Tag Archives: rain

It could have gone better…

We went down to the Mencap garden tonight to drop off a donation of plants from one of the neighbours. We have Japanese anemone, Michaelmas daisies, buddleia and raspberries. I’ve also donated my tea plants as they can make a better job of looking after them than I will.

The Magpies were waiting.

There were two on the roof of the shed, two perching on the fence and two standing on top of a lamp post. One was perching in a tree and one was pottering around in the grass. He’s the one that we think acts like a stroppy teenager. We assume it’s a “he” because girls don’t act like stroppy teenagers. If Magpies wore baseball caps his would be on backwards.

We’ve never seen eight at one time at the gardens before.

The first part of the afternoon was less interesting.

It involved eating soup (which went well) but then deteriorated as I took two bags of books to the charity shop. It started to rain as I parked the car. I grabbed a lightweight rain jacket from the back seat and managed to empty one of the bags of books onto the floor.

As slapstick goes it was a polished and faultless move.

After parting with the books, which still hurts as I talk about it, I decided to use the available light to photograph some bits and pieces. (I find the light in the car better than the interior of the house at this time of year). I hadn’t locked the door of the battery compartment last time I opened it.

They fell out.

I put them back.

And at that point I realised I hadn’t put the card in.

I was so wet I steamed up the inside of the car. This took a while to clear and gave me time to brood on the unfairness of life.

Then I went home, where Julia told me she had a job for me. That brings us back to the top of the page…

Being British, and Spending a Penny

It rained all night, drying up in time to drive to work. I then returned home to collect a parcel for delivery in Newark and arrived at Newark Market just as the thunder claps started. After that rain stopped it became quite hot, I took my coat off, and the sky clouded over again. I left before the dark grey sky could fulfil its threat. On the way home the weather was remarkably pleasant, actually being sunny and hot.

Weather talk is typically British, I admit. I will therefore move onto something typically middle-aged.

I needed the toilet when I arrived in Newark. The one nearest the car park has been closed for some years now, as part of the “improvements” to the town centre. However, I knew there were toilets in the Town Hall (which is also home to the museum and a half-derelict shopping centre). Problem solved, you would think. But no, those are closed too – only one “Accessible” toilet remains, and that wasn’t accessible because you need a RADAR key.

Now, I’m not disabled, but I’m not very mobile either. That means that although I’m not ready to admit to needing a RADAR key, it’s not very easy to climb the stairs in the pub next door. Anyway, I have a conscience about using pub toilets if I’m not using the pub.

Enquiries revealed that there are toilets round the back  of the shopping centre, not far from where I started. If I’d looked to my right instead of walking straight on as I left the car park I may have seen the grey-coloured sign suspended high on a wall. Even when you are close you can’t see it very well.

You then have to insert 20p, in 5,10 or 20p coins. I only had a 50p so had to ask a passer-by for change because they have a sign telling you they don’t give change. Twenty pence – that’s 48 times what it used to cost when I was a lad and “spending a penny” was a term you used to hear.

Two attendents were chatting in a cubbyhole, though one had gone by the time I emerged – some evidence that the rate-payer’s cash isn’t being totally wasted. Neither looked like this was the job of their dreams.

Newark markets itself as a tourist destination – based on today’s experience they have some way to go, which is sad as they’ve been doing it longer than I can remember (by which I mean around 30 years) and show no evidence of even getting the basics right.

In typical British fashion I made my feelings known be emitting a low-pitched but definite “humph!” as I left.

I am seriously thinking of writing a stiff letter to the council.

Raindrops Keep Falling

I was wakened around 5am by the sound of rain, at which point my bladder became rather more active than I was and forced me reluctantly from my bed. A little later, around 6am, I was roused by a small, sharp elbow and the question: “What time do you think it is?”

The answer did not seem to meet with her approval.

“There’s no need to use language like that. If I could see the clock I wouldn’t need to ask you.”

I really don’t think she needed to ask me anyway. That’s why I set the alarm on the phone. If it isn’t sounding, you don’t need to know.

At 6.45 it was much the same again, a huge sigh followed by: “I might as well get up now, I can’t get back to sleep because of the rain.”

