Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For a few days we had warm, hot, humid and sunny weather beginning on Sunday last week and for the first time since I can remember I was glad I wasn’t working in my capacity as an electrician. It always seemed to me that when the weather was like this I would be doing work of a heavier nature and sweating profusely in the process which made me feel very uncomfortable. When people asked me if I didn’t like the hot weather I would tell them that I am an Anglo-Saxon and not used to it! I was joking of course but I had a point, I wasn’t raised in a hot climate and whenever I visit hot countries I spend a lot of the time in the water! I do prefer it to be cooler, always have but hot weather is fine for a little while especially if I can spend time in the shade with a cooling breeze blowing. When I go out walking I try to do it as early as I can if it is too hot and sticky. As for work, well I try to avoid doing anything that will make me break out in a sweat when the weather is too oppressive. Now that I am (more or less) retired I can please myself. Some things need doing though like mowing the lawn which I did on Monday morning. As the mower is petrol-driven it is not that difficult to push about but even so, if it is very warm and humid it can be uncomfortable. I went for another walk but stayed within the confines of the town, it was too warm to wander where I might like to in case I needed to refresh myself or pay a visit to the little girl’s room too. I have discovered that under certain circumstances regarding the weather I tend to need the bathroom more often. It is a humidity thing…. work it out for yourself. So in the afternoon E and I spent much of the time on the patio once more. It was too warm and humid to do anything else. The weekend was forecast to be much cooler and I couldn’t wait. E however would like it to be hot all of the time. I think she would soon tire of it though despite what she says.
Sunny Sunday sunshine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was wondering if E would eventually make it downstairs before ten o’clock as she was now on crutches for a few days to allow her foot to heal and that made it difficult to get about. Anyway she did manage and was soon eating breakfast though I had to take it to the table for her. An hour later I went out for a late morning walk. It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze as I walked along the seafront. Surprisingly there were not many people about, at least at that place and time. I walked back toward the town centre but only because I needed the bathroom! The town centre was busy as usual, just like any other day of the week. I remember a time when Sundays were held as sacred, a day for resting, a sabbath. It was unheard of for anyone to work on a Sunday except if it was necessary as in the case of police, fire and hospital staff for instance. How times have changed and that because of a non-believing secular society. Anyway a short walk of four miles saw me back home. I found E had taken up residence on the patio to sit in the sun with her feet up. I made a couple of drinks and joined her though I sat in the shade. Eventually it was lunchtime, well one-thirty, and rather than have her struggle back indoors I prepared lunch and we sat outside to eat it. Unfortunately she did have to go indoors to the bathroom after a while whilst I collected a mattress for her to lie upon when she returned. It was pleasant to sit outside and we stayed there for a couple of hours when we had visitors call. It was our eldest son and granddaughter and they stayed for an hour or so until it was time for her bed. As she is only five and a half that means six-thirty. We returned indoors for an evening meal. Monday promised to be even better but I would be doing some work for a change instead of just sitting around on the patio.
The last couple of days proved to be a complete change from the warm even hot days preceding and in fact have been quite cool. The cooling effect was due mainly to the high winds though the temperature had dropped dramatically too. Not ideal for relaxing in the garden or even working in the garden. I had been feeling drained with a lack of enthusiasm for any activity. I didn’t even take a walk because of the wind and the rain too, yes we finally got the rain we were hoping for. Anyway it was mainly the wind which kept me indoors. That was Friday and Saturday and it looked as if Sunday was going to follow suit. The day started dull and windy though any rain that fell was very slight indeed, so much so it was barely there. The forecast was promising as far as it promised to be sunny later in the day. It was only about 14 deg C throughout the morning with a little wind so I went out for a walk wearing a lightweight jacket, this one which I had purchased a couple of weeks ago
It looks like a raincoat but it isn’t designed for wet weather, it is more just a coat for use in the cool evenings of the warmer months of the year. It is very lightweight and comfortable to wear and it keeps the wind at bay if it isn’t too windy. I walked into the town centre and on the way saw an electrician acquaintance of mine working in an empty shop. Naturally I stopped for a chat with him before moving on. There is an open space named Princess Diana Gardens which is in front of the local civic buildings and theatre/arts centre and there was an army brass band playing there. Many folk were sitting on the benches listening and I found a seat and stayed listening too.
Believe it or not the band were standing in the circular area above the fountains you see in the picture. Of course the fountains were not switched on! Unfortunately I had missed much of the music but was still able to hear the last twenty minutes of the performance. The weekend had been dedicated to the armed forces with celebrations in Liverpool as well as Southport. Once the music was over I continued with my walk, returning home after two hours. After one o’clock the day brightened up but it wasn’t until three-thirty that E and I managed to squeeze in some relaxation on the patio in the now bright sunshine. It was still a little breezy though and the temperature hadn’t risen much.
