Surviving The One-Day Heatwave

The temperature has hit 32C here in Beetley today. I’m not complaining of course!

I took Ollie out very early, though it was still 26 C then. He had a shorter walk, mostly in the shade, and that included some dips in the river. At least there is a breeze, if you are in the right place.

He has been asleep since we got back, and I had to abandon cutting the smaller hedge, as it is just too hot out the front today. I managed to get today’s blog posts posted earlier, as the window in my office room does let in a nice flow of air. I was going to relax and watch a film this afternoon, but the living room is still too warm to sit comfortably, and using a fan is annoying when watching TV.

So I will stay in the small office for now, enjoy the breeze, and listen to Ollie snoring.

A Change In The Weather

Can it be only last week that I was writing about hot summer days and uncomfortable sultry nights, sleeping with a fan whirring in the room?

The wind changed on Saturday, and the weather with it. In the course of one day, it went from 32 C to 18 C in Beetley, and the sunshine was replaced by looming clouds and blustery winds. By two in the afternoon, it was dark enough in the house to have to use lights in some rooms, and by eight at night cold enough to require wearing something warm on top.

That has continued since, with rare breaks in the clouds giving some idea of the summer they are concealing from us. Of course, June temperatures of 18-20 C are normal here. It’s just that after the three-day heatwave, they seem rather cold now, and the skies are looking bleak.

It taught me once again just how soon we can become used to something, and just as rapidly miss it when it has gone.

Just Been Watching…(119)

Den Of Thieves (2018)

Do you ever start watching a film and think, ‘hang on, this is a rip-off’? Almost as soon as this film started, I was wondering if it was a shady remake of ‘Heat’ (1995) which was itself a remake of ‘LA Takedown’ (1989), albeit by the same director.

‘Den of Thieves’ begins with an exciting scene where a very professional gang attack an armoured security truck, with things going wrong when one gang member kills a guard, leading to the rest of the guards having to be shot too. And it is set in Los Angeles County.
(Yes, the same as in ‘Heat’)

The cop who arrives to investigate is a hard-drinking, no-nonsene leader of an elite squad of gang-busting cops. He has little time for his superiors, and no time for the FBI at all. He puts pressure on suspects, and follows them around, actually confronting them face-to-face.
(Sound familiar?)

He is always at work or out with his team, and rarely gets home. So his wife leaves him.
(Yes,’Heat’ again)

When the police team are keeping watch on the criminal gang, they are also being watched by them in turn. As the police compile a list of suspects, the gang leader makes a list of the police team opposing him, and profiles the top cop. One of the criminals is an electronics wizard, who is also good with explosives.
(I know, ‘Heat’ again!)

I was seriously thinking of reaching for the off-switch when things took a different turn, and it stopped just parroting ‘Heat’.

Beginning with a tense hostage taking in a bank, and leading to a cleverly executed climax of the well-planned robbery of the impregnable Federal Reserve Bank, the second half gives this film its own identity. And there is a twist too!

With the police now in pursuit of the escaping robbers, it all ends not in a car chase, but in a very well choreographed shoot-out sequence in a traffic jam, of all things. So it seems to all be over. But wait. There’s another twist! And that second twist is a real goodie!

With Gerard Butler as Nick, leading the police team, and Pablo Schrieber as Merriman, the tough ex-marine criminal, I didn’t recognise any of the rest of the cast. Though one of them is ex-rapper, 50-Cent. They all did well though, and were convincing enough. Car chases were kept to a minimum, and despite the often groan-inducing similarities with earlier films, I ended up liking this film much more than I thought I would.

Here’s a trailer.

From August To October Overnight

Yesterday was unusually warm here in Beetley. It was very sunny, and that sunshine had some heat in it too. By late afternoon it was 24 C (75 F) and the heat hung on until late last night. By the time it got to 11 pm, we had to get a fan running in the living room, as it was uncomfortably humid. During the night, it was hard to get any sleep under the duvet, and I kept waking up on and off, until I gave up at 6:30 am and got up.

It felt more like August, than May.

Then this morning, the heat has gone. Strong winds are moving the tree branches and plants in the garden, and the temperature at best will be 10 C (50 F). There is also the possibility of very heavy showers later this afternoon.

