It wasn’t a completely lucky strike on my part. I knew a thunder storm had been forecast so I took my camera to bed with me. It was a hot and humid night and I was struggling to sleep so when the storm started, around 2.30 a.m. I was ready. The weather forecast made it sound like it was going to be really dramatic but it wasn’t. The thunder rumbled and grumbled and the lighting was mostly hidden behind the clouds so I’m really chuffed with what I got. Can I go back to bed now, please?
Well, I say winter’s here but it’s been a balmy 9 degrees for the last few days. That is all set to change later in the week though when the wind from Siberia is set to swoosh its way down at a rapid rate of knots bringing its pal, snow with it.
That’ll turn a few warm tits into cold tits.
I’m not being rude. Let me explain, dear reader.
Many years ago when Boofuls and I were trainee microlight pilots our instructor was the late, great Tony Wells, otherwise known as Uncle Dumper.
The name came about when Boofuls gained his pilot’s licence, I was still circuit bashing, and we would want to go off flying together, which of course we couldn’t do in a microlight with a baby in tow so we’d say to Tony, “Can we dump her her on you for an hour?” Tony would always respond with mock anger. “Dump her on me? Oh yes, I’m just Uncle Dumper, me.” The truth was that he adored Lashes and enjoyed being in her company.
She spent so much time in his company as a small child that she developed his dry sense of humour. None of the other kids at nursery ever knew what she was on about. She still has that odd humour to this day. It’s Dumper’s legacy. Until she was about ten years old she thought he was really called Uncle Dumper because that’s what we all called him.
Anyway, I digress.
Uncle Dumper used to talk about the weather forecast in terms of cold tits and warm tits.
I always thought, being the man he was, that he was being sexist in order to annoy me. Something that he always found highly amusing. He always knew exactly how to push my buttons and I always reacted, never realising till it was too late that he was making fun of me. Dammit, Dumper, you did it again!
Well. Imagine my surprise this week when I discovered that it’s actually true!
Here is a quote from flightlogistics .com
“The weather chart indication of a warm front is xxx generally remembered as ‘warm tits’ whilst the indication of a cold front is xxx generally remembered as ‘cold tits’. You may never look at a weather chart in the same way again! Occlusions termed as Warm or Cold, they have similar weather as warm or cold fronts but take less time to pass.”
Well, bugger me, he wasn’t making it up!
Living, as we do, on top of a mountain in (almost) the windiest part of the windiest country in Europe, the actual windiest place is Scotland, we get used to it being, well, windy.
The thing about wind is that it makes a bit of a racket with it’s whistling, howling, roaring blustering windiness. We get so used to hearing it that we don’t even notice it any more, unless it’s a really rumbly, house groaning type of wind in which case we pull all the curtains shut , snuggle down under a blanket and say, “Ooh, hark at that wind. Glad I”m not out in that.”
Very rarely we get a day that isn’t windy. Guess what? The silence is DEAFENING!
Today was one of those days.
As I walked Velcrodog down the foggy and silent lane we spoke in whispers to each other since the silence was quite intimidating. Speaking in a normal voice felt quite wrong. The atmosphere was one of a doctor’s waiting room. What do you mean, what do I mean? Of course the dog and me speak to each other. I’d just be a mad woman with a dog if I walked down the road talking to myself. Well, alright. he doesn’t so much speak as look at me and nod sagely as I waffle on about heels, by me’s and good boys but it all counts.
So. Moving swiftly on as I’ve just realised I do sound ever so slightly mad…….
While we were walking I realised that part of the reason I like fog and snow so much is that it muffles sounds and makes everything peaceful, calm and still. That’s a real treat these days, a bit of peace and quiet. I hope we get a few more days of it before we return to the howling and blustering.
It’s now only a few more sleeps till Boofuls’ and my BIG ADVENTURE!!
Just in case you’ve been on Mars and haven’t heard about it – We’re off to the Arctic!
Thermal knickers and socks were the order of the day for Christmas presents this year in preparation for the trip. I’ve even invested in a super duper new camera especially for the trip – a Canon 5D MkIII. OMG!!! (as they txt).
