Shorts Back On

I had only recently posted about putting away my shorts until next Spring, then the weather changed.

Today, we reached 17C here (63F) in warm sunshine, and I was pleased to note that the forecast for Monday and Tuesday is for rising temperatures, with up to 21C (70F) possible in Beetley.

So the shorts will be back on tomorrow, and for as long as it lasts.

Indian Summers are to be welcomed.

An Early End To The Shorts Season

Regular readers will no doubt remember that I wear shorts for most of the year. Shorts-wearing season traditionally begins for me in mid-March, and ends on the first of October, much later if the weather stays fair. I have been known to still be wearing shorts in November.

(Not the same pair of course, before anyone asks. 🙂 )

This year was no exception, as my shorts were on by the 12th of March, and they remained my choice of attire right through the unusually hot summer, including our recent week away in early September.

But this week, the winds changed. They were coming directly from the north, from the Arctic. Overnight, the temperatures fell from 18C (64.5) to just 6C. (43)

It was a shock to feel so cold at this stage in autumn, when the usual temperature should have been at least 16C. (61) The cold gusty winds and occasional heavy showers didn’t help, so by Tuesday I was really feeling cold on the dog walk.

Yesterday, I woke up to a very ‘fresh’ morning, and a check on the predicted weather showed it was unlikley to exceed 8C (46) until the late afternoon.

There was nothing for it, I had to admit defeat. The shorts went back into their drawer in the wardrobe. Out came the warm jogging trousers, and they went on with some thick walking socks.

(No jogging was intended, that is just what they are called here.)

My season had to end three days early. But after such a hot summer, I can’t really complain.

Hotter Than The Sahara

The weather forecasters are jubilant here today, as are the main News presenters. They finally got something right, and all previous records have been broken in Britain.

Last night was the hottest overnight temperature ever recorded in the UK.

At 1pm today, the hottest ever daytime temperature was recorded near Heathrow Airport, 40.2C. (104.3F) And that is expected to be exceeded later this afternoon, with the possibility it may reach 42C (almost 108F) somewhere in England. As I type this in Beetley, it is currently 39.5C (103F) in the house, and I can certainly feel it, despite all the fans running. Ollie is lying in the darker hallway, trying hard to sleep but constantly changing position to get comfortable.

Hopefully, this should be the last day of such extreme temperatures. Tomorrow is forecast to be 29C (84F), and by Friday it will have dropped to a more usual temperature of 23C. (73.5F)

The TV weather pundits keep comparing this heatwave to temperatures in foreign places we think of as being very hot. One of them was grinning all over his face when he announced. “It is hotter than the Western Sahara!”

Of course, he was making that statement from an airconditioned television studio.

Chances are he won’t still be smiling when he leaves for home later, and has to go outside.

Weather Warning!

As most people know, the English love to talk about the weather. It is a conversation starter between strangers, and most people I know follow the weather forecasts on the news with a religious fervour.

Now we really do have something to talk about, as we face the hottest temperature EVER recorded in Britain.

On Monday and Tuesday, temperatures in parts of England are set to reach a possible 41C. That is almost 106F, a heat unheard of in this country and never recorded previously. In the area around Beetley, we are being forecast 39-40C on both days. The last day when it got anywhere near that was on the 17th of June, when we saw 33C in Norfolk.

News reports and weather forecasts are full of dire warnings. They are expecting that thousands of people with underlying health conditions will simply die from the heat. The government has issued a ‘RED ALERT‘ weather warning for the first time in our history, and it comes with a lot of advice on how to ‘survive the heat’.

*Pets should be kept in, and dogs walked before sunrise or after sunset.

*People should make alternative working arrangements to avoid going outside.

*Rail travel will be badly affected as rails will buckle in the heat next week.

*Everyone should drink lots of water, and stay inside if possible.

*Do not wear dark colours, or restrictive clothing.

*Windows and curtains/blinds should be kept closed, to stop sunshine heating up rooms and hot air coming inside the house.

*We should avoid using cars as they will overheat in traffic, as will their drivers.

*Look out for signs of heatstroke if you have to go outside.

*Do not swim in cold lakes or rivers as the change in body temperature could be dangerous.

*Some schools will be either closing during the heatwave, or sending pupils home early.

For those of you who live in countries where such Summer temperatures are normal, you might wonder what all the fuss is about, I understand that.

