Tag Archives: frost

Cold Hands and Royal Mail – a Disappointing Day

Sorry, I have become erratic in my posting again.

However, it’s a case of swings and roundabouts and, in the matter of napping, I have become much more consistent. I suppose it all depends on whether I want to be known for my ability to write, or my ability to sleep through the boring bits on TV. The amazing thing is that I can sleep for a couple of hours in a chair, get up and start doing something. In a bed, which is supposedly designed for sleep, I can still only sleep for a couple of hours at a time, and wake up feeling like I’ve been tied in a knot.

It is, I suppose, part of the process of growing old, and I am now starting to realise the significance of my father’s words on the subject as he grew older.

I worked today, despite it being Wednesday, as the owner was due back from holiday and we wanted to ensure a seamless transition. I can have time off, or the money. If I have the time off I will end up sitting in a cold house waiting for Julia to come home, so I may as well go to work.

As I cleared the frost from the car this morning, my hands became so cold that I couldn’t get the seat belt on when I got in the car. That’s the trouble with being in a country that doesn’t have enough winter to prepare for it properly.

We have had another parcel go missing, this time a significant one. The Track and Trace system can’t tell us anymore than the fact that it’s in the hands of the Royal Mail, which is pretty useless. To be honest, the Royal Mail has been poor for a significant time now, due to the strikes. Julia posted a parcel to Canada in early November and it didn’t leave the UK until after Christmas. Since the attempted ransomware attack last week, nothing has left the country and we haven’t been able to send new parcels. We have only had two overseas parcels to post recently, so it isn’t a big deal for us. It seems they will be starting limited overseas deliveries tomorrow, but they will be very limited – letters not requiring customs stickers. That’s no use to us.

Straw Bale Bowie Bear

Chilly . . .

The flower in the picture was waiting for Julia when she arrived at the garden yesterday.  Today followed much the same pattern as yesterday, though we did put the cover on the car windscreen so there was less to clear.

It was -4 when e set off this morning and -2 when I emerged from work. This is probably regarded as shirt sleeve weather in Canada, but we find it quite chilly. The houses opposite the shop still had frost on the roof so I expect it had been that temperature for much of the day. I’m getting too old for this. Old bones need more warmth.

I’ve done some proper menu planning for the first time in ages. It’s not so much that we need to plan the food, but it can be a bit cold in the kitchen (to the extent of food thawing faster in the fridge than if we leave it on the work surface) due to our budgetary restraints. The menu planning is not so much about maximising nutrition as minimising time spent in the kitchen.  If I can organise things to cook two or three meals at a time the kitchen is warm enough. If I just want to chop a few veg and bake one thing it can be an inhospitable place.


One day we will look back on this time and realise that we would have been better spending the money and keeping warm. To be honest, we’d have been better moving house thirty years ago while we were both working. We could have bought one that wasn’t draughty, and which didn’t front up to the north wind quite so much. Being on a ridge, we get a good view and flooding isn’t a problem. However, it can be a bit breezy.

That’s enough for now. I need to sit by the fireside talking to Julia and sipping tea, but mainly, eating cake. We have quite a lot of cake to eat (lemon and blueberry) because it was reduced and it called out to her as she passed the shelf  . . .

First Frost and That Time of Year Again

We had our first frost today. It was very late this year. If I’d been a better diarist over the years I would be able to compare it properly, but can’t. Tonight, a day late, I put the cover on my windscreen to prevent it frosting up. It probably won’t freeze now, though they were gritting roads tonight so the council must expect it. We’ve been lucky so far but, realistically, winter hasn’t really started yet.

I’m spending my evenings daydreaming about the house I will build if I win the lottery. This isn’t the one in an air-conditioned bubble in the desert, this is the slightly mor realistic one with ground source heat pumps, solar panels, a windmill and lots of insulation. I’ve not decided whether to build it into the side of a hill yet, but will probably have a garage I can drive straight into. And a narrow gauge railway for taking the bins to the bottom of the drive.

This, of course, relies on a larger win that my normal disappointing wins of between £2 and £5. It always seems like I’ve used all my luck up with one of those wins, when I would rather save all my luck up for one big win. Sadly, the laws of probability don’t seem to work like that. It’s a bit like good luck charms – if that “lucky” rabbit’s foot was really that lucky it would still be attached to a rabbit.