Just for the camera nerds – and I do know there are at least two of you reading this. I used one of these cameras at a freelance wedding job I did last week and it was amazing.
It has an incredibly high ISO of 104,800!!! The wedding shots with ISO of 800 or higher were completely noiseless! (Ok, I know I’m sounding a bit excitable now but I am excitable – and I can’t seem to leave the ! key alone!). That means, dear non nerdy readers – and well done for keeping going this far – that I can practically shoot pictures in the dark with little or no noise! Perfect for the Arctic in January and for the much hoped for northern lights. *Thinks* Arctic in January ? Are we totally bonkers?
Gotta go! Gotta pack!
Where have I been?
I told you. Hiding in a corner and rocking. It’s been bloody traumatic this last few weeks and it’s not getting any better.
Life has been knocking us from pillar to post leaving us reeling with shock before BAM! another blow takes us unawares.
Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on all that.
It’s fair to say it’s been a bit rainy round here lately. So rainy in fact that roads are collapsing and buildings are falling down as their foundations are being washed away. I suppose that’s the downside (hahaaa; downside!!) of living in a town built on a hill. We even made the national news. Fame at last!
We arrived home one day to discover that the track to our house had become a river and our living room a lake. We spent a frantic few hours trying to mop up all the water and stop the flood by using towels stuffed under the door. Unfortunately, there was more water than we had towels so it all got a bit chaotic for a while. We got off lightly compared to many others in the town. We had a months worth of rain in a few hours, even the ducks were taking shelter.
I’d like to say that it was an isolated incident but we’ve been having flash floods on an almost daily basis since.
Putting my waterproofs on to walk the dog was a pointless as they, ironically enough, were too wet to wear, never having time to dry out between outings.
Here’s a photo or two of our track thinking it’s a river.
Fancy taking the dog our for a walk? Yeah, sure. I’ll go and put my swimming cossie on.
One of my Mum’s very favourite songs.
It’s one of two that I can’t listen to without getting all wistful, the other one is Daydream Believer. Our dance teacher once played Raindrops keep Falling On My Head, shortly after Mum had died and it caused me to burst into an unstoppable flood of tears. “Take it off, take it off.” Lashes implored him as I fell apart in the ballroom. The poor bloke wondered what the hell was going on.
I can listen to it now without crying, it brings back nice memories of my Mum singing it on a lovely family holiday in Lesvos one year. Music is unbelievably emotive, isn’t it?
It’s been stuck in my head for a different reason today though, the raindrops are actually falling – in their gazillions. The roads have turned into rivers and as I type this I have towels soaking up the water that’s pouring into the house under the patio doors. So much rain! I can’t remember when we last had this much rain. Even the ducks are sheltering. Torrential isn’t in it – and now a nice 50mph wind has come along to join it. You have to love an English summer!
So. For your wet Friday afternoon pleasure here it is:
Still on the subject of rain. The bride and groom from a couple of weeks ago came to view their proofs this morning. There’s was the wet wedding. The poor bride had had plans for us to photograph them all having a champagne breakfast on the terrace and photos of her with the dogs and the horses but the weather put paid to all that. She was brilliant on the day and just got on with enjoying it but I knew she was a bit disappointed.
I’d already made my mind up that if she was up for it we’d get her all dressed up again when the weather was nice and do the shots at the farm as she originally wanted. Ok, it won’t be her actual wedding day but they’ll be a nice keepsake. When they walked in with a nice big bottle of Bailey’s for us before they’d even seen their photographs the deal was done. This is my kind of couple! I’m pleased to report that they loved their photos. Especially the rainy ones.
Tomorrow I’ll be picking up my new (to me) car. Yay! I’m really excited about it as the one I have now has been troublesome in the extreme. I’ll be glad to see they back of it. Not so much a Grand Vitara and a Crap Vitara. So if you see a nice blue Honda 4WD zooming round the lanes of a grim and rainy Lancashire tomorrow and the driver has a big silly grin on her face – that’ll be me!
The temperature gauge round here has been swinging around wildly for the last week or so. Unbelievably, the temperature has gone from a scorching ( for me) 22 degrees to a perishingly cold -4 in the space of a few days. What’s all that about?