But you have to consider that Britain is generally geared up for ten months of winter. As a result, houses are mainly brick built, with insulation in the walls and roof spaces. Most of us have carpeted floors, and many of us (me included) do not have airconditioning in the house, or in our cars. Few houses have very large windows to open, and fewer have shutters on the outside to stop the heat from the sun.

Britain was a cold country, and still is for much of the year. If it gets to 25C here (77F) we think it is a ‘hot summer’. Now temperatures are on the rise in summer months, and even winters are slightly warmer. We have not planned ahead. Houses are still being built in the same way, and transport systems have hardly changed in fifty years.

People get so excited by a hot summer that they rush outside to sunbathe on beaches or have barbecues, only to get badly sunburnt.

So the government advice sounds very strange to us. And what of the people who have no choice but to go out? Shop-workers, emergency workers, self-employed trades with jobs booked. My wife has to go to work on both days, as she works for a Doctors’ practice. She cannot do her job from home, or make ‘alternative working arrangements’.

There is going to have to be some future planning to cope with the ever-increasing heat in Summers to come. However, I have not yet heard a single politician coming up with any plan that includes that.

So we will have to see what happens on Monday and Tuesday next week.

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.

Ollie Cools Down

Well, not just Ollie. Me too.

After many days of uncomfortable heat and sleepless nights, the weather broke down in many parts of Britain yesterday. For some people that ended in disaster, after torrential rain caused a landslide near Aberdeen that derailed a train. Three people sadly lost their lives, and others were injured.

In some areas of the UK, rainfall was so severe that streets flooded, and cars were floating around like boats. Houses were struck by lightning, power lost, and damage done to buildings. Where I live in the East, we were spared the spectacular storms, but they are due to arrive here over the next few days.

Although we didn’t get the storms, what we did get in Beetley was a 10 C drop in temperature compared to this time yesterday. With today’s maximum set to be an unremarkable 25 C, it was a relief to see Ollie enjoying his walk without panting, and limiting himself to one trip into the river for a drink.

I am hoping that the storms don’t keep me awake tonight if they arrive, as I could do with a very big sleep.

But if they do, it might be preferable to being kept awake by stifling and unusual heat.

The possibility of shorts

This February has started out exceptionally mild. Continuing the overall theme of a mild winter, here in Norfolk at least.

I am not fooled of course. We still have the rest of the month to go, and March yet to come. However, I cannot argue about the recent temperatures. Two or three days of bright sunshine, with a high of 16 C (61 F) yesterday, and a warm walk with Ollie. Sadly, it is not enough heat to dry out the lingering mud, but for once, I am not complaining.

The TV weather forecasters are getting very excited. The high temperatures are set to continue throughout this week, due to an unusual ‘bend’ in the Gulf Stream, drawing warm air from as far away as North Africa. Last night, one weather presenter was predicting a new record high for Britain in February, which should arrive by next Friday or Saturday. 18 C (64.5 F) is unknown in this country during February. If we achieve that somewhere, it will break all previous records for this month.

But more importantly, it will mean that I can start wearing my shorts again, at least one month early.
(Like the ones on the left. Not those retro things on the right. 🙂 )

The three-day summer

After a long winter, it turned warm here yesterday. Very warm in fact. The shorts were on, and walking Ollie over at Beetley Common, he was soon feeling the heat. Searching out a muddy pool of rainwater that had yet to dry out, he plunged in for a drink, and a cool down.

I could feel it too of course. The change in temperatures was dramatic, to say the least. We had gone from 13 C one day, to 24 C the next. Flies were active, bees were buzzing everywhere, and flowers had appeared overnight, all encouraged by the warmth. It seemed that the grass on our back lawn had grown by at least three inches in one day too. It was like living in a time-lapse sequence, where I could imagine watching everything bursting into life before my eyes.

Today is even warmer. Following a balmy night, I woke up to bright sunshine, and a warm day that is set to rise as high as 27 C. Watching the weather reports, they cheerily predict that Friday will be even hotter. Reporters on TV have shed their jackets, and everyone is talking about the arrival of one of the warmest spring periods in decades. But if you listen carefully to the weather report, and don’t get too excited, you will hear that it is predicted to cool down again on Saturday. Gradually creeping back down to a seasonal norm, with a very good chance of heavy rain and storms.

But I’m not complaining.

The three-day summer of 2018 was good while it lasted.

