Don’t you just love Mondays? Monday started showery though it was quite mild with little in the way of wind. My scheduled electrical job was to check for an intermittent fault on a distribution board in an out-house (a built-on extension to the main building) and to replace two floodlights on the outside walls of that extension. It was dry when I arrived but soon after opening my toolbox it began to rain. However, because the forecast was for showers I expected the rain to stop after a few minutes, and it did but that was the pattern for the next hour or so. By noon the sun was ‘cracking the flags (paving stones)’ as we say but long before then I had finished the work. The reason for the distribution panel’s RCD tripping intermittently was due to one of the old floodlights which had become detached from the wall. It was hanging by the electrical cable leaving the connection box exposed to the elements. I removed it and fitted the new one which had been supplied by the customer. Her son had purchased two replacement tungsten-halogen fittings and had given them to her. I left setting it up until after the second floodlight had been installed. I set the controls on the first floodlight and it worked perfectly but when I did the same to the second light it wouldn’t switch off. The lady and I waited for quite some time for the light to ‘settle down’ as sometimes they can be quite temperamental when first switched on. This unit just didn’t want to know! The lady asked if I could simply buy a new one instead. She opted for me to purchase an LED version so I drove off to purchase one. The picture shows the same model.I was away from the house for almost a half-hour and on my return I saw that the floodlight had finally switched itself off! As I had set it up for automatic night-time switching the lady asked if I could leave it and see if indeed it was now going to behave itself. She sent me a text message later to let me know everything worked fine. I didn’t bother returning the newly purchased light as either she might find the light is faulty or someone else might want one. With the connection box included the price was under £25 so it will remain as van stock for the time being. I drove off to view another job and whilst doing so a lady I had been to see the previous week regarding replacing her outside wall lantern called to let me know she had purchased the replacement. It was in the next township but as the weather had now turned out for the better I took the opportunity to go and replace it for her. By now it was one-thirty and beyond my lunchtime. I didn’t get lunch until almost two-thirty. It happens quite often. My little run about paid well anyway so I was happy.
Sunset over Southport, UK, in July 2006. Note the interesting cloud formations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Haven’t we been enjoying good weather these last few weeks? Okay I know some have had some cold and windy weather but generally speaking the UK has fared quite well considering it is now Autumn. For a few hours on Sunday we had here in Southport sunshine and blue skies, especially during the afternoon, so much so that I actually sat out in it. The Sun‘s rays were still strong and penetrating and could easily burn unprotected skin if out in it for a long time. There was little in the way of a breeze but when the wind did put in an appearance it was warm. Later in the day clouds rolled in and we had rain, in fact rain was the forecast for the following two days after which it might turn sunny once more. I doubt there will be more opportunities to sit in the sun from now on unless heavier and warmer clothes are worn. Aside from being in the garden or out at work I haven’t been out much lately, not even for walks. Walking is nice but is very unproductive too. I have simply been far too busy to spend time walking and any walking has been done on my treadmill though when I get on that machine I usually end up running! As the weather gets more wet and windy I think I’ll be using the treadmill more often. I have taken my advert out of the newspaper for two weeks so that I might have more time to myself though I won’t be idle if I can help it. I might get to do some of that walking outdoors if the weather permits. As I write this on Sunday evening I have scheduled electrical work to do in the week ahead so I won’t have every day to myself anyway and there’s work to do in the gardens.