I’ve just been looking at my household insurance renewal. We have never claimed on it and it has just gone up by 25%. The broker I use lost my car insurance business with an outlandish renewal price a couple of years ago and it looks like they are heading the same way with the house now. There’s something distinctly unsavoury about insurance companies and the way prices rise at random. The problem I always have at this time of year is that I’m too busy to mess around with quotes so I tend to nod it through. To be fair their prices have always been reasonable, but this move is a bit steep.

I’ll give them another year, but after that it looks like it will be the end. Once an insurance broker loses your trust, the end is not far away.

Frosted bamboo

Photos are from December 2017 – a colder winter.

More Time Passes

It is getting colder and I am wearing more layers. As we move into December I have to remind myself that it is only 15 days until the shortest day. I like the idea of more daylight, and the year starting to turn towards spring already. I am less keen on the thought of my life rushing by. It is now only five days until I have to inject myself again, and I need to organise two blood tests. I just hope that I don’t run out of blood.

Casting an eye over various things, I noted a BBC podcast titled “Why do we procrastinate?” I’ve made a mental note to go back and read it when I have time. There is so much interesting stuff available on the internet that it is hard to keep up.

We have frost forecast for the coming week, but so far it has been very mild. This is probably a surprise to those of you living in cold places, as we rattle on about winter so much in UK but rarely have much real winter weather. I have never, for instance, felt the need to wear snow shoes when going about my normal business in winter, or to use a snow blower. Mostly we sprinkle a bit of salt about and walk carefully. Photographs from a few years ago show frost, but I haven’t had to clear my windscreen yet, though this may change.

It’s getting close to Christmas, and with more Post Office strikes coming, I really must send the cards, as all the final delivery dates have been rescheduled. I am starting to worry about the future of our postal service. The constant strikes, on top of the reduced service levels suffered since Covid, are very wearing, particularly as prices keep rising as service levels decline. eBay is already starting to recommend alternatives, which is worrying when you consider how much Royal Mail depends on eBay business. I wonder how long it will be before we see a catastrophic change in UK postal services. You can send emails instead of letters, and use other delivery services for parcels, but what about Christmas? Emails are not an acceptable substitute for Christmas cards.

Day 6

Day 6 already!

The recent January heatwave passed, and we had ice to scrape before we could use the car – not quite the first of winter, but the first seriously frosted up car. So far we have had a remarkably mild winter. That said, it’s still a bit chilly in the house, particularly with my self-imposed ban on putting on the dining room fire while I’m on the computer.

I don’t like nuclear power with its associated risks, but I think I might prefer it to being at the mercy of other countries for our gas supplies. Until a few years ago I didn’t realise how dependent we are on fuel imports. First thing to do is to cut down on population, something we can start on by burning the u8nemployed top produce warmth for the rest of us.

I suppose I ought to point out that’s a joke, before I get into trouble, but I’m not so sure whether I am joking.

Cannibalism is another possibility but that will probably come anyway. In nature, if you crowd animals they start to behave badly and I can’t see humans being much better. Governments always drag their feet and in a couple of hundred years, as we sit on our steadily decreasing island with erosion, global warming, rising sea levels and most of our farm land under either concrete or solar panels, I can see bad times ahead. Even chickens, the stupidest and least impressive of warriors (hence the name “chicken”) turn into blood-soaked killing machines when the natural balance is disturbed.

Perhaps this would make a good plot for a dystopian novel. Then again, bearing in mind the number of people keeping chickens in their gardens, perhaps not . . .

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. On a more cheerful note, we only have six parcels to wrap today and we had vegetable stew and dumplings for tea. Spiced Sweet Potato soup for lunch tomorrow and hopefully more parcels to pack. It was going to be celery soup, but we have too many sweet potatoes so some of them had to go.

That’s all for now. See you tomorrow for a lighter look at the future of the human race.


The Geese Take Flight

It was a generally average Saturday. Nippy enough to tell you it was autumn but not cold enough for a coat. Moderate amount of activity in the shop and time enough to increase my knowledge of eBay. I have decided I need to become a better eBay user, both for my work and for myself. I really can’t put it off much longer as I need to reduce my collection and generate some cash.

The photographs are more from the visit to the gardens earlier in the week. There is a threat of frost this weekend and I thought I’d get a few final shots of the nasturtiums before the frost flattens them. The first frost and the devastated nasturtiums is, for me, the saddest sight of the year.