A Beetley phenomenon

Last night, I experienced yet another example of something that has become a part of our lives, since moving to this house. After retiring to bed at a reasonable hour, my sleep was disturbed some time later, when I began to feel very hot in bed. We only have a lightweight duvet, as the house is generally draught-free and well-insulated, so we never feel the need for anything heavy on the bed.

On the rare occasions when it is very hot and humid, we might resort to sleeping under just a sheet, or use the large pedestal fan that we keep handy. But it hasn’t been that warm lately, so we have carried on with the thin duvet and having the window open, as is our habit.

After waking with discomfort from the heat, I flipped the cover off, leaving about half my body exposed outside it. I soon began to cool off, and slipped back nicely into a deep sleep. Less than an hour later, I woke up feeling too cold, and reversed the procedure, snuggling back under the covers. Sure enough, some time before dawn, still dark outside, I woke up once again, feeling uncomfortably hot, and flipped off the duvet once more.

This continued throughout the whole night, as it frequently does. When I finally woke up this morning, I actually felt exhausted, and seemed to have had no benefit whatsoever, from over eight hours in bed. We have talked about this a lot, this nightly warming of the house, the unusual feeling of never quite being able to achieve a good balance between warmth and cold. We have even given it a name.

Too hot in, too cold out.

The Beetley Riviera

I had an early (for me) start this morning. I had some household tasks to do, and I wanted to get them done before it got too hot. That’s a very unusual sentence for me to type, I know, but the last few days have been very hot, and today was predicted to be the hottest of the year so far. I am not complaining, not at all. After nine months of miserable grey weather, cold and rain, sleet and hail, I welcome this bounty from the south, with open arms.

I needed to clear the tree debris from the guttering. An accumulation of twigs, small leaves and seeds that needs to be shifted on a regular basis. If I fail to do this, the gutters overflow during heavy rain. As it’s a bungalow, it is easily accomplished, using a smallish ladder. Despite all the things advertised for sale for doing this job, the best method is to scoop it all out by hand, fling it on the path below, and sweep it up later. Once that was done, I thought I might as well clean the windows, at least those out of direct sunlight, so the back and side of the house. The front faces south-east, so gets the sun until late afternoon. Ollie was out too, watching what I was doing, and changing position as I moved about.

I use the simple soapy water method, washing down the windows, sills and surrounds, all in one sweep of a sponge. Then comes the wiper-blade squeegee, finishing off with paper towels. It’s never perfect, and you can sometimes see the lines later, but it is still preferable to using spray or lotion cleaners, which are guaranteed to smear. As well as the windows, there are the two glass-panelled doors, one leading out from the kitchen, the other the rarely-used main front door. As it is all double glazed, and made from brown poly-carbonate, it is a fairly simple job, if a tad repetitive. By the time I got to the last door, the heat was excessive, and I was glad to be almost finished.

I went back inside for a lunch break, and noticed that a strong breeze had got up. The curtains were billowing, and the tips of the hedge at the front were moving too. After a bath, and securing the house, I went off with Ollie for his regular walk. I soon discovered that the strong breeze was in fact a warm breeze, not unlike walking into a hair drier. Over at the Meadows, I took to the shady areas, as walking in the open was reminiscent of being in the south of France, or Spain, rather than central Norfolk. Ollie seemed indifferent to the heat at first, but soon plunged into the river to cool off, after only ten minutes running around. It was nice to feel the heat after a long winter, but it was wearing without stopping for a rest. By the bend in the river, lots of people had turned out to enjoy sitting by the picnic benches, and were paddling in the shallow water.

I thought about heading over to Hoe Rough for a while, but the herd of cattle are grazing there now, and they have small calves with them. This makes them nervous, so I have to be careful with Ollie, keeping him on the lead most times. I didn’t want him to have to walk on the lead, so I decided to do some more circuits around the meadows. Many of the regular dog-walkers were absent, avoiding the heat of the afternoon, and walking in the evening instead. Ollie was not too bothered, and spent most of his time in the river instead, rummaging under the foliage that overhangs the bank, no doubt searching for voles, otters, or ducks; none of which appeared. His antics did disturb the technicolour-blue damsel flies though, and they rose off the water in large numbers, as I sat on a handy bench, watching from the bank. I had planned to take my camera out today, but the heavy skies and low cloud did not provide a good light. It was flat and dull, and not lifting any colours. By the time it got near the end of our walk, someone showed me a temperature on his mobile phone, registering 34 C.

Hot enough for England, but I’m still not complaining.