Door furniture, old and new The hinge and lock say craftsman, the padlock, B&Q. Detail on the old door in a church outbuilding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What a lovely day Sunday was, warm, dry and sunny practically all day long. There was only the slightest of a breeze, more a zephyr most of the time. I spent quite a few hours outside enjoying it. The only part of the garden that was damp was the grass and that only because of dew. The artificial grass on the patio was naturally also damp too. Almost two weeks ago saw the Equinox marking the beginning of Autumn but Autumn proper seemed far off on Sunday. It felt more like Summer. The week ahead looked promising too but I knew at this time of year it can suddenly turned wet, windy and cold. I still had some work to do outdoors if the weather could remain dry for me to do it. I had three small areas around the paving slabs I had laid on the Plot which needed filling in with a fine concrete mix and perhaps do some cosmetic work around the base of the new lamp-post using natural stones. There was also one other job I might be able to do sometime during the week but that would need the tower erecting at the front of the building. I had hinted at the possibility of doing this unusual job many months ago but didn’t get around to doing it. On Friday I had paid a visit to a local establishment which services and sells lawnmowers. It is noted for the lawnmower museum they have there ( http://www.lawnmowerworld.co.uk/gallery.php?location=0 ) but apart from their lawnmower business they are also master locksmiths. Part of their shop is dedicated to that trade and they sell all kinds of things to do with locks and door furniture. They also program vehicle keys and lock systems which is why I was there. Recently I’d had a replacement control unit fitted around the steering column of my van and later it was discovered that the key no longer controlled the automatic door locking system though it still works manually. Neither the auto electrician nor the locksmith could resolve the problem which still exists. I can live with operating it manually and I will leave it that way unless I come across a solution. Anyway whilst at the store waiting to see if the locksmith could set things right I noticed that they also sold natural stone (slate) plaques with signage. I made inquiries regarding cost to have one made to size for my needs. It would cost £150 I was told so I agreed to have one made. They told me it would be ready to collect a couple of days hence, perhaps Monday. Now I know you will be wondering what the plaque was for and what was to be written on it. It will read…’Hassle Castle…..1877′ and it is to be fixed to the wall at the front of the house at high level. The house was built in 1877. I mentioned the purchase to my neighbour who thinks the idea highly amusing but liked it. I think the same. I may be able to attach a picture before this is scheduled to be posted but if not I will post one later.
I was supposed to be driving off to the job I had scheduled on Monday morning but it had begun to rain and the forecast was for rain throughout the day. So I stayed at home. The work was to be done outdoors so it would have been difficult if not hazardous to do it especially as it would all be done up a ladder! I called my customer about 70 minutes before my expected arrival but could only leave a message as apparently she was unavailable according to her messaging service. I called back several times during the following hour and a half then gave up. She finally called me wondering why I hadn’t turned up. I explained with the same information you’ve just read. She checked her messages and discovered nothing had been recorded. What was going on? Anyway we made arrangements for me to visit the following day when the weather would be better. I was hoping the lamp-post would be delivered whilst I was at home. E is home much of the time but I couldn’t rely on her being available to sign for the delivery. The problem was not knowing on which day it would arrive but as luck would have it the post was delivered mid-morning. However I was shall we say, ‘indisposed’ and E must have heard the doorbell ring and she came downstairs to answer the door. She had been at the top of the house in her ‘workshop’. I confessed to having not heard the doorbell and had the delivery men come a couple of minutes earlier or later I would have been there to accept the delivery as I was actually on the same floor. That is very typical of many folk’s experiences I’m sure, we wait in for something to arrive and then just for a moment we are indisposed and it arrives! I have a feeling it happens by design! I took the three packages downstairs into the cellar where I began to remove the enormous amount of corrugated cardboard and bubble-wrap surrounding the three main items, the heavy base unit, the pole and accessories and the lamp itself. I discovered they had included a light-sensing economy lamp (fluorescent) in the package. They are designed to switch on from dusk till dawn and of course will remain on throughout the night. It will do for the moment but I am still trying to obtain a part-night sensor/controller and if I do I will replace the lamp with an LED one.
Construction and function of a light emitting diode (LED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At least I won’t have to wait until I obtain a sensor for the light to work. Having unpacked the parts I now know what has to be done. My first task will be to cut off the excess cable near to where the post will be and set it in position with more concrete so that it will emerge beneath the pole when it is fixed to the base. The pole is designed to be fixed using four ‘rawlbolts’. All I need now is for some dry weather……….
Sunday started dull after an overnight soaking but the rain had ceased though it was still cloudy and cool. It wasn’t until noon when the sun finally took over and we had wall-to-wall sunshine for a few hours. It was just about bearable out on the patio for there was a bit of a breeze blowing. More rain was promised for the evening and overnight into Monday. I was hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as the forecast because I had some outside electrical work to do for someone in the next town. If the weather was too bad I would have to reschedule for the following day which promised to be drier and less windy. It’s the way it goes in my line of work though I have to say I tend to do less outside work these days. At the time of writing I am expecting the delivery of the lamp-post I purchased but I am not sure which of the two days it will arrive, Monday or Tuesday. I am eager to know how to secure it to the concrete base I have made. It may be that it requires to be set in a hole in which case I will have to dig out that hole in the concrete. What I have already laid isn’t that thick in-depth so it can be dug out fairly easily and even so I had planned to add to its depth anyway before the post was fitted. There is other work to be done on that project which is to connect into the existing power circuit on the patio. That shouldn’t take long now that I have decided how to arrange things. I was looking at the flag we have flying at the front of the house and it is beginning to wear away at the edge away from the pole. I am not sure how much longer it will b e before it needs replacing but I plan to purchase another soon anyway. As I write I am feeling much better after the two days of enforced rest! I forget sometimes that I should be taking life a little easier but not too much. I think it better to be tired from work rather than be tired of it. Once I get tired of it I will be tired of life itself and I cannot see that being the case for me. Today is a nice day (Sunday), but every day is a nice day in which to live.
