corner in fact. The problem was due to the joint between the garden wall and the garage wall having a crack in it because the mortar had shrunk. It would be a simple thing to rectify but the weather forecast predicted persistent rain for several days. There was just the possibility of a dry spell first thing on Tuesday morning and I took the opportunity to do the work then. I had it done in thirty minutes. It was ten o’clock with patchy cloud and a little sunshine. It improved until by one o’clock it was almost all sunshine. It didn’t last though as predicted and by later afternoon it became overcast. Rain soon followed and it was noticeably cooler. By that time the new mortar had dried enough to stand a little rain. It looked as though there would be little chance of doing anything more outdoors for a few days. When operating the garage door to access tools and such the door jammed a couple of times and it needed releasing. It is just as well that a new door system is to be installed shortly as the old one is getting worse for wear. At eleven o’clock I went for a walk, this time along the beach a couple of miles and returning the same way. I had to call into the pub on my way back to use the toilet! I was told by the manager that I looked a little windswept. When I looked in the mirror I could see why. Although my hair looked a little messy my cheeks were nice and rosy….a picture of health.
I got the chance to test the effectiveness of the coat I had purchased a month or so ago when I went for an early morning walk on Thursday. Although I have worn the coat several times since its purchase and some of those times in the rain, Thursday’s walk was a real test. Rain had been forecast to fall at around four o’clock but by the time I started out a couple of hours later it had stopped. I took the long route on my way to the coastal road and the sky to the west looked very menacing, so dark the clouds were almost black in colour and then I heard the rumble of thunder out toward the sea. To the east and south it was slightly brighter, that is the clouds were a lighter shade of grey! By the time I had reached the sea front it had begun to rain and it appeared I was walking in the same direction to where it was falling. It got heavier and heavier as I went along. Out to sea the horizon had almost faded into the sky and visibility was cut down so much the town of Blackpool, normally visible across the bay twenty miles away was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t so much the rain that was the problem but the persistent wind blowing on-shore. The scene looked pretty much like that shown in the picture, water, water, everywhere..
The coat stood the test as expected which was just as well else I’d have been soaked through. On my chosen route there was nowhere to take refuge, nowhere for respite and to be honest I really didn’t wish to stop walking anyway. I doubt I will deliberately start my walks during a heavy downpour but it is nice to know that if I get caught out in a storm I can have the assurance of staying dry, at least under my coat. My feet didn’t fare so well, though not soaking wet they did get wet. I had been in two minds as to whether I should have worn my boots but chose my trainers instead. I think I should have worn the boots! Thursday did however turn bright and warm with wall to wall blue skies after lunch.
I am not sure why cardigans are so named, perhaps a connection to Cardiganshire, Wales in the UK?
Cardiganshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyhow I got to wearing one such garment on Tuesday afternoon as the day became decidedly cool in the wind at around 15 or 16 deg C. Monday had been quite warm at around 20 deg C but it appeared we were going to have a couple of days with lower temperatures. It is as though we are at the end of September rather than the end of August. Knowing the UK weather it could change again to warmer conditions in a few day’s time. I had been out for an early morning walk when it was even cooler at 13 deg and felt cooler still because of the wind blowing from the north west. I didn’t mind that as I was suitably attired. The humidity had dropped down a few pegs too so I didn’t end up sticky and uncomfortable by the time I had returned home. When I did return home I brought with me a few apples I had picked from a tree growing wild near the footpath on public land, a tree I had not seen bearing fruit in the past. That was probably due to my not passing by the tree before when it was bearing fruit. E and I spent a little time in the rear garden and we planted the other Fan Palm in the long flowerbed.
We are still waiting for the shrub behind it and to the right to finally shed its leaves (it is deciduous) so we can plant the Olearia shrub in it’s place. Meanwhile it stands lonely in a pot..
The removed plant will be planted elsewhere at the same time. It is getting cool enough for me to be getting on with some of the outdoor projects now so watch this space. After lunch I mowed the lawn for the first time since I spread the lawn weed killer. There may not be many more times I need to cut the lawn this year but it isn’t a problem to cut it, taking only twenty minutes.
Friday, although turning brighter during the afternoon with much sunshine it remained in a state of threatening showery moments. It was to turn to full-on rain later, just as it had been first thing in the morning. I was up very early at five-thirty and not because I couldn’t sleep, no, I had a very good five solid hours and awoke amazingly refreshed. The window was ajar as I usually keep it through the night and I could feel the cool air through the gap. There are two windows in the room but one is seldom opened as enough fresh air can be had with just the one open. The wind was high and that remained the same throughout the day making it feel much cooler than the 21 deg C it was. It was far less than that at 13 deg C when I arose with the intention of going for a walk before breakfast. Wet, cool and windy required wrapping up well and I gave my new boots their first outing too since I had purchased them a couple of weeks earlier. I bought them to use during the colder and wetter months of the year but it was still Summer though it felt more like Autumn. I kept the walk short, only venturing out for three miles this time. I had walked twice that distance on Wednesday but I had to keep it short as I was expecting the delivery of the washing-line pole I had ordered the previous day. Soon after I had set off around seven o’clock I received a text message letting me know it was on its way. We have received articles as early as six-thirty in the morning in the past though I didn’t expect this one to arrive until early afternoon. I was back home in plenty of time for its arrival at noon. It had been just as well I was wearing suitable attire because of the driving wind a heavy rain which fell as I walked along the coastal road. A guy was running ahead of me and we were the only two braving the elements at that time. Passing motorists must have thought us mad but who cares? Fresh air and exercise won the day for us. Now all I need is another break in the weather so that I can install the pole, if not I’ll get wet walking instead.
Up early on a wet and windy August Thursday morning ready to venture out for a walk. One banana later I was outside in the weather. Though it was wet and windy it was warm, though when in the wind it felt that much cooler. I ate breakfast on my return home because it was still early enough to do that. On some occasions I skip breakfast if I am late getting back home and have an early lunch instead. E was still sitting at the breakfast table when I returned. She seldom asks how far I walked but I usually tell her anyway. It had been a short walk of just over four miles but it felt as if I had walked twice the distance because of the wind. On the outward journey I had taken a more sheltered route in the built-up areas through the town but on my return leg I walked along the promenade which is totally exposed to the west. The wind was blowing from the south-west and therefore directly in my face. I could have taken the coastal road instead as it would have made little difference. Between the promenade and the coastal road a quarter-mile away there is almost nothing of height, lake and gardens is all. I shudder to think what it would have been like for anyone out running but there weren’t any runners to be seen. Fair weather runners? I think not for I never used to deliberately run in the wind in exposed places either. I had work to do in the afternoon and the weather was to change by then, that is it would stop raining. I have been building the column for the gate at the side of the house in the rear garden and the weather has been fine whilst doing it. This is how far I got with it the day before…(centre in both pictures)
I gave up on the idea of working on the column in the afternoon for two reasons, one I was feeling tired and two it was still very windy though the rain had stopped. At the side of the house where the work is being carried out it was very windy indeed with gusts of around 35 mph, far too uncomfortable to be working in especially as there is no hurry to finish the job. Hopefully though by the time you read this it will be completed.