Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 - Year of the wader?

In my last post I commented on the volume of rain we had experienced in the first few days of this year. Since then it was rained...and rained...and, well you get the idea. Showers. Torrential downpours. Sheets of the stuff driven by fierce winds. It has rained almost every day. So heavily was it bucketing down on Saturday that Wealdstone FC's home game (they play not far from my house) had to be halted for ten minutes. We have now, in beautiful Ruislip, had 50% more rain this month than in any January in the past 15 years. That is a huge amount of excess water and a lot of it is still lying in the back of my garden.

It has also been amazingly mild, with no overnight frosts of any consequence, and many bright intervals (in between the storms) so it feels like Spring has arrived, When I strolled round the local woods at the weekend I saw more squirrels than I have ever seen before in that area, gangs of them chasing up and down the leafless trees and foraging in competition with the two dominant bird species in these parts - pigeons and magpies.

The contrast with the freezing winters of the past few years is striking. This is the time of year I normally realise that I don't know where the ice scraper and anti-freeze have got to and there is a fruitless search of the inner recesses of the garage. As it happens I know where these usually-vital items are because I checked a few weeks ago but my point is that, even if I didn't know, it wouldn't matter.

Enough of matters meteorological. What of the commuting I hear you cry [I don't hear nuthin': Ed] There is nothing to report. I have had the longest extended break from work (barring a bit of illness) since I started my career back in the days when you said "new p" for a coin, Britain had a rollicking sailor-lad for PM and VAT was something horrendous that we were about to introduce as part of the conditions for joining something known as the EEC. So there we must leave it.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

2014 - Year of the Welly?

The year has started as 2013 left off, with heavy rain, gales, massive seas and flooding across the country.  Coastal towns all round Britain have been battered, and I use that word literally, by rocks and debris hurled up by huge waves. Even here in beautiful Ruislip we have already had most of a normal January's rainfall. It's been fairly mild, fortunately. Meanwhile unprecedented cold conditions prevail in North America where Arctic air is pushing down as far as Texas and the remants of that blast are on their way to us.

So I've been bailing out the little pond in the back garden as a way of keeping the water levels down generally (because water drains into it from the surrounding bricks) and sweeping water off the patio to prevent the buildup of a sort of lagoon; the last thing we want is to have mosquitos breeding in the warm,wet conditions. The thick London clay on which much of Middlesex stands makes for poor drainage so it's lucky (for us) that we live relatively high above the Thames flood plain (and right now that plain is well and truly flooded and overspilling into places like Chertsey and Oxford).

I've always disliked Wellington boots because they give poor support to the feet but maybe the time has come to invest in a cheap pair - of course, the moment I do it will all dry up, there will be a drought, empty reservoirs, farmers holding withered crops and the inevitable hosepipe ban. You can't win, you know.