I had one small electrical job to do on Monday morning in a local property a mile away but it turned out a little bit more difficult than I or the customer had assumed. I did the work and got back home around eleven-thirty and I really wanted to work in or on the Plot laying the last of the concrete between the newly laid paving slabs on the right of the flowerbed. I wanted to make the most of the fair weather while it lasted. It was a little too early for lunch so I went outside to set everything up and to put in some pieces of wood for shuttering where it would be necessary. It was twelve-thirty when I went indoors for lunch but I was back out again at one ready for work. I mixed a full load and then another half load in the mixer to fill-in the spaces and I had about two spoonfuls of concrete left over. A pretty good guess I thought and better to have that much over rather than being short of the amount. The hardest part for me anyway is the leveling off but that is only because of the grit in the mix. It takes a light handed touch to get it smooth. This is what it looked like on Tuesday..
Once I had finished I covered the area in case of overnight rain though the forecast was for dry weather. I started to clean up and pack everything away, including the mixer and stand which had been left outside for a few days. Any more concrete or mortar, and there would be for the work was not quite complete, would be mixed by hand. At last the major part of the work was finished and I could concentrate on other things. I started the project on 9th August but have not spent all day and every day working on it because of the weather and my other commitments. Considering what I have achieved I think I’ve done well. It has been hard work at times but that’s what drives me forward. Apart from the lamp-post project I have no other major projects in mind to do, at the moment that is!
Sunday 18th September and it is a sunny morning, dry but there is dew covering the grass and stonework is damp. Autumn is almost upon us here in the UK. My Sundays are days of rest but I am the restless type so although I do no real work on Sundays I do find things to occupy myself. Once breakfast was over I went on to the patio with a cup of coffee and sat in the now warm sunshine just pondering. Around eleven-thirty the sun hid itself behind the house and stopped shining onto the patio. It would be hidden from the patio for a couple of hours though continuing to shine on the north side of the (rear) garden. Not the same for the front garden though which remains exposed because it is on the south side of the house. I went indoors and prepared a meal, enough for a couple of days in fact. I make this vegetable and chicken stew occasionally using diced pre-cooked chicken with onions, bell peppers, garlic cloves, carrots and garden peas into which I put vegetable stock. It is delicious even though I say so myself but more importantly it is healthy too. E has been buying fresh pears for some time but she doesn’t eat pears as a rule preferring apples instead whereas I prefer pears.
Though the pears pictured do not have a texture suitable for good eating, scientists at the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia, will combine their fire blight-resistant qualities with other lines possessing traits sought in commercial pear varieties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I don’t know why but she buys unripe fruit so I either have to wait days or, and I prefer them this way, cook them. I don’t know why she doesn’t simply buy canned pears instead but perhaps they are more expensive. So I peeled the pears and cooked them in sugar and water. When they cool off I put them in the fridge and can have some each day. I went outside again after lunch just as the sun began to shine again onto the patio as it swung round to the other side of the house. In the height of summer it shines on the patio far longer. I sat there for a half-hour but then had to return indoors because it went cloudy and the sun’s power was lost. I could feel the now cool air typical of the season. Rain was predicted to fall late evening and into Monday but wouldn’t last long. Monday would be another sunny day. I needed some more dry days in which to work outside and finish the Plot and perhaps the lamp-post project, when the post finally arrives! At this point in time I have been waiting just over two weeks. What I can’t understand is the fact that the supplier informed me by email that the model I wanted was now available and I ordered it immediately. There is no hurry but fine weather cannot last forever.
