Bad Night/Bad Dream

I have written before about my vivid dreams. They are almost always easy to recall, usually interesting, at least to me, and on a few occasions, have managed to fascinate me.

Last night, I went to bed at a reasonable time, and settled down to sleep. It felt unusually warm for January, but I eventually got settled, and went to sleep. When the stormy wind began to increase in speed, I was disturbed by the noise of swirling leaves, and small twigs and branches falling outside. But after turning over a couple of times, I finally got back to sleep.

Some time later, I was aware of a presence in the room, close to my face. I opened my eyes to see a male figure leaning over the bed. Behind him were three others, two men, and a woman. They were illuminated in the pitch black darkness by a strange greenish-glow that seemed to be coming from below them on the floor.

I recognised them all.

The woman in the doorway was my mother. She died in 2012.

The man in front of her was my friend Steve Greenwood. He died in 1988.

Next to him was my dad’s older brother, Uncle Harry. I hadn’t seen him since the 1970s, and he has been dead for over thirty years.

By the bed was his son, my cousin Brian. I hadn’t seen him for over forty years. He was murdered by intruders in his home in Spain, over twenty years ago.

I felt unbearably hot, and threw the duvet off my body.

They all looked as I remembered them when I had last seen them, though their expressions were blank, and very scary. For some time, nobody spoke, including me. And then my mum said “We have come to fetch you”.

Then I woke up, feeling absolutely terrified, and shaking. I pressed the button on my tablet to check the time, and it was 03:17. That time has no significance that I know of.

It took me well over an hour to get back to sleep, as I was actually frightened to close my eyes.

That was one dream I never want to have again.

Waking Up To Snow

Late last night, it was still feeling very cold despite leaving the heating on until almost bedtime. I thought about the old and rather silly saying popular in England. “Too cold for snow”.

Sure enough, I woke up to see around three inches of snow settled on the back lawn, and needed no further prompting to go straight back to bed until 9:30.

The falling flakes have now turned to hard sleet. Driven by gusty winds, it is cracking against the windows, and beginning to melt the snow.

Other than taking Ollie for a walk later, I won’t be going anywhere today.

Ollie And The Mud

I have written before about the amount of mud we have to endure on our dog walks. Following the frequent heavy rain we get in Beetley, the mud persists until it is either frozen by a long period of extreme cold, or finally dries out sometime in late May or June.

I have become an expert on mud. I used to think there was just ‘Mud’, but there are a great many varieties.

There is the obvious churned-up ‘surface’ mud. You look ahead of you, and can see a muddy area. If it cannot be avoided, you squelch through it with a depth of just a couple of inches appearing on your boots.

Then there is the ‘slick’ mud. It looks black and oily at first glance, and is rarely deep. That’s because it is sitting on firmer ground, and hasn’t sunk in. Close to the riverbank, this type of mud can often be left behind after local flooding. Walk on that at your peril, as it is as slippery as an ice-skating rink.

The other one best avoided is the ‘boggy’ mud. What might just seem like very wet grass can conceal mud up to three feet deep. That can not only get over the top of your boots and inside them, but also deliver enough suction to pull the boot off completely as you try to extricate it from the quicksand-like grip.

Despite all this, Ollie returns from our walks relatively clean. I have to wipe his paws on one of his dog towels, and clean off some splashes under his belly. Given that we have just spent almost two hours trudging through all the types of mud listed above, you would imagine that my dog would be caked in it up to his hips.

There are two reasons why Ollie can avoid the worst. For one thing, his relatively low weight stops him sinking in too deep. At 28 kilogrammes, (Just over 60 pounds) he is able to distribute that weight over all four legs instead of two.

And there is the way he walks. Best described as ‘prancing’, he does the whole dog walk on the eqivalent of his tiptoes, adding a bounce effect from his strong leg muscles that prevents him from sinking in too deep.

Unlike me, Ollie seems to have been perfectly designed for mud.

Worse Than No Sun?

It’s only the 2nd of January, but here is my first weather moan of 2021.
(At least I am consistent)

Low Winter Sun. What a pain that is. We have had to close the curtains this morning, due to intense low sunshine that is piercing the house like the beam of an unwanted searchlight. Brighter by far than any normal summer sunshine, it can give you a headache in five seconds flat, believe me.

And if you live in Beetley, don’t even think about driving your car. As soon as you reverse out of the driveway, you will be blinded by an intense light that sunglases cannot cope with at all. Even trying to drive to the end of the street is impossible. You literally cannot see the front of your car.

Add that light reflected off of a damp tarmac road surface, and it is like being in a science-fiction film.

I have to have a SAD lamp because it is usually so dull. But this low sun makes it almost impossible to cope until it moves around later. It is almost worse than having no sun at all.

I know. Never happy! 🙂

It’s Official! I’m A Jinx!

Hands up, I write a lot about the weather. I’s probably the most regularly covered topic on this blog. One reason is that before I moved here, Norfolk had the proud boast of being ‘The Driest County in England’. In fact, that was the title of one of the earliest posts on my blog, reflecting the irony that it seemed to rain every day here.

I also wrote a post about the fact that it always rained at 2 pm, my usual dog-walking time.

Over the years, my obsession with weather has led some people to conclude that I am exaggerating. Others might think it shows signs of serious depression, or some other mental abberation. Moving to a place supposed to officially be the driest spot in the British Isles only to discover it is probably one of the wettest, is a cruel twist of fate indeed.

Then yesterday morning, I had an interesting conversation with a fellow dog-walker, as we both stood looking at the severe flooding that has affected Beetley Meadows. The man was younger than me, but had lived his whole life in this area. And he was a gardener by profession, so spends his life outside, every working day. Gazing at the rushing flood-waters, he told me this.

