A Lonely Walk

Since the lockdown began, we have been blessed with some excellent weather in Beetley. It has felt like high Summer on many days, and despite the government advice, that weather has brought out a lot of people enoying the local riverside park, and the nature reserve too. Many of those have driven here from elsewhere, evidenced by the unusual number of cars parked locally, and the fact that us regulars have never met them, or the dogs of those who brought dogs along.

I don’t blame them. Most have observed social distancing, and appeared to be family groups. It was good to see the children getting out in nature, instead of binge-watching Netflix, or playing video games in their bedrooms. I was also happy to see people allowing their dogs to run around exploring somewhere new, and Ollie was happy to encounter some new canine companions.

Today, it is a full 10 C degrees colder than yesterday. And it has been raining steadily since 9 am. I have seen worse of course, and the rain cannot be described as heavy, and certainly not torrential. But it is steady rain. Spring rain, and Spring temperatures, much as we might expect had it not been for three weeks of what felt like July.

So I had to change from shorts back into trousers, and the casual shoes were exchanged for the rubber boots once again. I grabbed my umbrella, and wore a reasonably warm coat, and off we went. I chose to depart slightly earlier than usual, hoping to avoid the heavier rain forecast for later today.

What I walked into felt like a scene from a post-apocalyptic science fiction film. Nobody to be seen at Beetley Meadows, no ‘exercising walkers’ who had driven here to enjoy their allowed freedom. No dogs enjoying that change of scene they had become used to during the last twenty-one days. Nothing.

There was just silence, broken only by the sound of the rain hitting the river water.

Twice around Beetley Meadows was followed by crossing the bridge onto Hoe Rough. The car park was empty. The parking spaces in the road opposite the gate were empty, and as far as I could see, there was nobody on the nature reserve. Ollie took off on his usual routine, checking out fresh smells, and marking what he firmly believes is his own territory. I followed his rigid pattern as he traversed the paths in the same order that he does every day. Try to break his routine, and he will stand crying until I go the way he prefers.

After almost ninety minutes of circling the familiar areas, Ollie was soaked, and I was bored to tears under my umbrella. Nobody to chat to, nor even wave to. No dogs for Ollie to investigate or possibly spar with, and no trace of any wildlife risking the absence of people to explore unfamiliar areas.

It was a very lonely walk today, two hours traipsing in the rain as if we were the last man and dog on Earth.

The ‘Weather Bluff’

It was very sunny this morning. That sun had some heat in it too. Enough for me not to have to put the central heating on.

At some points, the sky was actually blue. It almost convinced me that the bad times were over, and Spring had arrived in all its glory

But I wasn’t fooled for long.

By the time it came to take Ollie for his walk, it was clouding over. I grabbed my trusty umbrella, just in case.

Over on Hoe Rough, the mud was still deep and sitcky, though the afternoon stayed relatively warm. I trudged around with Ollie for the requisite couple of hours, not failing to notice that there was nobody else out walking their dog.

By home time, the clouds were gathering, and the temperature plummeting.

It is now almost 7 pm here, and the rain has started.

Nice try, Weather. But you didn’t fool me!

A Very Short Moan Concerning Weather

Just after 5 pm last night, it started to rain in Beetley. Not torrential, but enough to be heard on the windows and roof. Enough to wet the grass, and the paths around the house. Nothing unusual there, and as we had enjoyed three days with no rain at all, I wasn’t that depressed about it.

Just before dinner, I watched the local news on TV. At the end of that, a lady weather forecaster came on to give the weather news for this part of Britain.
“A cloudy night, with a minimum temperature of 2 C in rural areas. At least it will be dry, with no chance of any rain”.

As you might imagine, it enraged me to watch such a totally inaccurate forecast, when I could still see the rain hitting the windows, and hear it too.

Much later, I went to bed, and checked my Tablet before going to sleep. Before closing it, I looked at the BBC Weather App, whilst listening to the rain hitting the roof.

Beetley, Norfolk.

Cloudy

3C

0 chance of precipitation

Those people must be cracking up with laughter at what fools they think we are.

Nature 1, Pete 0

After what seems like week after week of relentless rain here, I went to bed last night listening to yet more torrential downpours.

I had long-ago started to wonder if weather like this can seriously ruin your life, and I conclude that it can. It saps my enthusiasm for anything, and makes me want to shut myself away inside and do nothing. Knowing I have to take Ollie out in miserable wet and dull weather every day has made me dread the time when I have to get ready, and see him excited to go out.

Constant cleaning of muddy wet paw-prints on the kitchen floor, doormats so wet they never dry, and a damp dog all evening, despite my best efforts to dry him off. Nothing to see out of the windows except more rain running down them, and having to have all kinds of different pairs of shoes at strategic places to avoid walking-in the wet leaves that I have to trudge through.

I went out to the shed this morning to get something, and walked into a two-inch deep puddle where it had flooded inside overnight, due to the overloaded water table in the ground. The concrete floor has soaked up as much moisture as it can, and is now leaking it like a wet sponge.

As it is still pouring down outside, I have no inclination to even begin to try to sort it out today. So I just closed the door and came back inside, totally and utterly fed up with it all.

It is literally too much for me to cope with mentally. Too much water, too much constant rain. It seems we no longer have seasons. Just rain, summer and winter.

I’m just sick to death of it, and I really am at the end of my tether.

So much for ‘Merry Christmas’.