I indicated that I too was suffering from a broken sleep, though I had no intention of showing myself to a grey, wet morning before the alarm went off.

By 7.45 we were in a queue on the ring road (there are always queues when it rains – I’ve never quite worked out why) , and shortly after 8.00 we were at the garden. Julia had not been able to clear up the glass on Thursday as the Scenes of Crime Officer had not finished until it was time for her to go to her evening shift at the Leisure Centre.

We hadn’t been able to get access on Friday before she had to go to the other site and she has been busy since then. Nobody, not even the Monday Group, who were there all day yesterday (as the name suggests), has bothered to offer a hand with the cleaning up.

While she went to find the caretaker for the keys (he has fitted a new set of door handles for her) I was sent to ASDA for cleaning equipment. They have a special offer on – dustpan, brush, squeegee, washing up brush, scrubbing brush and sponge for £4, compared to £3 just for the dustpan and brush. The fact that I feel the need to report this indicates that I am turning into my father, who often came back from shopping with a “bargain” whether he needed it or not.

I did a bit more shopping on the way round (there were some good offers on) and rolled up to the cash register to find that my debit card wouldn’t work. I only had £10 in my pocket so stuck to the cleaning equipment and stationery. (It worked fine when I used the ATM on leaving the shop, so despite the implications of the lady on the till, I did have enough funds to cover a £17 bill).

We had to break the remaining glass, which was more difficult than it sounds. Glass never breaks when you want it to. I gave it a sharp tap with the edge of a hand gardening fork, because I just wanted to break the remaining half pane in two. It was a good plan, but glass rarely cooperates. Instead,  it bounced the fork back at me, coming perilously close to hitting me in the face.

So I tried again. Harder. With predictably perilous results.

Obviously I’m not going to be bested by half a pane of glass, so I tried a trowel next.  A good hard tap from the trowel, which wasn’t as springy as the fork, produced a result. Well it did if you define result as “explosion of glass splinters”.

With hindsight I should have allowed for the extra rigidity and not hit it so hard. Or had Julia standing there with a bag to catch the bits. In my own defence I would point out that I had asked for tape to put on the glass to hold it together, like the blast tape on WW2 windows. Unfortunately we didn’t have any tape.

Anyway, all the broken glass is cleared and swept away. This is fortunate because it’s still raining and they will be wanting the container today.

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Acanthus, or Bear’s Breeches.  No, I don’t know why.

 

It’s still raining now.

However, as a Dyno-Rod van is working down the street I can confidently say that someone is having a worse day than me.

 

 

A Tale of Two Cyclists

Second post of the day!

I’ve already written about the Ospreys, in an effort to catch up from last week, and now I’m going to write about bad weather and bicycles because that was the story of the morning.

On the way into town we came to the junction where a bus lane and two lanes of traffic squeeze into two lanes. It’s where I lost my mirror to a badly driven bus a few months ago. It’s also near where the town gallows used to stand and conveniently close to a cemetery. A couple of years ago I was caught on camera there and fined £30 for transferring to a bus lane five car lengths too early. All in all it’s a junction of ill-omen.

On the approach to the junction we had to stop when a cyclist pressed the button to stop traffic at a pedestrian crossing before riding across.

Highway Code Rule 79:  Do not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing.

Once across the road he proceeded to ride on the pavement, forcing several pedestrians out of his way.

Highway Code Rule 64: You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.  (Their bold capitals, not mine).

Fortunately, just when this was in danger of becoming a discussion about the lawless ways of two-wheeled reprobates, we spotted a second cyclist.

He was struggling in the rain and traffic and just missed being clipped by a bus mirror as he pulled out of the bus lane in front of me. After stopping he failed to get his shoe clipped back on the pedal and lurched in front of a second bus. As an encore he then repeated the manoeuvre and lurched the other way. Fortunately I was far enough back for it not to be an issue.

I have seldom seen such fortitude displayed in the face of  adversity. In the old days he would have been leading a bayonet charge or discovering the source of an exotic river. Modern life is short on bayonets and undiscovered rivers, so it’s nice to see an area of everyday life where fortitude can still be displayed.

