Walking Away From The Weather

I left in bright sunshine with Ollie for our walk earlier. It had been grey and dismal when I got up this morning, so I thought to take an umbrella, just in case.

Sure enough, I hadn’t got 500 yards before the heavens opened in a torrential downpour. In the distance, I could see blue skies and no clouds at all, so I headed in search of that spot, which I guessed was around two miles south of Beetley. I had some idea I could walk away from the weather here. But like the proverbial distant mountain, it was a lot further away than it looked, and after an hour of walking, the rain had worn us down.

Even with an umbrella up, my clothes were soaked through, and the water was running off my saturated shorts down into the tops of the wellington boots I was wearing because of the mud. Ollie’s brown fur was so wet, it looked black, and he didn’t seem very excited about being out at all. I turned back in the direction of Beetley Meadows as the rain started to get even heavier, and I didn’t look over my shoulder at that blue cloudless sky that was mocking me.

By the time we got close to home, Ollie was already heading for the exit to the Meadows, head down, and not interested in walking in the rain any longer. Even using all three of his dog towels, I couldn’t get him completely dry, and my shorts are in the airing cupbard, drying slowly with the heat from the hot water tank. I came into the office to check the date on my calendar.
Yes, it is the 10th of July.

England, in the height of summer.

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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Climate Change Is Now Official!

I have just been watching a weather feature on the BBC News channel.

Not since records began in the 1820s has Britain had so many hours of sunshine by the end of May, in any year. It has also been the driest May on record, with unprecedented low levels of rainfall. The south-eastern part of Britain has had less than 4mm ( 0.16 inches) of rain in one month.

Music to my ears.

Of course, the prophets of doom have started already. Not enough water in the rivers and reservoirs. Farmers worrying about crops wilting on the ground. (Farmers also complain when it is too wet to harvest of course.) There is a real possibility of hosepipe bans and water rationing in some areas.
Oh woe is us, living in this desert!

We live in one of the wettest countries in the world, yet seem to be incapable of working out how to store the countless milions of gallons of water that fall out of the skies annually. It wasn’t that long ago (February, to be precise) that those same experts were worried about too much rain, and huge areas of the country were devastated by flooding.

So where did all that water go? Why didn’t they save it somewhere, ready for a time such as this?

The report concluded by suggesting that Britain might soon have a ‘Mediterranean climate’. The words of the expert sounded like a warning.

From this chair, I say ‘Bring it on!’

From August To October Overnight

Yesterday was unusually warm here in Beetley. It was very sunny, and that sunshine had some heat in it too. By late afternoon it was 24 C (75 F) and the heat hung on until late last night. By the time it got to 11 pm, we had to get a fan running in the living room, as it was uncomfortably humid. During the night, it was hard to get any sleep under the duvet, and I kept waking up on and off, until I gave up at 6:30 am and got up.

It felt more like August, than May.

Then this morning, the heat has gone. Strong winds are moving the tree branches and plants in the garden, and the temperature at best will be 10 C (50 F). There is also the possibility of very heavy showers later this afternoon.

It feels more like late October, than May.

A drop of 25 degrees (F) in less than twenty-four hours.

Is it any wonder that I write so many blog posts about weather? 🙂

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.

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.

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!

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!”

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.