I Don’t Want To Hear It

After the heavy rain yesterday, I went out with Ollie. It was still drizzling a little, and looking dark and cloudy. Wandering around our usual haunts, I met a few dog-walkers. Being English, we naturally discussed the weather.

I mentioned to one lady that the weather was miserable, and she replied.
“But it’s good for the garden”.

Sometime later I saw a man I see every day. He mentioned that I was carrying an umbrella, and reminded me that more heavy rain was forecast to arrive later.
As he walked off, he turned and said,
“It’s good for the garden though”.

With the clouds descending again, and the temperature dropping, I walked one more circuit, before heading for home. On the way I saw a lady with two dogs. She also noted my umbrella, and looked up at the sky. In my mind, I was pleading ‘Don’t say it!’ But she did.
“Good for the garden at least”.

It has been raining heavily all night, and later this morning I have to take Ollie out, with more rain forecast.

If you happen to see me over on Beetley Meadows, please, please do not say “It’s good for the garden”.

I don’t care if it’s good for the garden. It is June, and I want some summer!

Very Wet Sunday Musings

I was woken up at 4:40 am this morning by the sound of torrential rain hitting the patio outside the bedroom window. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so have now been awake for over four hours. It is still raining, dark inside the house, and only 11C. Welcome to a very British Summer.

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At least I managed to cut the grass yesterday afternoon, front and back. It took me almost three hours, and my hands were trembling all evening after that. Ollie helped of course, doing his special task of constantly standing just in front of the powerful hover-mower, oblivious to the fact that it could easily chop off his paws.

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Now the interminable Jubilee celebrations are almost over, I have to call the optician about my eye appointment for the driving licence renewal tomorrow. I might as well get it sorted sooner, rather than later.

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Talking of Jubilee celebrations, I was pleased to note that many people were doing what we do best in this country. Fawning, and sycophancy. We are world leaders in both.
If anyone saved their street parties until today, they are going to need their Union Jack umbrellas, by the look of it.

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Ollie is snoring so loudly, I might have to wake him up in a minute. Perhaps the rain disturbed him early too.

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Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, have a peaceful and pleasant Sunday. It looks like it is going to feel like a very long day for me.

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A Change In The Weather

After one of the driest and brightest Januaries I can ever remember, February started out well too.

Then it all fell apart.

On Saturday, it started to rain at 1pm, just in time to get a good soaking out on the dog walk. That rain continued all day. Then all night. Then until 9am on Sunday.

After a bright start, Sunday ended up under water, with icy cold rain that made the whole day forgettable.

Then it rained all night Sunday night too.

I was fooled into thinking it had stopped raining when I went out with Ollie on Monday. But no, down it came again, accompanied by gusty winds that made it difficult to hang on to my umbrella. Ollie was saturated, and even using three large dog-towels hardly got him dry.

Time to head off to the supermarket for my regular Monday ‘big-shop’.

Driving there in quite heavy rain, wipers going. I was inside the shop for around 45 minutes, and as I emerged with a fully-loaded trolley, I could see it had been really bucketing down. The car park was awash, and just getting across to the car, my trainers and socks were soaked.

After stacking away all the groceries, I came inside and started to prepare dinner, then watched the news.

Two storms are on their way later this week, arriving one after the other. Bad enough to be given ‘names’, and an Amber Weather Warning, they will bring 80-90 mph winds, snow and blizzards in Scotland and the north, torrential rain and damage to trees and property elsewhere.

Who said a crocus was a sign of Spring? 😦

Finding Bailey

It was a wet dog walk today. I wathed the lunchtime weather report, and they said it would be ‘cloudy but dry in the East’. So I knew to take my umbrella. Ten minutes in, and it was raining lightly. By the time I got over to Hoe Rough, the umbrella was failing to cope with torrential rain.

That meant wet shoes, (Skechers for comfort, not waterproof) wet shorts, and wet sleeves on my cotton top. Then there was walking through the tall grass and shrubs, still wet from yesterday, now soaking my legs on top of the rain. To remind me it was summer, the temperature was a humid 21 C (69 F), and Ollie was hot enough that despite being wet from the rain, he still jumped into the river to cool down.

