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.

The Beetley Heatwave

Six years ago this week, we were in the middle of an unusual spell of very hot weather, much like we have seen over the last few days. I wrote this about it at the time, and it is remarkable how nothing has changed since.

beetleypete

As Irving Berlin once wrote, “We’re having a heat wave, Tropical heat wave”. The last couple of weeks have seen temperatures rising in Beetley, and every day has been sunny and hot. Even though it makes it hard to sleep at night, I’m not complaining. For too long, we have had damp and cold, followed by rain and damp. This sight of summer is long overdue, and most welcome. Ollie has been feeling the heat though. His coat may be short, but it is thick, and he is listless and uncomfortable. His only relief is to get into the river, something he does frequently on his walks.

I have had to limit the scope of our usual dog walks for now. The other places we go do not have access to any water, and Ollie would get far too hot. I probably would too. There is shade and breeze available…

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Summer is here!

Today marks the first day of official British Summer Time. (BST) The clocks have gone forward one hour, so I woke up thinking it was an hour earlier than it actually was.

This welcome event was accompanied by northerly winds of high strength, and a hailstorm that lasted from 1 am, until a few moments ago. The temperature dropped almost 10 C on what we had two days ago, and the gloomy skies appear to be heralding a return to Winter, rather than the coming Summer.

An old saying here is that “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb”.

Seems like March has had enough of that reputation, and is changing its mind.

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! 🙂

Summer Moon

10 pm, last night. The rain had stopped for three hours, and we finally saw a full moon over Beetley. I went outside with my camera, but this was the best I could get, at 200 mm full zoom.
It is a poor photo of the Moon, but the point was that this was the first time it had been visible for over a week, due to the low black clouds finally disappearing. And it was still light, even at that late hour.

Next door’s cat spotted me, and came for a stroke. Alfie knows me well, as I feed him when they are away, and he likes to play with Ollie too. I call him ‘Alfredo Cat’, and he recognises his name. But he wasn’t exactly in the mood to pose for me, once he realised I had no food. So the photo is not in focus, as he kept moving.

After almost a week of rain, the simple pleasure of stepping outside with the camera is something to relish.

Monsoon Season in Beetley

It has now been raining non-stop for close to 45 hours here.

The noise of the rain and wind kept waking me up during the night, and I finally surfaced at 8:30 to the sound of howling wind and the rain pelting against the windows.

The shed is beginning to flood as the saturated ground starts to allow water to seep into everything. The side entrance is under an inch of water, and some local roads have flood warnings in operation. Driving is hazardous, and water can be seen pouring off the fields like small waterfalls.

The forecast is for ‘more of the same’. I checked the calendar, and confirmed that it is ten days until midsummer’s day.

TV forecasters try to cheer us up with phrases like “The Farmers need the rain”, or “It’s welcomed by gardeners”.

But it is not welcomed by me, I can assure you of that.

Waking Up To Winter

I woke up very early this morning, disturbed by the sound of gale-force winds, and the rain lashing against the bedroom windows. It took me a while to get back to sleep, but I managed it.

I didn’t surface again until almost 10 am, and might just as well have stayed in bed.

I know it’s not unusual to have rain here in June. Everyone knows that the weather in this month was just as awful as long ago as 1944, so no great surprise. And for those of you used to my seven years of weather moans, you will remember many June posts lamenting the absence of a summer in Beetley.

But this is torrential rain, and it has lasted for almost eighteen hours now. The addition of strong winds arriving yesterday increased the noise, and debris from the Oak trees is scattered all around the property. The chimney of the wood-burner is creaking as if it is about to tear away from its mountings, and various local dogs are barking at rattling gates and fences. The sky is best described as ‘threatening’, and the forecast is for more of the same, for the next eight days.

And it is cold. Yes, cold. And in June. Cold enough to put the heating on, but I flatly refuse to do that. Cold enough to mean that my shorts will have to be put away again, and Wellington Boots needed to replace more comfortable footwear. Midsummer’s Day is the 21st of June, so we don’t have long left before the evenings already begin to get darker. But it is 11:30 in the morning, and already dark enough to have lights on around the house.

I don’t ask for much, I really don’t. (OK, I know you think I do…)

But can we just have some summer, please?

Summer Blogging

It’s that time of year again. People off on holiday, taking a break from the blogs, or seeking pleasure outside, away from their computers or tablets. Since I started this blog in 2012, I have always noticed that summertime is a distinct period in blogging. It is also a time when many people decide to start a blog. They tell us about their trips and travels, publish more photos, sometimes show off summer outfits, meals, and even drinks.

Summer is a good time to have posts in drafts, to save spending too long in stuffy small rooms (like my office) or being inside when the weather is good outside. I see new readers, acquire new followers, and notice the absence of those regulars who are busy with ‘summer stuff’. For the other half of the world, the Beetley summer is their winter, and it is interesting to read about cold weather and bad conditions in the southern hemisphere, when we are experiencing record heat.

Summer is the time for shorter posts, less long fiction, and more photos around the blogs. It also seems to be the time when some decide to stop blogging altogether. I have recently noticed that four blogs I have followed for some time have been deleted. Maybe they were fed up with blogging, or just had better things to do, in the fresh air?

For me, the routine stays much the same. I blog earlier, so I can take Ollie out before it gets too hot for him. When it is cooler in the mornings and at night, I write up drafts for later use, and save them. I still get the same number of views and comments, although many visitors are new ones, perhaps discovering blogging as a summer pastime.

Much like life, Blogging seems to have its own seasons.

Quietly sweltering

The weather is big news everywhere at the moment.

Tragic fires in Greece.
People dying in Japan, after record high temperatures.
Fires in fields all over the UK.
People suffering from sunstroke, in Britain.

And a man and his dog quietly sweltering, in Beetley.

It is now officially the hottest summer since 1976. No rain of any note in Norfolk for six weeks, and constant daytime temperatures in excess of 32 C (90 F) every day. Last night, it didn’t drop below 21 C, and we woke up to another scorcher.

I’m still not complaining. I still haven’t forgotten that long dreary winter, or those years of almost constant rain. I am doing my best to enjoy this rare treat, making me feel as if I am living in a different country. Yes it can be hard to sleep, even using a large fan to cool the room. Yes being in a car is unpleasant, unless it has working air-conditioning, and yes it is hard for my poor dog, in his furry coat. But the alternative is worse, as far as I am concerned. Long wet days, tramping around in mud, wearing heavy coats and boots, carrying an umbrella. Windows closed against the torrents, and darkness by mid-afternoon. Did all the complainers forget so soon?

The TV News loves to see the black side too. Dire warnings about failed crops, and even a shortage of Christmas Trees, come December. Beaches closed for ‘public safety’, and blue-green algae contaminating open water. Hosepipe bans in the north-west, the wettest areas of the UK, a testament to the unpreparedness and inefficiency of those responsible for managing our water supplies. Gloomy predictions of more hot summers to come, and fears for a country totally unprepared to face them.

In a few weeks, the rain will have returned. It will start to get dark by 5 pm, and people will be having to heat their homes.

And not long after that, everyone will be complaining about the winter.

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.