Something that isn’t fiction

I have been posting a LOT of fiction lately. Thanks to everyone who is reading it, and commenting. Thanks also to all of you who sent (and are still sending) photos to prompt the current short stories. But this blog isn’t just about fiction, as regular readers will know.

So, what else is going on, in the world of beetleypete?

The short answer is ‘not much’. That said, One of Julie’s twin daughters presented us with a lovely new granddaughter on the 5th of the month.
Mother and baby (yet to be named) are doing well, I am pleased to report.

Ollie’s fur finally grew back, just in time to get a good soaking most days out on our walks in the various ‘Named Storms’ affecting Britain at the moment. He hasn’t encountered many of his furry friends lately, as many dog-walkers are avoiding the foul weather, and are wary of the numerous trees that have been blown down. Last week, we lost another one of his oldest friends, Paddy the Border Collie. He was owned by our next-door neighbours, and was one of the first adult dogs Ollie ever met. I used to walk and feed him when they went on holiday, and he was always pleased to see me. But his back legs failed not long after he was 15, and he made his last trip to see the Vet.

My Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet has been annoying me. After working well enough until the guarantee expired, it started to be reluctant to turn on. A factory reset was suggested, but it has to be on to do that! Anyway, I deliberately ‘over-charged’ it the other night, and it finally came on. Perhaps I have been lax in shutting it down when I should? I don’t know if that is a problem, but now I turn it off completely every night, and keep my fingers crossed that it works the next morning.

Loath as I am to mention it, we haven’t had too many issues with all these unusual storms. The shrubs and hedges have survived, the tall chimney for the wood-burner is still in place, and the recently-installed TV aerial has refused to budge in high winds too. It is best to be careful when out driving, as some minor roads have a lot of water on them, and some trees are down close to the road too. But I don’t have to drive unless I need to go to the supermarket, so I am currently only going out in the car twice a week.

Julie caught an awful cold, and has been off sick from her job. Her voice is croaky, and she is flitting between being too hot, or too cold. We are confident is is not a case of Corona virus, and as she works as a doctor’s receptionist, she can be sure of getting good medical care should it be needed.

February has not been very inspiring for photography, at least not for me. So no new photos, I’m afraid. I am hoping for better weather in March, so I can celebrate my birthday with a trip somewhere, and some photos of the occasion.

That’s it for now. Sorry it’s a bit boring, but I’m a retired old man

“Oi! Wake up! You’re at the end of the post now!”

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.

Writing off a whole month

We only get twelve months, but this year feels like there will only be eleven. June has been a complete write-off, with the worst weather in recorded history for the month in the UK, and there are only five days left to go.

Remember when I kept posting blog moans about the rain? How it rained for twenty days and nights, and parts of the country (including my outbuilding) were flooded? How I longed for that glimpse of summer, and some warm days and evenings.

I should have remembered to be careful what I wished for.

A few days ago, it stopped raining. I was so excited, I even posted about that on this blog. Then it started to get warm. In one day, the temperature went up by 10 C, from 15 C to 25 C. I was out in my shorts walking Ollie, actually feeling quite uncomfortably hot.

There wasn’t much sun though, and the grey skies made it feel clammy and humid. So the fan had to be used in the bedroom, as sleeping was hard in temperatures that still felt like daytime. As the sun continued to refuse to appear, and the sky got darker, I had that sinking feeling. Thunderstorms. This was confirmed by the weather forecasters, people who excel at predicting bad weather, but never seem to know when it will be nice instead.

Now we have them. Rain all night, then thunder and lightning this morning, as the rain gets heavier.

June, 2019. Best forgotten.

It Stopped Raining!

After four solid days and nights of torrential rain, I have to note that it has just stopped raining!

Registered at 19:43 hours, on the 13th of June. (Yes, Summer!)

When the cessation of rain is worth a blog post, you truly know what it is like to have been under water for so long.

I don’t think for a moment that this is the end of it, but not having to listen to rain hitting the windows is a joy beyond compare.

So, for all of you perhaps tired of days that are too warm and dry. Be careful what you wish for!

It was worth using ‘bold print’, I assure you!


Not the so-so Kevin Costner film, you will be glad to hear.

Late August and September 2017 might well be remembered as a time of water. Many of the countries and regions on our planet are being consumed by water. Look at the news, and you will see floods in Texas and Louisiana. India, Nepal, and Bangladesh have been inundated with excessive rain, and the ensuing floods too. One storm after another continues to ravage the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico, bringing misery to exotic islands, and reaching as far as Florida.