It feels more like late October, than May.

A drop of 25 degrees (F) in less than twenty-four hours.

Is it any wonder that I write so many blog posts about weather? 🙂

Ollie’s skin, and his fur

Poor Ollie has had a bad summer. The late arrival of extremely hot weather has thrown his system out completely.

The unusually hot weather has made him begin to moult with a real severity. His fur is covering the house, and coming out in handfuls every time he is stroked or petted.

We have seen a return of the large bald patches we call his ‘crop circles’, and the poor dog has been a martyr to scratching, and feeling uncomfortable. His only relief seems to come from dozing or sleeping, and he has little energy for play, or his usual antics.

Most daily walks have been spent with him spending too much time standing in the river, and I have become weary of telling him, “Stop scratching!”

So next Monday he has been booked in early with the dog groomer. He will get that fur hand-stripped, have a nice bath, his toenails cut, and his ears cleaned out.

We can only hope that this will cure some of his irritations, and frustrations. It’s the least we can do.

August: The humidity arrives

Okay, more weather complaints. Feel free to yawn, and to exclaim “Not again!”

The last few days, we have had temperatures hovering around 29 C (84 F). That might be very acceptable for an English summer, I agree. However, we have also had frequent heavy rain showers, so the weather app is telling me that we have humidity at 94%.

Now that is unusual, for England.

It saps my strength, and makes everyday things seem to be a real trial. Any attempt at cleaning the house (as I did earlier today) leaves you soaked in an unfamiliar and unpleasant sweat. Taking Ollie for his usual walk at 1 pm left me weary, and sitting down on benches too often. It was alright for my dog, as he just retreated into the water of the river, to lie down and cool off.

I have changed my clothes three times already, and had two baths. Despite only wearing a dressing gown as I type, I am still far too hot and uncomfortable. So I have taken the executive decision to wash the bedding, in an effort to achieve ‘freshness’, after constantly ‘turning the pillow’ for the last three nights. It is ready to put on the bed now, but I have made a second decision.

I will fold the duvet up, and put it against the wall. Then I will sleep using only the cover, not unlike a simple sheet.

If I wake up chilly during the night, I might be pleasantly surprised! 🙂

Sleep is hard to come by

I have been complaining about the weather on this blog for seven years and more, so I see no reason to stop now.

After the wettest June on record, we are now looking at the possible highest temperatures ever recorded in July.

Not just in Britain of course, as this is happening all across Europe at the moment.

If this is Global Warming, it has arrived early, and without its invitation.

But before you all tell me that I moan when it’s cold, I know. I am not actually complaining about the hot summer, as at least it isn’t raining. (Yet)
The problem is that we are not set up for the heat inside our houses. We don’t have air-conditioning, and most houses still have carpets. There are no shutters, and many windows only have small openings.

We live in a country that expects the weather to be cold and wet, so plan for that when we build homes. Even with lots of windows open, the design does not encourage through-draughts. Fans are brought into play, with no less than four in action as I type. But they mainly circulate the warm air, only giving the perception of cooling, without the reality.

Nonetheless, I am still not complaining. Honestly.

But at bedtime, it’s a different story. With the temperature during the day around 33 c (91), it doesn’t drop much below 25 c (77 F) during the night. Even lying naked on top of the bed, (not a pretty sight, I assure you) and with a fan going like the clappers in the corner of the bedroom, sleep is very hard to come by.

On Tuesday night, I did manage to get off quite quickly. Then in the middle of a deep, dream-filled sleep, I was woken up by a thunderstorm. That set off all the local dogs, and it soon felt as if I was in a real-life version of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians. I checked the time. 3:15. I tried in vain to get back to sleep, but the thunder continued for almost another hour. It was almost daylight before I slipped away again, and I woke up at 8:00, roused by yet more barking dogs.

So this is my version of not really complaining about the weather.

One day in the sun

Saturday was very warm in Norfolk. The sun was out, but it wasn’t what you would call a ‘nice day’. Humid, often cloudy, and pushing 26 C (78 F) at times, it was what some people might describe as ‘uncomfortable’.

