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Surprise!

Agusta Helicopter

Agusta Helicopter

The weather this week has been awful. The RSPB was running its annual ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’ – on particular dates you are supposed to count all the birds you see in your garden over a continuous period of one hour – we didn’t have an hour with any birds in the garden at all on those dates. They were all, very sensibly, sheltering from the ferocious wind and driving rain.

Because the weather dial, upstairs there, is set on ‘Random Selection’ at the moment, we have also had some clear sunny days during the week. We’ve done our best to synchronise our perambulations, we’re too set in our routine for them to be peregrinations, to the sunny periods and we’ve had proved to us, once again – sunny does not equal warm.

It has been hard to find something that would risk a venture out, into even the brightest day, that we could use as a picture for your edification. We’ve seen our robin – we know it’s ours, as two robins are incapable of co-existing peaceably – and a batch of chaffinches who, on the whole seem to be able to settle disputes, vocally, but without recourse to fisticuffs. They appear, grab a beak-full of seed and wing it back to the shelter of the bushes.

Then, on our walk this morning, quite suddenly, out of nowhere, this helicopter appeared. I grabbed the camera, wrenched the lens cap off, and pointed in the general direction (which was up, as it flew low, right over our heads) and pressed the button.

Not a bad shot, hey? We think it’s an Agusta A109

A Bad Hair Day

Tree, Caught In The Rain

Tree, Caught In The Rain

We’ve had some very heavy rain the last day or so. Thunder, lightning, the works. This is quite a change from the blistering (relatively) heat we were subjected to for the previous week or so. Now, I know I was chiding Global Warming for his laid-back approach, but I didn’t mean to upset him. I obviously touched a raw nerve. At this time he could probably do with sympathy, not nagging. He has been handed the sticky end of the stick, you know. With the thousand and one things that go into the pot when you cook up a batch of climate, it’s hard to get the recipe just right. If you have too much of this and too much of that at the same time you end up with an Ice Age. A few (tens of thousand) years ago there was too much pepper. The pot held swamps and ferns and palm trees and it was splashed around liberally all over the world. Just recently, we’ve added more water and it has started to cool down, another eon or two and we’ll be back in an Ice Age again – all mammoths and fur coats and igloos. Poor old Global Warming is completely out of his depth, he was born too soon – or too late.

The Dog and I walk past this tree often and I’ve never noticed these markings before. We had waited for the worst of the rain to stop and then made a quick dash up the road and back. It took me a minute to realise that the tree, in common with everything else, had accumulated a coat of dust in the hot weather and being caught in the downpour had caused the colour to run.

It’ll be needing to make an appointment at the hairdresser.

It Must Be Spring

The First Cherry Blossom

The First Cherry Blossom

At last! Cherry blossom, it must be spring. It’s a good thing we have stuff like cherry blossom to remind us that this is the time of the year to have a good spring clean. The weather certainly doesn’t give us any clues. I’m not sure if it is deliberately trying to keep us guessing and thinks ‘a little bit of this’ then ‘a little bit of that’ is part of the game, or if things have become thoroughly disorganised up there. Perhaps it’s the economic situation. The only guy who actually knew what was going on was laid off in a downsizing drive. They then told the cleaners that it was now part of their terms of employment, and to make sure that all the weather was used up in strict rotation, then to dust the shelves regularly. The computerised ordering system would detect an empty shelf and reorder new weather components on a ‘Just In Time‘ basis.

As you might expect, the cleaners went through the whole place issuing out the dirty old faded bits of sunshine and dog-eared grey clouds. Then they cleaned all the shelves from top to bottom. The ordering system promptly refilled the nice clean shelves with new and shiny weather. This meant that the shelves no longer needed cleaning. To maintain the statistics necessary for their annual assessment, the rack nearest the Tea Room, which has dirty brown clouds and sheets of rain on it and so is the hardest to keep clean, regularly has its contents rotated.

Luckily, they don’t work during tea break and so we do occasionally, have a small patch of sunshine, which is left to cover up a multitude of sins while they all pop out for a smoke.

A Hopeful Sign

Skiddaw - with a coat of gorse

Skiddaw – with a coat of gorse

It was clear and crisp this morning as The Dog and I set off for our morning constitutional, Scotland was dozing over on the other side of The Solway and Skiddaw was up early enjoying the sunshine. He’s taken to wearing his new shirt of golden gorse – and very smart he looks too.

Mrs Grieve (A Modern Herbal) says that cows give good milk if fed nothing but well bruised Furze (that’s his middle name) and that gorse is from the old Anglo-Saxon gorst  meaning ‘a wasteland’ referring to Gorse’s favourite habitat.

Dr. Edward Bach felt that the uplifting golden show that Gorse provides – once he gets into his stride – was all about bringing new hope into people’s lives. There’s definitely something bright and cheery about the way there’s always gorse in flower somewhere, even through the worst of the winter, and of course, now that spring is well and truly here, there’s gorse in flower everywhere.

Still, whether you’re looking for hope or for cattle fodder, don’t forget those thorns.

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