At last we have some cool and refreshing weather after days of unbearable heat and humidity. I write this on Thursday morning at home with the fresh air wafting in through the open windows. Again I had slept upon the bed rather than in it because of the high overnight temperature and humidity but perhaps this evening I will be able to have the duvet cover me! Enough of that. I woke early enough to have breakfast but fell asleep again and was late getting up. It was ten-thirty and I allowed myself only a fruit drink until lunch. I had a job to do at home, one of those things we promise to do but keep putting off. I say ‘we’ but in this case it was an electrical job which of course not everyone would do anyway unless they had the knowledge. At home we have a large hot water storage cylinder where the water is heated either by the immersion heater or indirectly by an internal coil through which hot water heated by the boiler circulates. Most of the time we have the boiler heat the cylinder. Our boiler is in a room in the cellar and the cylinder is two floors above but not directly above. This means the circulation pipes are long and have to be well insulated, which they are. The boiler ‘knows’ when to heat up the circulating water because there is a thermostat exactly as the one shown above on the cylinder to send that signal when necessary. Now then, for some time the cylinder water temperature has been excessively hot which isn’t a problem in itself but can be hazardous if we are not aware of it. The thermostat was positioned too low on the cylinder and set at too high a setting. The water at the bottom of the cylinder was being monitored rather than that higher up the cylinder which is the normal way. I had to replace the supply cable to allow the thermostat to be re-positioned. Not a big job but a little awkward and I had it done in a half-hour. The benefits resulting from such a simple job are well worth the short time it took to do it so I wonder why it took so long for me to get around to it!
I just want it to be fresh and a little cooler but as I write this on Monday it appears we have a couple of more days of really hot weather to endure yet. I have little doubt it will get hot again within the next couple of months but I need respite. I’ve said it before and I say it again, I do not like hot and humid weather except perhaps if I have a sea or an ocean to dive into. well there is a sea close-by to where I live, the Irish Sea but it is hardly a sea I want to go swimming in as it is too cold for the most part.
A map of the Irish Sea. Major ports shown in red; freight-only ports shown in blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The beach we have here is nothing like the ones found in tropical places though there is plenty of sand! When the tide turns we have to walk a mile or more if we wish to reach the water and when the tide turns again we have to move quickly or get trapped on a sandbank. There are channels, quicksand and mud to contend with in certain parts too. Further along the coast people have lost their lives through ignorance or refusal to respond to the warnings. No, the waters I like to dive into cannot be found hereabouts though there are many beaches round the Irish Sea which are nice, and safe too. As I haven’t taken a beach holiday for many years and am unlikely to in the foreseeable future I have to cool off in other ways. It doesn’t help though when I take a walk somewhere and get all hot and sticky in the process. Funny thing is it seems only to be a problem once I stop. Again I went for an even longer walk today (Monday) and ended up all hot and bothered as they say. I did cool off soon enough though once I was indoors and had taken a cool drink of water. I do take water with me whenever I go walking, even in the cooler months I put a bottle in my bag. It was a week since I did any electrical work and that turned out to be something different to what I had expected. I had been asked to check out a power outlet which wasn’t working but wasn’t told that it had been that way for a long time. I discovered that myself when investigating the fault. A single outlet in a room above their kitchen was the one I had been asked to check but in fact none of the kitchen outlets were working either as they were all on the same circuit. However in order to resolve the problem it would require the floor boards above the kitchen to be lifted. Now then, there was a train set layout covering most of that floor with furniture covering the rest. Below all of that was a carpet of course. They weren’t prepared to put up with the upset to have the work done so I was paid for my time, the minimum charge I levy for any job. In any event I wouldn’t have taken on the work anyway it being more suited for a younger person to do. Well after all I am no spring chicken now! In this heat who wants to be doing anything anyway?