After a couple of miserable rounds of the nature reserve, I headed back to Beetley Meadows, skidding around on the fresh mud. Over there, I saw a lady I know in passing. She usually has two small dogs with her. Today there was only one. She walked up and asked me, “Have you seen a small dog? It’s a little Spaniel called Bailey”. I told her I knew the dog, but hadn’t seen him. She told me her son was out in his car, driving around Beetley hoping to see him on the street.

I asked her where she had last seen Bailey, and she said he had gone into the long grass opposite the gate to the woodland area. That grass is never cut, and is currently very high. It also contains nesting adders, (poisonous snakes) who would likely be hunkered down in the cooler, wet weather. I said I was heading that way, and would look for her dog. By that time, she had been trying to find her dog for almost thirty minutes, and was getting worried.

Standing next to the long grass opposite the gate, I called out “Bailey” and whistled too. Ollie seemed confused, thinking I was whistling him. Seeing the grass moving about twenty-five feet away, I called again and again, until there was definitely more movement. So I told Ollie to stay, ditched the umbrella, and ventured in, finally catching a glimpse of the tiny Spaniel ahead. I patted my legs and called his name again, and he made his way nervously in my direction.

When he was close enough, I stepped forward and slipped Ollie’s lead over the small head. Then I walked him back to where the lady was standing with her other dog.

Little Bailey was soaked through, and looked exhausted. It must have seemed like being trapped in a grass maze, towering well over two feet above him. Perhaps he became disorientated, and headed deeper into the grassed area, rather than back to the path? We will never know for sure why he got lost there.

But at least he was found, safe and sound.

Summer Solstice

(This post is another moan about the weather. If you are bored with those, please skip it.)

Today is the Longest Day. The Summer Solstice, Midsummer’s Day. Whatever anyone calls it, it is the 21st of June, and definitely ‘summer’ in most countries north of the Equator.

Julie is sitting on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, and I am seriously considering putting the central heating on. Last night, I had trouble sleeping, because my feet were cold in bed. And that was under a fleecy duvet, full tog.

Not that long ago, we had temperatures of 28C (82F), bright sunshine, and humid nights. That felt like summer. This feels more like February, and today was the only day it didn’t rain at all in nearly a week. For the last four days, the best temperature we have reached in Beetley is 13C. (55F)

It seems Global Warming and Climate Change have definitely arrived uninvited in England, if not the whole of Britain.

Coping with an extension of the Covid-19 rules is bad enough, after all this time. And now it is cold and miserable into the bargain.

A Very Short Summer

Only a few days ago, I was posting about walking in the warm sunshine, and Ollie having to have three dips in the river to cool down.

Okay, I appreciate that 26C was an unusual temperature this early, but it was only last night that I had to sleep on top of the bedcovers with a fan blowing on me from the end of the bed.

But this is England.

Today started out cloudy and overcast, and didn’t feel too warm.

On Ollie’s walk, he only went into the river once, to have a drink. The sun didn’t appear, and I was walking briskly once again, untroubled by any heat. Although some young girls were swimming in the river, I was reminded that it was only two days ago that I saw almost fifty women and children in the same spot, using tents and towels to shade the youngsters from the hot sun.

The best we could manage here on the 4th of June was 15C. And by 3pm it was raining.

Now it is 6:30 pm, in summer. Still raining, windows closed, gloomy outside, and lights on.

The 21st of June is the longest day. Midsummer, in England.

It was good while it lasted…

“Dry In The South Today And All Weekend But Rain On Monday”

Yes, that’s what the weather lady said, as she stood in front of a map of Britain with everything south of Scotland showing a cloud-free sky.

Monday is a public holiday in England, so a forecast of heavy rain all day on a holiday is no surpise to anyone English. Still, I should have known better than to stupidly accept her optimistic forecast for south-east England at 1pm today.

Ready to walk Ollie, I wore shorts, a light fleece jacket, and took my dog-walking stick in preference to an umbrella. Leaving the house in reasonably bright sunshine, I could feel the nip of the east wind on my face.