Ranting and Moaning

I don’t wake up every morning thinking ‘What can I complain about today?’, I assure you. But given the amount of griping I get through in an average year, you might be forgiven for thinking I do just that. I blame the weather of course. I’m sure if I didn’t live in the English county of Atlantis, I might be a lot happier, and less inclined to bang on about things.

“So what is rattling your chain, Pete?” I hear you cry.

The ongoing issue of dog poo continues to irritate. So many people are not picking up after their dogs these days, they are getting the rest of us a bad name. Poo bags are exceptionally cheap, so there is no excuse not to take any on your dog walks. Yes, I know grabbing a pile of warm poo through a reversed bag is a far from pleasant task. But tell me, when you got your dog, did you expect it to shit nice dry owl pellets? I think not. Stop leaving your dog crap where people can step in it, and then glare at me and Ollie as if it is our fault.

Plastic water bottles. Let’s face it, I hate them. They are everywhere. Here’s a newsflash for all you bottled water drinkers too. Most of it comes from out of a tap in the factory. Get a reusable one, save the oceans, and whatever else is being poisoned by your drinking habits. And what is it with standing your empty bottle on top of the waste bin? Is that a statement? You are too cool to actually put it in the slot two inches lower down, and want everyone to know that. Another newsflash. It is not cool at all. Alan Delon was cool. Steve McQueen was cool. I bet neither of those guys ever stood their empty bottles of anything on top of a waste bin. So grow up!

Talking about growing up, what’s with grown men playing with noisy drone toys? Not the big drones that take photos of industrial sites, or search for lost people. No, the cheap as chips buzzy things that are bought for next to nothing at Aldi, then so badly handled in public places they look as if they might suddenly drop and take my eye out. They are supposed to be toys, so go and play with them in you own gardens. Please. (I asked nicely)

Only three moans? Of course not. There are more.

Why do people move to a quiet village in the countryside that has no street lighting, if they don’t like the dark? I know, why don’t you move somewhere peaceful and quiet, then install floodlights around your house that would easily illuminate a WW2 prisoner of war camp? Then leave them on all night, in case a hedgehog needs to see to eat the bread and milk you left out for it. While you are at it, make sure they are not the type that go off after a short time. No, get the ones with a switch that allows you to leave them permanently on. And if I were you, I would make sure that you point them away from your own house, so that the light just goes straight into the windows of your neighbours. That way, we might still be awake when and if a burglar ever breaks into your place, and meanwhile you will get a good night’s sleep.

That’s all for now. I need to have a rest to calm down.

Rainfall Nostalgia

As I was woken up during the night by yet another downpour, and that rain is still falling as I sit at my computer, I got to thinking about rain.

No surprise there, as anyone who has ever read this blog will tell you, I write a lot about rain. A lot. Having to walk a dog in all weathers, and with outbuildings liable to flood when ground water gets to too high a level, I can assure you that rain matters a great deal to me.

But what about before? Before I retired, and had time to resent the rain spoiling my free time, restricting my movements, and making my daily dog walks miserable.

I didn’t even own an umbrella until 2001.

That was the year I started working for the Metropolitan Police in London, and could no longer drive to work.

I had to either get a bus, or walk for almost thirty minutes to my new place of employment.

That meant being out in the weather dressed quite smartly, and then having to work a long shift with no facility to change wet clothes. I suddenly realised that you could get very wet in just thirty minutes.

I started by buying a weatherproof coat. That offered some protection, but my trousers and shoes still got soaked of course. I wasn’t too bothered about my head, as I had little hair to worry about, and what was there was cropped very short.

But by December of that year, I decided I definitely needed an umbrella, if I wasn’t going to spend the first period of my shift trying to dry out, sitting in damp clothes.

Remembering the old adage ‘You get what you pay for’, the John Lewis department store was my umbrella shop of choice. Not for me one of those over-sized and ubiquitous golfing umbrellas, which are totally impractical on the crowded streets of Central London. No, I had need of a classic ‘brolly’, a Gentleman’s Umbrella. Black of course, with a wooden handle, and a traditional slide and catch. The ‘automatic’ variety did not appeal at all.

I paid extra for one that was ‘guaranteed windproof’. The wind can be fierce along the streets of that city, especially in between high-sided buildings.

It was just what I needed, and kept me dry for the next eleven years, never letting me down, and never once blowing inside out in high winds.

I still have it now, and it is as good as it always was, exactly eighteen years later.

I think I am going to need it today.

The Gloomsday Scenario

I was looking back over some old posts this evening, and found this one about the weather, and Global Warming. It is over six years old, but still strangely relevant, at least as far as life in Beetley is concerned.
Hardly any of you have seen it before, or commented previously.

beetleypete

When I was young, we used to be told of ‘The Doomsday Scenario’. This basically involved nuclear war between the West, and The Soviet Union. Despite a lot of rhetoric, and much commentary, this never happened. Instead, the reality is now the ‘Gloomsday Scenario’, and that is happening, as I write.

Over the last twenty years or so, we have heard from the Green lobby, and the other agencies concerned with ‘Global Warming’, about the evils of technology, and the combustion engine. The ‘Carbon Footprint’ has been synonymous with disregard for the environment, and we are made to feel guilty, for the use of every light bulb, or any journey involving foreign travel. When I retired, I expected that retirement to be in a haze of unrestricted UV waves, with sunshine warming my old bones, and the climate of the UK eventually resembling that of Sicily, or Arizona. I would…

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