It was very warm yesterday, that is Saturday 17 th as I write this but today was even hotter and may be hotter still on Monday. Summer certainly has arrived but during the month of May we did see plenty of warm and sunny days too. By the time you are reading this the weather here in the UK has probably turned fresher but still warm. Nice as it may be for many I am not so happy, it’s just too oppressive. I suppose though it is better than sub-zero temperatures and icy-cold winds. Winter is fine with me, in fact all the seasons are fine, it all depends on attitude. It really doesn’t matter anyway as we cannot change a thing. All we can ever do is put up with it or move elsewhere. E had gone out for the day around seven in the morning and I had a day all to myself. After breakfast I took a leisurely walk into town via the back streets and was going to return via the sea front but at the last-minute decided to walk back along the main street, Lord Street (Southport) and then along Rotten Row to once again admire the flowerbeds there. The route into town was quiet as I had expected but once in town everything changed and there were people everywhere. I do not like being in crowds of people so my route back was on the opposite side of the road to the shops. If you know Southport you will know that shops only occupy one side of the main street. This shot was taken by myself about ten to twelve years ago one very early bright and sunny Sunday morning in Spring. The picture is of Lord Street showing the view in the opposite direction to my home. I took many pictures on that day and as it was so early there were hardly any folk around. Later in the morning the streets would begin to fill with people. I don’t know why people flock to towns when it is warm and sunny but suppose it is to be part of the ‘scene’. I was out for a walk but never visit the town centre shops unless my journey is solely to buy something. I simply walk through otherwise as I was doing on Sunday. I was away from home for two hours and it was now just after twelve and roasting hot! There was nowhere to escape the heat except to remain in the cellar where one or two of the rooms never get warm but who wants to spend all day in the cellar? I sat out on the patio under the parasol for a while until it was time for lunch at two o’clock.It was after three before I returned outdoors but the day was now at its hottest! It remained hot and sticky until well into the evening. I did a little gardening later in the afternoon but it really was only a little, it was too hot to do much else. What a scorcher!
Sheep in the shade. On the road from High Forest Farm to Clough Head. It was an extremely hot and humid day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is the same every year, I (we) moan about the dreary dull wet days of winter and when it gets hot and sunny I do the same, never satisfied. When it is cool (and dry if I’m outdoors) I can get on with the various jobs that need doing and special jobs I call my projects but once it gets too warm and humid I don’t feel much like doing anything. So it was on Saturday. I had slept in a little longer than usual but that was due to my not getting off to sleep sooner. I hadn’t done much on Friday so wasn’t as tired as I might have been. There wasn’t any reason for me to get up early anyway. By the time I arrived downstairs it was already bright, sunny and warm. I had a little something to eat and went out on to the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I had it in mind to do a little gardening but wasn’t in a hurry to start. In fact it wasn’t until mid-afternoon before I did anything. E went to her monthly meeting at one o’clock and I wanted to eat lunch before doing any work but it was too early to eat. I went back to the patio and lay down for an hour then had lunch. The work I wanted to do in the front garden was to pluck out weeds, plant a small holly bush in the mound, one that had been growing in a pot but needed putting in the ground and then to water the garden too. It was very hot in the front garden as there is no shade from the sun at all in the afternoon. Once I had finished there it was into the rear garden to water the plants there and again there was little or no shade there either! It’s all too much like hard work in the summer when all I want to do is relax. It isn’t that I don’t want to work but the heat and humidity make it so uncomfortable, for me anyway. E arrived back home around four-thirty and we both spent an hour on the patio, she to lie down, me to just sit this time and chat. She would be off again very early in the morning to spend the day at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham to a food festival being held there. It is an annual event she and a couple of others attend. I would have to either go somewhere or sit it out at home trying to relax in the heat. Either way it would be uncomfortable for me. Roll on the cooler weather!
It’s just so tiring eating all day, especially in this heat!!! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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.
It was unusual for me to have had a dream on Sunday night, nothing to do with the day of course but for some time now I don’t recall having had a dream. Perhaps it was because I had written a post about dreams earlier in the day and had reminded myself about things. The very short dream I had involved an old friend or two, a bar, two strangers and a dark confined place in which it all took place. The barmaid was a friend who had moved out of the area a few years ago and has since stopped communicating. She never was a barmaid but worked as a safety officer for a large biscuit manufacturer so why she was serving drinks I have no idea. The other friend who has also moved away was socialising with me in the dream. We often socialised in the short time we knew each other, about six or seven years but she too has stopped communicating. In the dream she had put on some weight whereas she had been tall and slim. Behind us in the cramped space were two strangers who in the dream seemed not to be. The male was trying to attract my attention to his friend or partner’s face which appeared to have something wrong with it though I hadn’t noticed. On my right higher up and sitting on a bench were two more people who spoke with me but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. The rear of the bar was dark and empty, devoid of anything tangible. That was it, the end of the dream.
I had planned to walk into town early the following morning so I retired to bed early too but couldn’t drop off to sleep for some time. It had been very windy for a few days and was to continue that way for another day. I dislike the wind but was determined to take the walk anyway as the plan was to buy some toiletries. I wanted to walk all the way there and back simply for the exercise which is what I did. There was no hurry, I had no appointments and had nothing to do at home that I was in the mood to be doing so I took my time. I took the more sheltered route to keep out of the wind as much as possible by walking the back streets. I like walking there because I take in the scenery, the buildings (I like architecture) and also the private gardens along the way to admire the plants. Surprisingly I was only away from home for an hour and a half.