Raining Pleasure (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well it didn’t know what to do on Saturday, one minute it was raining and the next the sun was shining. These are the kind of days I like the least, I want to know if it is going to be wet or dry, not wet and dry! If I’ve to do any work outdoors it is essential it remains dry unless if wet it doesn’t affect what I am doing. At the moment I need some dry days so that I can get on with my project and it does matter if it is fine weather or not. On Saturday I was employed doing electrical work for someone else and except for installing a replacement outdoor light fitting all the work was indoors. I took the opportunity to do the outside work while it was dry. It didn’t stay dry for long though but long enough for installing the light. I seldom do electrical work at the weekend and will only work on Sunday if I consider it to be an emergency so it was unusual to find me working on a Saturday. The house was full of young women and even the dog was female and they had only moved in a week or so before from an adjacent street and wanted some replacement lights installing. Evidently their former home wasn’t as good as the one they had moved into and the mother told me that they had bought it at a knock-down price because the previous owner had many cats living there. It sounds a ridiculous reason for selling a house at a lower price I think but the buyer wasn’t complaining! I had the work all done by noon and soon found myself back home. I prepared my lunch as E left the house to drive to her once-a-month meeting of her group of hobbyists, in fact the members’ main occupation is entering competitions. I get abandoned and left to my own devices at such times….LOL. The afternoon turned out very bright and sunny, a tempting time to do some outdoor work maybe? Not a chance, I was too tired and it could still rain.
We had been informed to expect high winds during Sunday and especially late that night. Sunday itself was bright and sunny for the best part of the day and yes, the promised wind did arrive making it uncomfortable to be outside if exposed to it. The wind got progressively stronger as evening approached so I made the decision to lower the flag. Now flags are supposed to be taken down overnight, that is according to tradition. I always wanted to have a flag flying outside my house but I wasn’t prepared to take it down every evening. I leave it there the whole 24 hours and only lower it if the weather, that is the wind is too strong. The advised wind speed maximum for flag flying I have been informed is 35 miles per hour after which the flag may be damaged. We were expecting winds of up to 43-45 miles per hour so the flag had to be taken down. I could have raised the flag on Monday morning as the weather had turned dramatically for the better but I left it until the evening. It is unusual to have weather of this kind in the UK during August though as you now know not impossible. Today, Tuesday as I write this in the morning, it is fine and sunny and with a slight breeze, ideal for working in the garden as I had planned. However a short while ago I received a request for my electrical services once again and I will be attending to that shortly. The house I am to work in is not much further than a half mile away and shouldn’t take me long to do. I will then hopefully get some time to start digging in ‘The Plot’ (see previous post). Those plans might have been shipwrecked had other calls come in or if the weather once again turned foul but fortunately they weren’t. I didn’t do too much as I wasn’t feeling up to it but I managed to expose the hidden wall and dig out the ground between what I had laid a few days ago and that hidden wall and fill it will hardcore. You can see the small section I refer to just right of centre in the middle of the picture. The hidden or buried wall runs from the back wall at centre top of the picture to a spot marked by a brick in the centre of what is shown of the small wall at the bottom right of the picture and beneath those large root balls lying on the ground. Click on picture to magnify and again for a real close-up. Those root balls have been there for quite some time waiting for them to dry out so that we can cut them up to give to our neighbour who has an open fire in her lounge. We have often given her logs and the remains of branches we have lopped off overhanging trees and she stores them as fuel for use during the colder months. You might have noticed that some of those roots have already been cut and are lying alongside the wall on the footpath on the left of the picture. All I need now is some materials to mix the concrete and if all goes well I should be able to do that this week. Next job will be building the walls. For some time now I have been considering installing a lamp-post in the corner of the garden behind the ‘mound’. Obviously that will require a cable run and control gear. I already know what I plan to do if and when I get around to it. Watch this space as they say.