I was out with Ollie of course, for just over two hours. He must have been feeling the heat, as he made at least five trips into the river, including a venture into deep water that made him have to swim.

The heat brought out squirrels in abundance, so Ollie was kept busy chasing them too.

I was happy enough. It wasn’t raining, always a plus. I was dressed suitably, enjoying my shorts, and the occasional breeze around my legs. I carried on with my dog walk as usual, though it was obvious that Ollie was not so keen, given the rather oppressive heat. Accordingly, I spent a lot of time standing around while Ollie cooled off in the river, including investigating a juvenile swan.

The evening was also warm, something I welcomed. The temperature was pleasant, well up to the time it got dark, and beyond that too. Unlike life in big cities, Beetley evening warmth is to be enjoyed.

I spent some time cutting the grass, and clearing up afterwards. That made me decidedly warm, and a second bath was required before dinner.

Once I had eaten, I felt relaxed, in what I think of as the ‘Mediterranean’ way. Evening felt like daytime, and I lamented the absence of pavement cafes and Tapas Bars in Beetley. An evening stroll or ‘promenade’ would have been most welcome. But here, it would ultimately be pointless, sadly. Unless I wanted to navigate a few residential streets in the late evening sunshine.

Perhaps I should have retired to Spain?

Back to normal service

I have been putting out a lot of posts about films recently. But today I am back to normal for a while, and writing about the weather again. The heat continues here, the hottest summer since 1976. Well into July, and we are still experiencing regular daytime temperatures of 28-30 C, with it rarely dropping below 16 overnight.

After so many years of three-day summers, and unrelenting rain, I am very happy to be enjoying this change in fortune. I cannot remember the last time I wore long trousers or socks, and I haven’t had a coat out of the wardrobe for over three months. No central heating has been required, and the washing can still be hung outside on the line.

But putting on my ‘sensible hat’, I can see it is not all good, in a country woefully unprepared for such summer bounty.

The grass on the lawn is like yellow dust, parched and unappealing.
(But at least I don’t have to cut it)
The Beech hedges are growing like crazy, and beginning to block out the light into the living room.
(So I will have to cut them)
Ollie is uncomfortable in the house at night, and will not tolerate a fan on him. So we do feel for his poor fur-covered body, as we watch him panting.
The Oak trees are spraying sap like a sticky car-wash, covering anything and everything outside.
Having all the windows open means that we get a lot of unwelcome visitors too. Flies, biting insects, and fluttering, annoying moths.

Then there are the people with medical issues that mean they can not escape the heat, especially those living in stifling cities, or large towns. Breathing problems exacerbated, allergies out of control. For them, this ‘good summer’ is one of misery and hardship. It seems we can never win in the UK, as whatever weather we get is always going to be bad for someone.

And it actually rained yesterday!
Well, for ten minutes, between 5:53 pm and 6:03.

No complaints

Regular readers may have been (pleasantly) surprised to see that I have not posted one of my weather moans for some time now. Those weary posts about struggling through mud, battered by driving rain or hailstones are a regular feature on this blog, all year round. But there haven’t been any recently, in case you didn’t notice.

Typing in a whisper, hopefully not overheard by the weather gods, I have something very unusual to report. It isn’t raining in Beetley. And it hasn’t rained for quite some time now. In fact, it has been the best summer since we moved here, in 2012, and much of the UK is enjoying similar conditions. Being English, I am reluctant to mention this of course, for fear of jinxing the current dry spell.

The weather forecasters are saying that this could be the hottest and driest summer since 1976. I might even have to think about watering the few plants and herbs we have growing, something I have not needed to do since August 2013. My face and legs are tanned as brown as a berry, and even though I am festooned with an assortment of insect bites, nettle stings, and bramble cuts, I am a very happy blogger. Dry walks with Ollie, warm evenings sitting outside; I was even happy to have to cut the grass again last Thursday.

It hasn’t even been too uncomfortable at night, though I have resorted to using the large bedroom fan since Saturday. Windows open, washing drying on the spinny-thing, and clean fresh air to enjoy in abundance. This is what summer should be like.

I had almost forgotten.