‘I’ve had to book my appointment two weeks in advance, so we’ll both sit here until I feel unwell.’
I was sitting in the lounge when the house phone rang but I didn’t answer it. If it was for work they would call my mobile phone. Well my mobile phone rang a minute later and it was the doctor’s surgery asking if I would like to receive a vaccination against shingles. At first I declined but then changed my mind and accepted the offer. It is free anyway. I would receive it late in the afternoon. I only accepted the offer because as a child I had contracted chickenpox and could therefore be at risk. The virus which causes chickenpox can lay dormant deep in the nervous system for years and if it re-emerges can cause shingles. The vaccine is offered to adults over the age of fifty……………I just squeezed in………Ahem…….(I was born in 1945)
Then I received a call for my electrical services despite my still not advertising! It was a small job I would do on Thursday.
It Was High Time to Escape (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We have had some very unusual weather for this time of year over the past couple of days (Tue-Wed) that you could be forgiven for thinking it was Autumn already. I had been kind of house-bound yesterday (Tuesday) because it was so bad, not just because of the very high winds but the rain that accompanied it too. Leaves have been blown off the trees and today I have been around the garden collecting them and putting them in the wheelie bin just as I have to do in Autumn. At least I have been able to escape the confines of the house, I even went out this morning to do an electrical job with the prospect of another in the near future. It was great to be able to get away from the house for a while. Believe it or not it has been sunny all day so far with hardly a cloud in the sky but unfortunately the wind is still high at around 20 mph. Yesterday it had been peaking at around 50 mph! Either speed isn’t really pleasant to be out in as far as I am concerned. I hate the wind once it passes about 10 mph. Our road was taken over in late January by builders’ vehicles and even right now as I write this the situation remains the same, every day we have a dozen or more vans are parked up and down the road. It is all due to the refurbishment of a property two doors away. I have to say in fairness that the house has been gutted completely and rebuilt from the inside though. A new roof, a new garage, new windows, outhouses in the rear refurbished too but that is only the decor and structural work, new kitchen and bathrooms, built-in bedroom furniture, new electrics and plumbing too all take time to complete. There will be carpets to lay too no doubt. The work started in Winter but the way things are going it could be Autumn before the new owners can settle in. At this moment not much has been done in the surrounding plot and if the weather doesn’t behave itself things might slow to a stop. There always seems to be work being done on one house or another around here. It would be great if we could all have the work done at the same time but then it would be impossible to drive up the street!
The Forth Road Bridge The unusual sight of the bridge devoid of all traffic because of severe weather conditions. When there is a strong wind blowing motorcycles and high sided vehicles are not permitted to cross, but today conditions were considered to be dangerous to all traffic and the bridge was closed for most of the day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been confined to staying in the house today, that is Tuesday 6th as I write this and all because of the weather. I did venture outside a few moments ago in order to lower and remove the flag because of the high gusty winds we are presently experiencing. Gusts of up to 50 mph make being outside a bit of a struggle to walk about in and as for the flag, well the top speed the wind reaches before we need to take it down is 35 mph as recommended by the supplier of both the pole and flag. It is unusual for it to be so windy at this time of year hereabouts but as we all know, the weather has changed a lot for each of us during the last few years. We cannot complain about the current weather conditions after the recent warm long spells we’ve had, that too unusual. Anyway as I am not presently doing any electrical work there is no real need to be going anywhere except for walks, appointments and social activities and I have little of those just now. My social life is limited to the occasional visit to the pub these days. Who wants to be out in the wind anyway? The weather doesn’t prevent me from going to the pub of course as if it is so bad I drive there. I don’t have to worry about drinking alcohol because I stopped drinking alcohol a few years ago. I prefer to walk to the pub though, except when the wind is high. I feel like a hermit, a recluse, hiding away from the world when I stay at home with nothing to do but be that as it may I often stay at home when the weather is good and I have things to do. Strange person I am. It’s a little like a catch twenty-two situation with me, whatever I do I am sometimes uncomfortable doing it! If I remain at home I feel I want to go out and if I go out I feel I want to be at home. how silly is that? Definitely a strange person. Maybe I ought to be confined?…….Just thinking. Junk mail, unsolicited phone calls make being at home annoying for me. at least when I am out I can leave the phone at home if I please. Perhaps I take things too seriously and should chill out a little but I sure don’t want to do that out and about in the wind!