Another warm and sunny day on Wednesday though there was thunder and lightning early in the morning. We had a brief downfall of rain then hailstones then more rain but by ten o’clock it had all blown over. I sat outside on the bench I had put in the front of the house yesterday. Where the bench is sited it remains in the shade until around ten-thirty at this time of year and then remains in the light of the sun until early evening. It was nice to just sit in the cool of the shade for a while knowing it would get much warmer as the day wore on. Yesterday the temperature rose to 30 deg C in the rear garden in the shade but today, Wednesday it was to reach a maximum of 27 deg C. Clouds began to roll back in and half of the sky turned very dark as they covered the sun. I had spent a little time in the morning on Tuesday pulling out the montbretia stems and bulbs from the flowerbed adjacent to the patio (to the left in the first picture) while it was cool enough to do so. I decided I would continue cutting back and finally dig out the sprawling shrub through which they had been growing while the temperature was still quite low. It took a couple of hours to get it out and all its offshoots and chop them up so they could be placed in the green waste bin. The next job was to move slightly to its left the fan palm I had planted in the same bed for it would have more room now that the shrub had gone. I had to be careful not to disturb it too much so what I did was to dig a space to one side of it then using the back of the spade dug into the soil on the opposite side and gently pushed it sideways. I only wanted to move it about ten centimetres. That done I began to dig out the soil and filter it until I had done enough to be able to lay a long slab of natural stone which will become a small path. I laid that in place. It will enable easier access to the rear of the bed for maintenance later. It was time for lunch and after I had eaten I drove to the garden centre and purchased the three large plants I had in mind to put into the bed. I will purchase the smaller plants to populate the remaining spaces when the bulk of the work is done. I managed to place two of the large plants in the bed where I had already filtered the soil. They are the two against the wall on the left in the above picture, the other will be planted later and is shown in the lower picture. Click on pictures to magnify.I am undecided at this time whether to leave the fern but it will add some softness to the area if I keep it. We have a few ferns in the rear garden. I love them but unfortunately they are deciduous and die back for the winter. The fan palm is shown against the wall in the picture second from the right. The long slab of stone is unfortunately covered by filtered soil in the picture but it lies between the wall and the large stone slab nearest the centre in the foreground. By now it was four o’clock! My mobile phone rang and it was someone asking for my electrical services. I arranged to do the work on Thursday morning for I had to be back home at one. The joiner had informed me that the door he had ordered for our top room was now available and he would call at one o’clock to fit it. As E would be out shopping with her mom I had to become available instead. It meant I would probably go no further with the gardening work until Friday at the earliest. A day off might be just what I needed but it might mean that some of the electrical work would have to be done on Friday too. Even though my advert wasn’t published this Wednesday I still got some work!
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.
When I awoke on Sunday morning it was still only a little after five o’clock so having done what I needed to I returned to bed for a while. Trouble was I remained awake until I finally got out of bed an hour later. It was going to be the day for changing the bed linen I decided so off came the sheets and duvet and pillow covers and on went the clean linen. As it was around six o’clock it was light outside and had been for a couple of hours but the sky was overcast. I remember seeing the weather forecast the day before which promised warmer and sunnier times. Would it change as the day wore on? I took a shower and returned to my room to dress before getting downstairs just before eight o’clock for breakfast. It was still overcast but the sun was making an attempt to push through the clouds. I ventured outside after I had placed the soiled bedclothes into the washing machine to see how warm it was. Well it wasn’t that warm and the breeze made it seem even cooler. I wanted to go for a walk but decided to wait a while hoping the weather would improve. I have often found that if I go out for a walk in the summer early in the day by the time I get back home it is far warmer than when I left. I might therefore have to remove the cardigan or lightweight coat because it has gotten too uncomfortable in the heat! It was after two o’clock and after lunch before I finally went for the walk, needing only a lightweight top, much more pleasant that way. The weather had finally improved as promised, the sky was beginning to lose its clouds and it was getting warmer in the bright sunshine. A slight breeze still blew but it made the afternoon even more pleasant. I hadn’t expected to meet anyone on my travels but as is often the case I did. Now one of my next-door neighbours, a single middle-aged guy, I hardly ever see. My other next-door neighbour, an older lady than myself and her son, I see and speak with quite often. Well who should I see but the guy from next-door out walking with his dog. We were going in opposite directions but he said hello and asked how I was before continuing on his way. A little later I met a young guy I know from visiting the pub and that is where he was going but he did stop to chat with me for a few minutes. It is almost impossible for me to go anywhere local and expect not to bump into somebody I know. By the time I had returned home there were almost no clouds to be seen, just full sunshine. I spent an hour or so out on the patio to take advantage whilst I could.