“This used to be the driest place, you know. Some summers, we had no rain for four or five months, and it never rained during the school holidays when I was young. We had hosepipe bans that started in April, and water was treated like something rare, because of the lack of rain. They even used to close the drive-through car washes because they used too much water. But I started to notice that changing a while back. As I am outside all day working, I get a feel for those things, you know? We began to get heavy rain in early October, and then almost no snow at all during winter, but many consecutive days of heavy rain instead. Washed out summers, ruined barbecues, and only a few reasonably hot days each year.

I remember going home and telling my wife that something bad was happening with the weather here. Even the direction of the arriving bad weather was changing. It was always from the west before, but then it started to come down from the north, and across from the east. Weather patterns and gulf stream directions were all different. I looked it up. Then there was a really big change. I remember it as if it was yesterday. It started with weeks of rain, then a crappy summer, followed by a late winter that left us with snow almost into April”.

I nodded in agreement, then asked. “What year was that then?” He turned to face me, his answer immediate and full of conviction.

“2012. It started at the end of March that year, and it has been getting worse every year since”.

I moved to Beetley on the 23rd of March, 2012. It’s all my fault.

A Semi-Aquatic Dog Walk

I waited until the rain I wrote about yesterday had finally stopped, then set out with Ollie in bright sunshine. I was aiming for Beetley Meadows as usual, but soon discovered that around 40% of our usual walking area was under water.

This is definitely the worst I have seen it since moving here, a legacy of the rain that almost drove me insane over the previous 28 hours.

The seats of the picnic benches were submerged, and the water had not just burst the banks, the river was actually flowing at some speed in areas where we walk every single day. In the livestock field beyond, it was spreading almost as far as the busy Holt Road in the distance. Fortunately, there were no grazing animals there.

Ollie splashed happily through the freezing muddy water, but as I followed him I realised that it might well come over the top of my boots, and I was forced to retrace my steps. I decided to head across to Hoe Rough, which is slightly higher ground. Our arrival there coincided with a sudden hailstorm, which turned Ollie’s back white in seconds, and was hammering against the canopy of my umbrella.

It turned out that not only was Hoe Rough just as badly off for flooding on the north side next to the river, but some of the larger ‘puddles’ along the main path were also too deep for my knee-length boots. Some old trees had fallen too, the roots washed away by the flood waters. I may have to invest in some fisherman’s waders!

The second hailstorm that arrived was more than I could take, so we headed home. I had to take Ollie along the path beside Fakenham Road to avoid more standing water.

And even after using all four of his special dog-towels to dry him off, he is still damp to the touch.

We have an Atlantic storm arriving on the 26th. They say we will have ‘heavy downpours’ along with winds up to 80 mph.

At least tomorrow is forecast to be dry.

ENOUGH!

For most of the last 20 hours, we have been enduring torential rain like I have never experienced in my life.

Relentless, drumming, pouring down, endless rain.

We have surely had sufficent rainfall in Beetley in less than one day to provide enough drinking water for the whole of England until the end of 2021.

But do you think they will bother to save it? You know the answer to that.

If you think I am exaggerating, then that’s because you cannot hear the volume of this precipitation. It is louder than the television, and any passing traffic. Invading even the thought process.

Everything is awash. Roads, pavements, paths, and no doubt more flooding in our beleagured outbuilding, which I cannot bear to investigate. The world is lost in a swirling maelstrom of rain. Driven by wind, it batters the walls and windows, swells the local river, and swamps the inadequate drainage in the local gutters and kerbs.

Some districts in Norfolk are literally under water.

I am beyond rage with this. If it is the true face of global warming, then just count me out of it all. I have truly had enough.

I have had my fill of this endless rain, and wish I could no longer be here to hear it.

I need to move to somewhere else.

Like the Sahara Desert.

In a couple of hours, it will be Christmas Eve. Forgive me if I am not feeling remotely festive.

A Foggy Day In Beetley Village

I woke up early this morning because rain was lashing against the windows in the bedroom. Not wanting to get out of bed just after six, I turned over and lay there listening to it until it stopped.

When I emerged, I was startled to see the garden shrouded in thick fog. It was like one of those ‘Victorian fogs’ popular with writers of mystery novels.

Ollie had to go out of course, but he didn’t like the look of the fog that made it hard to see the end of the garden. He slunk out reluctantly, creeping into the mist and disappearing behind the leylandii hedges, as is his habit.

By now, I can make out the house opposite, through the window of the office room. But I still can’t see much beyond that.

I have to say it all looks very ‘murky and lurky’, and I have little inclination to venture out.

I wasn’t expecting that!

Thirty minutes ago, I went out into the kitchen to make a coffee, and was startled to discover that is is snowing heavily in Beetley.

Then Julie came back from a hospital appointment and told me that much of the neighbouring county of Suffolk has had heavy snowfalls, necessitating school closures in some areas.

Fortunately, the snow here is not settling on ground that is still too wet from yesterday’s rain. And that snow is set to depart the east of England by the time it is dark later.

But it gave me a shock. As most of you know, I don’t like snow!

Gloom Over Beetley

Over the last few days, December gloom has descended on Beetley. Gone are the mornings of ‘low winter sun’, accompanied by blue skies and surprisingly high temperatures. The SAD lamp is on by 10 am, rather than after 2 pm.

Instead, we have the feeling that it might still be night, with dark grey skies seemingly yearning for darkness to come. Mist and murk, water in the air even when it isn’t raining, and a damp chill that makes joints ache.

Then the rain appears. Driven by wind, soaking the fallen leaves into mush, and turning firm walking paths into slippery mud.

I can be in no doubt that winter is upon us.