States of Emergency, aid convoys, mercy flights, and evacuations on a huge scale. All because of water, and wind. No matter the achievements of mankind, we remain at the mercy of nature, year after year. The irony of course is that this water is arriving in places that already have enough. Those drought-stricken countries in the arid regions of the world stay dry, while other places fight to combat the rising floods.

Beetley has not been spared a taste of this liquid bounty. It has been raining heavily here since yesterday evening, and hardly light all day either. House lights on at 11 am, a familiar sensation. Looking out the window now, all I can see are raindrops hitting the glass. I am not trying to imply that this is anything like we have seen in the news. Despite our moans, we are lucky in these islands, as disasters are rare. The price we pay is to not have those wonderful summers, the blue seas and skies enjoyed by many. On balance, we are undoubtedly better off, I think.

Some believe that these weather systems are the result of our industrial folly. Carbon footprints, Global Warming, ecological upsets on a grand scale. They might be right, who knows? Others think we are being punished by some God or other, for living without enough Faith. That seems unlikely at best, but if that’s what they want to believe, who am I to argue? Whatever the reasons, and how varied the theories, we can all be certain of one fact.

We are going to have to learn to live with a lot more water.

Storm Over Beetley (Again)

The promised break in the recent hot and sunny weather arrived with a vengeance in Beetley today.
By midday, it was dark enough indoors to put on lights, and the rain soon followed, preceded by loud thunder, and lightning flashes. I was in the middle of doing some housework, and carried on, hoping it might clear up in time for the necessary dog walk with Ollie.

But it didn’t.

Despite the strong winds and deluge, it wasn’t cold. I left the house wearing shorts and a lightweight jacket, having to trust to my full-size umbrella to keep off the worst. After five minutes over on Beetley Meadows, I was soaked through. The rain was coming at me from all angles, driven by gusty winds, so the umbrella could do little more than keep my head dry. The water hadn’t had time to soak into the hard dry ground, so I had to wade through puddles fast-accumulating on the paths. My old leather loafers were soon saturated, and inside them, I was walking in a mixture of rainwater and mud that was squidging between my toes.

As always, Ollie was oblivious. Despite stopping frequently to violently shake the excess water from his fur, he was trotting around as if on a sunny afternoon stroll in the south of France. You would think that all that water would suppress whatever it is he likes to smell so much, but I had to presume that didn’t happen, as he happily sniffed at every overhanging leaf or plant stem. Fifteen minutes later, I was so wet, that I thought I might as well take him across to Hoe Rough for a while. Once we had arrived, I was a little concerned about being in an open area with so much lightning, especially as I was holding an umbrella tipped with a metal spike. The thunder crashed almost overhead, and made me wonder just what would happen if I was struck by lightning. With nobody else around, it would be a good while until they found my body!

The high grasses and low bushes there soaked my legs and hips even further. My shorts were heavy with water and translucent, stuck to my legs like cling film. I was having trouble staying in my shoes, and even my boxer shorts were sodden. The lightweight jacket was so wet through, it appeared to be black in colour, instead of mid-blue. Almost an hour later, I had well and truly had enough. The only diversion was the appearance of large numbers of small frogs, (or possibly toads) making their way across the paths into the longer grass. But even this brief natural wonder didn’t make up for being so wet.

When I stopped to put the lead on Ollie before heading home, he looked at me like a child told Christmas was cancelled. Anyone seeing me walking back must have thought I had been swimming in the river, fully-clothed.

The joys of dog ownership…

Goodbye, Abigail. Hello Barney

I had a bad sleep last night. Storm Abigail blew in to Beetley, and strong winds swirled the leaves, and battered the house. When you live under two large oak trees, one at the front, the other at the back, you can become very edgy about falling branches, as you listen to the smaller twigs and debris clattering down onto the roof. At times, I heard the gusts continuing to build, rattling windows, and banging outside doors in nearby gardens. The breaks in the wind only served to increase my trepidation of its return.

This morning, the wind had dropped significantly. The grey clouds have been moving rapidly across the sky until blue could be seen, and some brightness returned. However, it appears that this is the proverbial calm before the second storm hits. The BBC weather team have continued with their new idea of naming storms. In alphabetical order, using actual names, they have decided to call the next one Barney. Ten minutes ago, they were forecasting winds of up to 70 miles per hour. The warnings of damage to trees and houses, problems on the coast, and widespread disruption to roads were delivered almost gleefully. They love to have really bad weather to talk about, and they always seem to get it right, the worse it is.

So, we will be battening down for Barney tomorrow; watching the trees, and hoping for the best.