I was never much of a fan of the group Wet, Wet, Wet and neither the weather their name reflects. It’s not that I mind it so much when it is raining, I don’t, as long as it doesn’t last too long. Just as we had some lovely days, even weeks of warm sunny times we are now going through a hopefully short period of rain. As I write this on Wednesday morning it is raining and has done for a few days on and off. As far as the forecast is concerned we might not see much of the Sun for perhaps another week. It is the UK however after all so this type of weather isn’t really unusual but if it remains too wet for too long it can be depressing. All outdoor work has to cease which can be inconvenient, especially when gardening jobs like mowing the lawn is necessary or if building work and repairs are needed. In this respect we don’t need to mow the lawn for a few days but there is a leaking corner on one of the garage roofs. I have known about that leak for months but because I had other pressing things to do I effected a temporary repair by covering the area with a heavy-duty pvc weighted-down sheet. It is unlikely to leak whilst that is in place but it does need a permanent repair at some point. I had to walk into the village a short time ago. I could have taken my vehicle but the village is less than a half-mile away so I walked there as I usually do. I needed some fresh vegetables for E hadn’t bought enough when doing the weekly shop. She is sometimes inconsistent in what she purchases and occasionally we run out of some things. Strangely though she often buys in things we don’t really need, things we already have plenty of, especially tinned stuff. I am struggling at the moment as I have little to do other than planned work which I am reluctant to start just now. I guess I am going through a lazy phase, a can’t be bothered phase, something I do from time to time. I need something but I am not always sure what that is. All I do know is that it is wet, wet, wet and I am not in the wet mood.
Over a week ago we passed the half-way point in the year, the Summer Solstice also called midsummer’s day on or around 21/22 June. It is a bit of a misnomer to call it Mid-Summer for as far as the weather is concerned the height of summer happens during the following two months. The term really applies to mark that position in the Earth’s orbit when due to its tilt the northern hemisphere is pointing more toward the Sun than at any other time in the year. It is around this same time (July) when the Earth is actually at its farthest from the Sun. The difference between the Aphelion (farthest) and Perihelion (closest) is about 3.1 million miles or 5 million Km but being that extra distance from the Sun has little effect on climatic conditions. Our weather is more dependent on events here on the planet, wind, closeness to seas and oceans or dry land, mountains and so on. It all depends where we live what sort of weather we have but it doesn’t stop people moaning about it nevertheless. At the moment (of writing) my local weather happens to be dull and overcast with a chance of rain in the offing but it is still mild and maybe a little cooler than of late. This is one of the reasons I like summer….
It is the proliferation of insect pests I find difficult to cope with at times. That is why I prefer the cooler months. I have been taking things easy these last couple of days both by choice and the fact that I haven’t been as well as I might. As it is summer I get less offers of work than at other times so I haven’t been too busy with electrical jobs though I have had some. It has been fortunate therefore that I have had something to do at home instead. There is always something to do at home isn’t there? I need to make the most of the warmer seasons though, it will be winter soon enough, it isn’t all that far away!
Holy Mower, Shipley This is just one of the sheep keeping down the grass in the graveyard at the Church of St Mary the Virgin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After a good couple of weeks with mostly dry and sunny weather this past week saw the return of the rain. I don’t mind having the rain occasionally, it is necessary but it does prevent carrying out certain jobs in the garden. It is also impossible to do any outdoor repairs too. At this time of year it is a constant battle keeping weeds down for they grow at such a fast rate and before you know it they get the upper hand if you are not on the ball. The grass also grows quickly during the warm months often needing mowing every week if conditions are right. It was only a short while ago I had mowed the lawn but by Thursday it was beginning to look a bit dishevelled, it needed cutting once again. Thursday was a day of intermittent rain but late in the afternoon it became bright and sunny. If I played my cards right I could get the lawn mowed as it now only takes me around twenty minutes. It once took me an hour and a half as I used a small electric mower but since getting the petrol-driven mower serviced and cleaned up a couple of years ago it has cut the time down dramatically. My main concern was that the grass may have been too wet to cut but it wasn’t. The petrol mower would cope with the grass being a little wet but if it is too wet it clogs things up. I made the effort and had the job done in no time. Maybe having a sheep would solve the rain problem though I fancy it wouldn’t just eat the grass! I had only returned indoors ten minutes or so when the heavens opened up again and we had a heavy downpour of rain. Just in time! Earlier in the day I had plans to do more filtering of the soil in the front flowerbed but I got a call to do an electrical job some miles away. By the time I had returned home it was approaching lunch time and in the afternoon I wanted to watch England playing Wales in the current UEFA European football competitions. I managed to do that and I had the spare time afterward to mow the lawn too. When E returned home with the weekly shopping it was still raining so I got a little wet helping her bring it indoors, Soon afterward the rain stopped! One of those days.