Walking quickly soon made me forget that cold wind, and I covered the area of Beetley Meadows in good time. Once Ollie had marked almost every twig and shrub, I headed across to Hoe Rough, to make a longer walk of it. At the far end of the nature reserve, well past the point of no return, that moment when it takes longer to get home than I had already travelled, there were a few raindrops dropping onto my coat.

The skies darkened, as if someone had switched out the lights, and the chilly wind doubled in intensity. Then the heavens opened, soaking me and Ollie in minutes. My coat collar was damp and uncomfortable on my neck, and my unsuitable casual shoes were soon allowing my bare feet inside to get wet. What sparse hair I have left was slicked down onto my head, and the rain was running down into my eyes.

I headed for home, cursing the smug weather lady who must not have a single clue how to do her job.

Walking back in the continuing rain, I thought -not for the first time- what life would be like if everyone was as bad at their jobs as weather forecasters. Imagine a teacher who couldn’t read, or a policeman too scared to arrest a criminal. A chef with no sense of taste, or a fireman who is afraid of flames.

I could go on with a very long list, including things like a tone-deaf orchestra conductor. But you get the idea.

Weather forcasters are fakes. The snake-oil salesmen of the television age. High time they were all sacked.

It’s Official! I’m A Jinx!

Hands up, I write a lot about the weather. I’s probably the most regularly covered topic on this blog. One reason is that before I moved here, Norfolk had the proud boast of being ‘The Driest County in England’. In fact, that was the title of one of the earliest posts on my blog, reflecting the irony that it seemed to rain every day here.

I also wrote a post about the fact that it always rained at 2 pm, my usual dog-walking time.

Over the years, my obsession with weather has led some people to conclude that I am exaggerating. Others might think it shows signs of serious depression, or some other mental abberation. Moving to a place supposed to officially be the driest spot in the British Isles only to discover it is probably one of the wettest, is a cruel twist of fate indeed.

Then yesterday morning, I had an interesting conversation with a fellow dog-walker, as we both stood looking at the severe flooding that has affected Beetley Meadows. The man was younger than me, but had lived his whole life in this area. And he was a gardener by profession, so spends his life outside, every working day. Gazing at the rushing flood-waters, he told me this.

“This used to be the driest place, you know. Some summers, we had no rain for four or five months, and it never rained during the school holidays when I was young. We had hosepipe bans that started in April, and water was treated like something rare, because of the lack of rain. They even used to close the drive-through car washes because they used too much water. But I started to notice that changing a while back. As I am outside all day working, I get a feel for those things, you know? We began to get heavy rain in early October, and then almost no snow at all during winter, but many consecutive days of heavy rain instead. Washed out summers, ruined barbecues, and only a few reasonably hot days each year.

I remember going home and telling my wife that something bad was happening with the weather here. Even the direction of the arriving bad weather was changing. It was always from the west before, but then it started to come down from the north, and across from the east. Weather patterns and gulf stream directions were all different. I looked it up. Then there was a really big change. I remember it as if it was yesterday. It started with weeks of rain, then a crappy summer, followed by a late winter that left us with snow almost into April”.

I nodded in agreement, then asked. “What year was that then?” He turned to face me, his answer immediate and full of conviction.

“2012. It started at the end of March that year, and it has been getting worse every year since”.

I moved to Beetley on the 23rd of March, 2012. It’s all my fault.

A Foggy Day In Beetley Village

I woke up early this morning because rain was lashing against the windows in the bedroom. Not wanting to get out of bed just after six, I turned over and lay there listening to it until it stopped.

When I emerged, I was startled to see the garden shrouded in thick fog. It was like one of those ‘Victorian fogs’ popular with writers of mystery novels.

Ollie had to go out of course, but he didn’t like the look of the fog that made it hard to see the end of the garden. He slunk out reluctantly, creeping into the mist and disappearing behind the leylandii hedges, as is his habit.

By now, I can make out the house opposite, through the window of the office room. But I still can’t see much beyond that.

I have to say it all looks very ‘murky and lurky’, and I have little inclination to venture out.