The header picture shows a skein of geese flying south. During the summer they fly in to the Trent every morning, where they gather on the river to feed and mug passers-by. AS winter moves on, they start flying away instead. It can be tricky taking a picture of geese in the sky with just a scratched screen for a viewing aid. I just pointed the camera at the honking and pressed the button every time the green square indicated I was focussed on something. It seemed to work.


I will close now as I need to get on with a few jobs.

The Post I Meant to Write…

Just before I opened my email from the Royal Agricultural Society, this is the post I meant to write. The last post was merely a Jacobin rant, this one is about nature. It’s better for me than politics.


A model of me in the garden

There’s not much to say as it’s late and the pictures can do the talking.

The pop-bottle poppies are still looking good after two years – Julia was going to take them down last year but everyone asked for them to stay up.

This is the “hedge” between the Mencap plot and the school plot. It’s willow clippings with ivy planted to grow through it.

And finally – some birds. There would have been more but a sparrowhawk swooped by and scared them all away.


Great tits on feeder – Nottingham

Winter Came

We had a touch of winter this morning. It had been frosty last night so I covered the windscreen and went to bed. It turned out to be a good decision and saved a lot of scraping this morning.

It was about minus 4 degrees Centigrade this morning or minus 7 for Number Two Son when he left work out in the countryside). That’s 25 and 19 for those of you working in Fahrenheit – nippy, but a long way from being a polar vortex. So far, despite the gloomy hysteria of the newspapers, it’s been quite a reasonable winter. It’s often like that – newspapers never like the facts to get in the way of a good story.

It’s the same with our exit from Europe – all all gloom and doom with tales of starvation and shortage. We probably will suffer shortages, but mainly because of panic-buyers, not true shortages. I remember this back in the 1970’s – shortages of bread, sugar and toilet rolls come to mind.

I’m going to buy an extra pack of toilet rolls and some tins of beans and corned beef. That, I expect, will see us through.

Anyway, back to the weather – have a look at the photos. It was a good morning for photographs.

These four show variations in colour as I used the camera to pep up the colour. The enhanced photos aren’t too far from the truth, though the greyer ones are probably closer to the truth.

And here are a couple of birds – one Great Tit flying off as I tried to picture it feeding, and one Blackbird assuming an air of mystery in the frosty grass.

Clumber Park

We had 13 packages to send off this morning, including two very expensive bank notes and two very cheap football cards (my labours of last week bearing fruit!).

Then I took Julia to lunch and decided to get some use out of our National Trust membership. Last year, we didn’t get a lot of use out of them. We went to Clumber Park, which isn’t far from the spot where I took the bluebell pictures yesterday.

It’s home to a number of things including a lake, which I photographed a few times last year, and a chapel which featured in a few photos.

This time we decided to visit the kitchen garden. It’s an excellent place, and very well designed. There’s a massive lean-to greenhouse up against a south-facing wall and a gentle slope to let the cold air flow away downhill. I didn’t walk all the way down, but I’m pretty sure there will be holes in the wall to let the cold air flow away. They designed things better in those days.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Hopefully they won’t say something bad.


And finally.


Cream Tea at Clumber Park

It’s a hard life, but I’m coping…

Flowers in the Frost

It was a bit cold this morning – minus 3.5 degrees C according to my car. With a bit of a breeze and the proximity of the River Trent it felt even colder. I started taking photos and twenty minutes later, when my hands could no longer feel the button, I called it a day and sat in the car with the heater on. Julia continued her inspection, declared the garden closed for the day and started ringing round to reorganise things.


Frozen solid and minus three and a half degrees, though the moles are still active

I think it’s fair to say that they enjoyed themselves more in the main building than they would have done in the garden.


There was still plenty to see, though it was mostly droopy and covered in frost crystals. I tried to get some sun into the pictures but it was a bit low in the sky, and concealed behind trees.


A cold-looking garden gnome

The poppies, meanwhile, are standing up to the cold weather better than the real flowers.


From there I dropped Julia at the main building and went to the jewellers to get a safety chain fitted to one of her Christmas presents. I will say no more…

I managed to do some shopping before my return home and a session of writing Christmas cards and blogging before starting to cook tea.

This is the street, complete with frozen snow. Despite the forecast of higher temperatures I fear it may last a week or more, and continue to be a hazard underfoot.


A wintry scene