Things, they just happen. On Thursday I was feeling a little fed-up with my lot, not that my lot is that bad but it could be better. Perhaps you will have read yesterday’s post and seen the different things that can happen in any one day. I wake up in the morning often wondering what new set of obstacles I will face during the day. Every day there is usually something that requires my attention and that is the subject of this post in a way. The weather though nice has become more of a burden to me because I don’t like it too hot and especially don’t like high humidity and I will wager many folk don’t like the humidity being high either. So the weather affects me more than I would like to admit and on Thursday things got to me. I felt worn-out and put upon, too many things to cope with and hot humid weather making it feel worse, or rather me feeling worse. I hadn’t done much electrical work in the previous couple of months so I decided to place a stop on my advert with a view to leave it that way for a couple of months. Maybe it was just the weather, maybe it was just that I felt I’d had enough of work, maybe too many things happen at once sometimes, maybe it was a combination of all those things but I somehow felt better after I had done it. However, a lady did call and asked if I could do a job for her elderly mother, simply replace a couple of light fittings. I decided to do it the following morning. So even when I stop working I end up working! Did I say simple? It turned out quite the opposite, conduit boxes in the ceiling packed with wiring, a concrete ceiling (an apartment block) and two awkward fittings by design. So the work took me longer than expected but I was paid more for my effort. Friday turned out warmer and more humid than the previous days but the apartment was cool inside. More watering of the garden was about all that I did in the afternoon, it was too humid and warm to do anything else.
Today as you read this and depending on the time the small lounge project will be almost complete. Today the furniture arrives, yesterday the carpet hopefully will have been laid and a couple of days earlier the curtains should have been fitted. I am writing this on Friday evening (5th) having had to spend the last two days for the most part at home attending to the needs of the guys who tiled over the hearth yesterday and today and the gas fitter who installed the new fire. Here is the finished result…..
A vast difference and improvement I think you’ll agree. I will post pictures of the whole room in a forthcoming post. I will say that the fire being rated at 4.5 Kw produces far and above the power needed to heat the room. I doubt it will ever be used at the highest settings though it will provide rapid heating of the room should it be necessary. I suppose gas fires in general don’t differ much in capacity so their level of use will be determined by the size of the rooms in which they are installed. I am well-pleased with the new look fireplace though. It was a little after two-thirty when I got the chance to get out of the house. I had to post the registration document to the manufacturer for guarantee purposes so I had to visit the Post Office for a stamp as I hadn’t any left. Another bright, warm and sunny day made the walk very pleasant and once I had posted the document I took a walk down toward the beach and my local pub. I’d had a snack at home so it was more for a soft drink and to meet anyone who might be there. A couple were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. It was a new friend whom I hadn’t seen for three months. She had been out walking for a few hours in town and was now tired. They remained long enough for a short chat then left for home. I went into the pub for my drink and saw a few people in there before returning home myself not long after. When I got home I spent some time on the patio before giving the garden plants another showering with the hose pipe. That’s the way it goes when it doesn’t rain for days on end.
Duck! Rabbit, Duck! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I really felt terrible on Friday, weary, tired and a little fed-up with things but it was basically caused by fatigue, overwork, all work and no play if you prefer. I went to bed early on Friday and had some quality sleep. I woke up feeling completely different from the way I had done the previous day. I had determined that the weekend was going to be work-free and indeed on Saturday morning I couldn’t do any work anyway, in the garden that is, as it was raining. It was ceaseless and lasted the whole morning. Great if you are a duck and we often see ducks in our neighbour’s pond but none were about on Saturday. Around one-thirty the sun began to poke through the clouds and the weather improved minute by minute until around two-thirty when it could improve no more! The afternoon became bright and sunny in complete contrast to the morning. I wanted to get out into the garden and relax but it didn’t happen. I took the van to Dobbies and purchased ten more trees and shrubs, I say trees but three are actually tall shrubs I suppose rather than trees. Anyway I returned home and planted them out, one in the Plot area, two in the west wall bed and the remaining seven in various places in the long flowerbed. I was then able to sit on the patio for a short time until I saw another bluebell appearing in The Mound! I had to remove it……them and then I began to see others in different places which I set about removing. What annoyed me more than having again to dig them out was that one group were growing beneath a shrub I had planted in The Mound eighteen months ago. I had to gently remove the shrub to get at them. The sad part is that I know there will be more to remove yet. In one or two places I have not been able to remove the bulbs because they are so deep beneath tree roots. In those cases all I can do is pluck them back to prevent them growing above the soil. The grass needed cutting again but that would have to wait until at least Sunday as it was too wet to cut on Saturday and I’d had enough!