Last Tuesday was Boofuls’ long awaited hot air balloon flight. That’s worth a whole post to itself but since the subject of this post is the weather, I’ll stick to that.
As we pulled up at the launch site, twenty or so people were stood in tee shirts, sploshing on the suncream and dusting off their sunglasses. Me and the dog lurked in the nearest bit of shade while everyone else waxed lyrical about how wonderful the weather was for March, that and spouting out all the expected jokes: “Hur hur hur, Hope this isn’t all the summer we’re getting.” Sigh. God loves an optimist.
Mind you – he might have had a point.
Fast forward to this week.
Mornings are spent in front of the wardrobe pondering about what the weather might do today. Even over the course of a day it is changing so drastically that no-one really knows what to wear.
The end result is that a stroll through the town centre becomes an urban fashion show of eclectic mixes of clothing never before seen in public. Mini skirts worn with winter fur boots, sandals or flip flops with warm winter trousers. The younger girls have generally gone for the ‘Yay! It’s summer!’ look and totally embraced stringy vest tops and sandals accessorised with blue arms and lips which does rather spoil the whole ‘Yay! It’s summer’ look. Of course the universally acclaimed leggings and muffin top is still very popular whatever the season. Me? I’ve played it safe and gone for layers, lots and lots of layers.
Walking on the moors yesterday morning with the snow blowing horizontally and the wind trying it’s best to blow over we hardy dog walkers as we tried to catch a breath, it was so strong. That was in direct contrast to yesterday evening when it was warm, still and positively balmy – or do I mean barmy? Layers y’see. Whip off half a dozen layers and the job’s a good ‘un – except for the fact you then have to carry them all.
Weather eh? What else would we have to talk about if we didn’t have our good old unreliable English weather? Bring on the Pimms, I do believe it’s Pimms o’clock!
Now that’s how you know it’s summer!
Not really, that title was a total lie but it made me think for a second of sunny skies and the kind of warmth that seeps in to your bones and just makes everything alright with the world. If I just use a bit more imagination I can pretend that I’m in the Caribbean. I might help the process along by sticking some merengue music on and pouring myself a nice large Morgan’s Spiced Rum. By the time Boofuls gets home I could be swinging from the ceiling!
Thanks for your lovely comments while I was feeling sorry for myself. They really did make a difference and I’m nearly over it now. By nearly over it I mean I’ve stopped crying.
Things picked up fairly quickly yesterday afternoon. Not least because we had a dance lesson for the first time since teacher became ill in December. Isn’t it funny how you don’t realise how much you’ve missed something until it’s back. It wasn’t Teacher teaching us, he’s still far too poorly, it was his business partner, Lottie. It felt a bit strange having a different teacher but we soon all settled down. A quick brush up on a few waltz steps and a run through of the paso doble went a long way to restoring my spirits.
First thing this morning I had to drop my car off for yet another major operation just to get it to a point where it’s good enough to sell on. So after another cold and frosty night I scraped all the ice off the windscreen and set off on my to way to drop it off at the garage and then walk to my friend’s house to meet up for our weekly Weight Watchers weigh in. Apart from a small detour to the studio to drop off some stuff, that was pretty much the plan for this morning. The car park at the studio is a bit icy at the moment. Not icy as in a ‘Watch your step, it’s a bit icy’, kind of way. It’s more of a ‘Grab your skates and let’s put on our own Dancing on Ice show’, kind of way. I’ve seen quite a few people over the last few days use a bit of nifty footwork in order to stay upright on that car park, including me.
Just as I was leaving the studio it started to rain. The rain hit the icy ground, the icy car, the icy windows and instantly froze. The rain was even freezing as it hit the windscreen of the car and turning it into a nice frosted window, handy if you’re in a bathroom, not so handy if you’re driving a car. I had to stop every few hundred yards to clear it away until the heater kicked in enough to clear it.