 

Sharlston Rovers v Nottingham Outlaws

It was always going to be a stiff test today because Sharlston Rovers are a long-established club. Founded around 1881, they won their first cup in 1895 (The Wakefield and District Cup) and have an impressive record of winning and producing professional players, including three winners of the Lance Todd Trophy.

Outlaws  were founded in 1999. We won a few things, notably the Harry Jepson Trophy in 2008. I say “we”, though my role in the victory was confined to a bit of light spectating and the offering of advice to the match officials, who completely ignored me.

Despite the lack of history and pedigree we didn’t look too bad for most of the time.

It’s hard playing Rugby League in Yorkshire, because they grow up playing it, where most of the Outlaws come to it via Rugby Union. The two games may seem similar, but they are quite different in places and it sometimes shows.

There are other differences, but this might not be the time or place to mention my views on Yorkshire Rugby League.

We arrived about ten minutes late to find that the skies were blue and Outlaws were in the lead. Neither would last.

First the rain came, then Sharlston equalised. We scored again, but missed the kick, and when Sharlston scored again they nailed the kick to lead by two points.

We exhibited a certain amount of defensive frailty, as they say and fell six more points behind. At that point the crowd started to relax and the whining stopped (there’s nothing as whiney as a Yorkshireman under pressure).

This proved to be the story of the second half too, as our continuing defensive troubles allowed Sharlston in a couple more times. We kept them under pressure and forced several schoolboy errors, like a long pass to the wing that went into touch. Embarrassing.

Having played RL in Yorkshire for several years Number Two son clapped that error in a display of Yorkshire sportsmanship. He knows how to twist the knife.

The best part of the day was seeing one of our players make his First Team debut. He started as an Under 9 and Number One son used to coach him. It was worth the trip just to see that and hear Number One son say “I’m feeling very old now”.

I know that feeling.

It was a trip down memory lane for Number Two son too. During his Yorkshire playing days he’d been carded by today’s ref and been in a fight with one of the Sharlston players (who was then playing for Featherstone Lions).

I am such a proud parent.

Final score 26 – 10. It was closer than the score suggests for most of the match.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for the Rainbow

It rained this afternoon, as you can tell from the top picture. That yellow blur in the middle of the picture is Julia’s jumper as she traverses the car park at TESCO.

However, as both Dolly Parton and G K Chesterton tell us: Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

There was no rainbow today, which would have rounded off things nicely, but we did have a cream tea, so it was worth getting wet.

That was my part of the mission – whilst Julia shopped I waited until the rain slackened off, bought lottery tickets and selected two cream teas. Then I waited in the cafe… and waited…

It’s difficult to judge the best time to buy a cream tea when you’re waiting for someone who is shopping. It’s made more difficult when they have a habit of haphazard browsing. And, let’s face it, when you’re looking at a cream tea and salivating it can be a testing twenty minutes.

Eventually Julia’s random retail activities ended and we were able to start the cream tea. The scones weren’t too bad, the company was good (well, I thought it was, Julia may have another view) and despite a nagging feeling of guilt about the calorie intake, I enjoyed getting out.

I suppose it’s possible for a rainbow to be metaphorical.

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Eventually the rain eased up.

Whilst checking for rainbow quotes I found this quote from G K Chesterton.This one isn’t about rainbows, it’s about grandmothers, but it is quite interesting.

The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.

If I Ruled the World

According to the song, if I ruled the world every day would be the first day of spring.

Looking out of my window I’m not sure that would be a good thing. I’ve been looking forward to Spring, but I’d rather assumed it would feature flowers, blossom and warm weather. Currently, we are about four hours into Spring (which officially started at 10.28 am GMT) and the cold rain has only just stopped. I’m still waiting for the sun to break through, but I fear I may be waiting in vain.

The rest of the week looks equally miserable (and so do I).

For those of you reading in the Southern Hemisphere, congratulations on your Autumn Equinox, and apologies that the rest of it may make no sense. I suppose that somewhere down there you must have cold rain and cloudy skies, but I find it hard to imagine.

However, back at the opening sentence, if I ruled the world things would be different, even if if I couldn’t control the weather.

I won’t go into detail, because the sun has just emerged unexpectedly and I’m off out. Here are a few photos to put you in mind of Spring.

See you later. 🙂