The car was dropped off at the garage with instructions to phone me when it was ready and then, safe in the knowledge that I was properly dressed for the occasion in my walking boots and thick wooly socks ( as well as a few other items, not juts boots and socks. What do you think I am, some kind of weirdo? Ew!) I set off to bezzie mates, walking with my usual brisk ‘ don’t mess with me, weather, I’m a fell walker’ gait.
Five minutes into the walk;
Down I went on the icy pavement, sprawled on the floor like a tortoise stuck on it’s back.
Now, in this situation there is a tried and trusted series of events that must be followed – and I followed them to the letter.
1. Lie winded on the ground for a moment wondering what the hell just happened while mentally determining if any bones have been broken or vertebrae thrown out of alignment. Check.
2. Look around quickly to establish that no one saw you fall. Check
N.B. Items No. 1 and 2 are interchangeable.
3. Leap to your feet (Ok, it was more of a slippery, slidy, ungainly scramble to my feet using both hands and knees but it still counts.) Check.
4. Continue on your way as if nothing had happened, ignoring the stinging in whatever parts of your body hit the ground and trying not to limp/cry/rant at the unfairness of life. Check.
To be honest, people were falling over like nine pins. The main problem being that the streets looked wet, not icy. Cars were skating round all over the place, it was a bit like a three ring circus in the town centre. I saw traffic officers turn up to guide cars unable to stop going down the hills safely onto the main roads and I saw more than one person clinging to a lamp post too frightened to let go. You don’t feel quite so foolish when just about everyone is throwing themselves onto the ground with wild abandon.
Bezzie mate and me met up for Weightwatchers. I’m not talking about that bit because I’m just too narked. Why can’t I be a natural size 10, dammit? Half a pound indeed. At this rate it’ll be *counts on fingers and toes*……a bloody long time till I’m a size 10!
After Weightwatchers I picked the car back up and made my way home.
Very, very slowly.
The track down to our house isn’t so much a road as a bobsleigh run at the moment. Even the bits that don’t look frozen are frozen solid. That was an exciting journey!
The highlight of the day so far though has to be when I let the cat out of the back door. He ran out , skidded sideways on the ice and then tried and failed to regain his footing, running on the spot like a cartoon character before slithering off with his little legs going ten to the dozen, howling like a banshee. Was it too cruel of me to laugh?
I would go down to the barn to get the bag of salt and grit that I know we have stored in there for when we need to to de-ice the path – but I can’t get down to the barn because it’s just too icy and dangerous. Which means that it’s too dangerous to make it safe.
You have to love winter. Where’s the spiced rum?
No, silly, not Christmas, that’s been and gone.
I’m talking about that elusive snow.
We’ve been spoilt for snow for the last two winters and I’ve been hoping for the same this year. Every time the sky gets cloudy (which is all the time) I’ve been looking at it hopefully and declaring, “Oooooh, it looks like it might snow.” Of course all we’ve had instead is rain, millions and millions of gallons of the bloody stuff and it’s brought it’s bully boy friend along as well, a stiff and cold wind, to make things even more unpleasant.
Now, don’t try telling me that rain is just snow in a different form, you know, like they say rain is liquid sunshine in the Caribbean, it won’t wash with me. Rain in Blighty is just rain – except when it’s miserable, driving, icy cold rain – then it’s just ‘orrible rain.
I want my snow! Proper, white, fluffy, finger tingling, snow – and make it deep and crisp and even, as it says in the song. It’s been here by October for the last couple of years. What’s it done, gone and buggered off on a round the world cruise for a few months?
For days now the weather forecasters have been teasing us with it; ‘ It’s going to snow! The snow’s on it’s way.’ Only to follow it up with; ‘ Oh no, fooled ya! It was only hail, snow’s poor relation.’
They’ve been promising us snow for over a week now and I’ve just about imploded with excitement. Did I mention I love snow?
It’s much heralded and imminent arrival has been causing so much excitement. It’s been the talking point in this area for days.
“Have you heard? It’s to snow tonight.” “Oh, I heard it was Monday.” “Really? I saw gritters on the motorway so that must mean it’ll snow tonight.” and so on.
Love it or loath it, everyone’s talking about it and constantly looking out of the window to see if it’s arrived. Until finally, this afternoon…….
IT’S HERE! YAAAAAAYY!!!!
Now admittedly it’s a bit watery and insipid, not the big, fat, fluffy saucer sized flakes that quickly cover everything and make it look like a winter wonderland – but it’s a start. Hopefully it will get into the swing of things after it’s long vacation and build up to a proper snowfall overnight. If it does I’ll worry about how I’m going to get to work on Sunday. Until then I’m going to enjoy every glorious minute of it.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!
What an exciting week it’s been here, weatherwise. Our little town got hit by a tornado!
We don’t get tornados here!!
Luckily for me I’d wimped out of walking Mrs Woofy because of the pouring rain. The tornado hit at exactly the time we would have been in the woods.
While I was standing in the checkout queue at TKMaxx buying a few pressies for the clingons I heard an almighty rumbling followed by rain pounding on the roof deafeningly loudly. People in the queue looked at each other and smiled “Hark at that weather.” happy for once to be stuck in a queue and not released into the elements like the unlucky sods who got served just before us. They were legging it to their cars as fast as they could given the fact that they were instantly drenched and being blown around the car park like skittles.
It was all over in a minute or two when the rain eased off to a torrential downpour and the wind to a howling gale. At the time we just thought it was a bit of a nasty squall.
Of course it made the local news. ‘TORNADO HITS LANCASHIRE!!”
The roof was blown off a local pub, I bet that surprised a few afternoon drinkers. The main road had to be closed for a couple of hours while they cleared the roof from the road. The damage apparently amounted to tens of pounds.
Of course some smart alec had to put a comment on the article in the newspaper and say; * puts on smarmy voice* “Actually, it wasn’t a tornado, it was a funnel cloud. It’s only a tornado if it touches the ground.” Try telling that to the teachers in the nursery school who had to quickly shove the kids out of the way as their garden shed was ripped up from it’s concrete base and thrown at them by the storm. To them it was most certainly a tornado.
In Preston today it’s the annual charity Santa dash to raise money for St catherine’s hospice. Think I might do it next year. I do feel a bit sorry for the people doing it this year, it’s a horrible day with lashing rain, hailstones and a cold easterly wind. (update on that since this morning when I wrote it – It’s been snowing!!! Yaaaaayy!! I love snow!).
Boofuls is away tonight for one of his meetings. That leaves me, Big N and the cats. I’ve taken the opportunity while it’s been quiet to get on with a bit of DIY. I’ve painted the ceiling in the utility room again and also stripped the wall behind the bed in our bedroom ready for re papering with the fabulous sparkly paper I bought a few weeks ago. In addition to that I’ve been painting the office at work and generally trying to spruce everything up, hence my absence from blogging for a few days. Once it’s all done I can think about trimming up for Christmas.
Talking of trimming up. Christmas trees are a ridiculous price this year. For the size of tree Boofuls and I normally get were looking at about £60!!! For the first time ever I have seriously considered getting an artificial tree. I can get a bloody good one for that kind of money and it’ll last for years. With that and the environmental reasons for getting a fake tree I must say it’s beginning to look rather an attractive option – offset by the fact that I’ll have to buy loads of pine scented toilet blocks to hang on the branches and make it smell like a real tree.
Well folks. It’s time for my bed. G’night all. Sleep tight, hope the bugs don’t bite.
So, here it is, Christmas Eve.
Actually, 7.00 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
Is it the excitement of the big day tomorrow or the thought of all the work I have to get through between now and then to make the magic happen for the family that has driven me out of my bed at such a stupidly early hour when I’m not working or could it something a bit more mundane? Something like, for instance, the snore meister driving out of my warm, comfy bed once again?
Yup. You got it in one. It’s the snore meister striking again. I could have done a bit of striking of my own but decided that it wouldn’t be good for marital harmony. No amount of bellowing “SHUDDUP!” in his ear or poking him with a sharp elbow made any difference so I got up to chat with you instead.
I’m feeling a bit cheated in the Christmas tree department this year. The tree we got is undoubtedly very beautiful, bedecked as it is in all it’s finery. It isn’t a hump backed tree or suffering from any kind of male pattern baldness, it doesn’t lean awkwardly and is beautifully proportioned, it isn’t stunted in height nor does it go in for streaking by shedding all it’s needles every time everyone looks at it the wrong way.
Sounds like a perfectly well behaved, polite and well brought up tree, doesn’t it. It just has the one MAJOR fault.
It smells of………..nothing.
Where’s the gorgeous evocative christmas tree smell that fills me with nostalgia and makes my tum tickle with excitement at the thought of Christmas being just a few days away? There isn’t even a whiff of it. Before you ask. No. I didn’t buy a fake tree by mistake. I know there are some very good ones around but even I’m not that stupid, stressful as it’s been over the last week or two.
Am I? I’d better go and check. No. It’s definitely real!
I may have to go and squirt toilet cleaner all over it to make it smell of pine and then tie a few cinnamon sticks to it for added depth and then get a dog or two to pee up it for the finishing touches.
My poor posh cat has had a time of it this last week or two.
Firstly, I set about him with a grooming brush and clippers a couple of weeks ago. Every winter his fur gets matted but this year it was worse than normal so I ended up clipping huge great rugs from each side of him. I’ve since been seen down the local market hawking thses rugs since his fur is as lovely and soft as pashmina. I got a good price for them as well, I can tell you. Great lumps of cat fur are now gracing the doorsteps of local gentry. I’ve also been selling the fur that I’ve extracted as I’ve combed him to local gypsies who have been sending it to the gnome down the road to weave into a tapestry for the forthcoming royal wedding. (I’ve been watching too many pantomimes!).
What? Don’t believe me? You don’t think one cat can possibly have had that much fur removed? Well just take a look:
So apart from the shame of being shaved and sporting a very trendy (if I say so myself) mohican. The poor creature has since developed a problem with his ear. I noticed it the other night when he sat under the Christmas tree crying. I thought he was crying because it had no scent and he felt a bit cheated but it turned out he was crying because a lump the size of a grape had appeared in his ear and was clearly causing him great distress.
Off to the vet we popped. The cat had needles stuck into his ears and came out minus 10 mls of blood that they drained off his ear. I came out minus the £60 they drained off me. All’s well that end’s well, I hear you thinking.
But no, that would be far too simple. After risking losing my face administering the ear drops as I’d been instructed, I noticed the lump had returned.
Back to the vet’s we popped, this time with the cat growling ‘ you’re gonna pay for this, bitch’ under his breath at me all the way.
The vet stuck the needle in his ear again. And again. And again. All the while the cat looked at me malevolently, the threat of retribution in his eye as he held my gaze. “We need a bigger syringe,” the vet announced. The cat’s legs buckled, as did mine. Poor kitty had a huge needle stuck in his ear followed by another one, this time injecting him with steroid.
Steroid! Don’t give him steriods!! He’ll be wrestling Great Danes to the ground with one paw! Not to mention what he’s going to do to me when we get home!!
With instructions to give him yet more ear drops, this time in both ears, we were sent away once again, ear and wallet both stinging.
Unsurprisingly, the cat won’t come near me now. He sits on the landing, kissing his steroid built muscles like a body builder and staring at me as if daring me to approach him. The ear drop game is developing into the sport of cat wrestling. I think we may start to sell tickets soon. If I’m going to lose my face via the cat’s claws I may as well make some money out of it!
The snow and ice have resolutely stayed with us. As you already know, I love this weather. Not so much when it comes to driving on it but you can’t have everything.
Isn’t it funny how you develop new strategies and adapt behaviours as conditions change?
I used to get in my car and drive away. Easy.
Now I get in my car, sit sideways on the seat and clap my feet together like a seal for a minute or two. Not for the entertainment of passing strangers, or in the hope of getting the odd mackerel thrown to me, you understand. It’s to get rid of all the ice on my boots before I set off driving. One scare too many in the, ‘feet sliding off brake pedal’ department soon taught me that strategy – and if I get the occasional mackerel as a result then that’s just a bonus, isn’t it?
Just to keep the winter theme going, here are a few more photos:
And finally: Hasn’t Baby Bunting grown?