Tag Archives: winter

Snow!

The Council doesn’t seem to have gritted last night, with the result that the roads are worse than they were during the last snow.  Everyone knew it was coming, apart, it seems, from the man who arranges the gritting.

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Before…

This was the picture at 5.30 this morning. After a Saturday of snow flurries it finally started to settle overnight and was completely white by morning. We have four inches, which hardly qualifies as snow in some countries, but is big news in the UK, particularly in March. The TV weather report has just claimed six inches for Nottingham, so it may be worse in places.

What I really want is some warm Spring weather and a few flower pictures. There are plenty of flowers coming out, but it always seems to be a grey day when I have a chance for photography.

The outlook isn’t too bad, though I’m not sure how good it will be by the end of the day when I go to pick Julia up. The TV weather reports keep telling us where the snow will appear during the day, but is a bit short on information about when ours will melt.

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Snow in Sherwood, Notts

I’m beginning to see mental pictures of Vladimir Putin as Ming the Merciless in the film Flash Gordon. As I recall, it starts with an outbreak of bad weather caused by and evil, bald mega-villain.

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Normally I use my own photos, but I’m short of galactic supervillains so I’ve sourced one on the internet. I’m hoping that by giving a link to the film they will forgive me for lifting the photo.

This is the “After” photo, taken in the light after I got home. Time to blog and eat breakfast now.

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After…

A Misty Morning and Thoughts of Mortality

It was, as the title suggestd, misty this morning. Due to Julia’s start time it was also dark, so there was no photo-opportunity. I may try again later.

Mist, which can be a nuisance on a long trip, is always welcome at this time of year because it tells me that Spring is coming. There’s a fine line between yearning for Spring and wishing your life away. and this year is probably the first time I’ve felt this quite so sharply. The last twelve months has made me focus on health, age and mortality in a way I’ve never done before.

It’s also the first year where I’ve been so aware that there’s more to winter than crisp mornings and a nip in the air. This year I’ve had to worry about falling and  the fact that I need to keep warm. O;d people die in winter, and I’ve been feeling old. In fact I’ve been feeling Very Old for the last few weeks as all my joints seems to have turned up the pain setting. If I was youmger I’d insert a Spinal Tap reference here about the pain levels being turned up to eleven. But I’m old. So I won’t.

They used to say that one of the signs of old age was that the policemen were looking younger. That happened ages ago, and didn’t really bother me. My personal milestone, is that Life Peers seem to be getting younger. I’ve added a link for readers who aren’t familiar with the UK’s constitution arrangements but, frankly, it doesn’t help.

All you need to know is that in the old days (basically from the dawn of time until 1958) if you worked hard, did your best and tried to be a useful member of society you would be allowed to wear yourself out and die.

If you added a layer of corruption, politics, back-stabbing, lick-spittling and (often) cash to that , you could become a Peer. In fact, let’s face it, if you did enough of this, you could get by without the hard work, doing your best and being a useful member of society. If you look at the current crop of Peers it’s hard to see many that will be of any use until we have Soylent Green on the menu.  Having lied, cheated and bribed your way to the top you could then pass on your title to future generations of inbred offspring.

All this changed in 1958. After 1958 you were generally no longer allowed to pass it on, and there was more politics involved. Because if you want to improve something, adding more input from politicians really is the way to go, isn’t it?

Getting back to the point, Life Peers are looking younger. To add insult to injury, they also remind me of my lack of success as  they all look sleeker, richer and socially superior to me.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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A wintry scene

Snow

We had some snow today. That’s English snow – measured by the flake rather than the inch. After two attempts we have a very sparse scattering, which will no doubt freeze overnight and, as our street gets no sun in winter, stick about for a week or so causing problems.

That’s how we deal with snow in England, acting surprised, being under-prepared and letting a few flakes close down the entire country. No doubt we will have train delays and car accidents tomorrow. I can’t help thinking that other places do it better. It’s unlikely, for instance, that Canadians or Scandinavians would even recognise this sprinkling as snow.

Fortunately the urban population of the UK is plentifully provided with Chelsea Tractors.

I will keep my opinion of such things to myself. It’s not that I’m short of opinions, but Julia has given me a list of jobs to do ready for her Open Day tomorrow.

The Last Nasturtiums

I’ve always gauged the end of the year by the first serious frost, which always tends to flatten the nasturtiums. In my mind winter starts when the nasturtiums finish. The calendar may disagree, but that’s how I see it.

They are actually doing quite well in the Mencap gardens at the moment. The nasturtiums are still looking reasonable, and there are quite a few stragglers in the beds. My original thought for a post was “The Last Geranium” but the photograph didn’t come out that well.

 

As you can see, there is still a lot of colour in the garden, though it’s mainly just a few stragglers rather than beds of colour now. The sumac has mainly shed its leaves now, though the sedums are still showing well.

The Elephant  Grass (Miscanthus sinensis Zebrinus) is still looking good, with its stripes and fronds and the teasel, always looks good at this time of year.

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In fact there’s so much to show that I’ve just posted photos and I’ll let them speak for themselves.

There were birds around too, plus a new art installation and piece falling off the camera – an interesting day all round, and material for a second post.

Simple Pleasures

Sitting here on a gloomy grey day I idly wondered if winter  in England could get any worse. At that point an advert for the RSPCA came on TV. Pictures of neglected dogs don’t half bring the mood down.

At least it’s stopped raining, and every day that passes is a day nearer spring. I like spring.

However, it isn’t spring so I’ll have to make the most of what I have.

The best bit of the day, best bit of the week in fact, was being able to go back to bed after dropping Julia off at work. Any of you who are around a foot taller than your partner will know what I mean. Normally you find the duvet wrestled away from you by a small, compact and determined person who insists on sleeping half way down the bed. When you are on your own you can cover your shoulders and tuck the duvet right up to your ears.

It’s a simple pleasure. but the best ones often are, aren’t they?

Same goes for he Welsh Rabbit I made when we got home. It’s only cheese, milk and mustard on toast but there’s nothing better once you get the curtains closed and the fire on. We even had The Persuaders on TV to add to the atmosphere of cheesiness.

It’s one of the 50 new recipes for 2017. I know it doesn’t seem much of a recipe, but after years of making simple cheese on toast I thought I ought to make the effort to do something a bit better. Somehow it seems a lot nicer than ordinary cheese on toast.

I’m trying a new Cottage Pie recipe tonight, inspired by Jackie’s Post House Pie on Derrick J Knight’s blog. I happened to have leftover veg from the hot beef stew and pork with oven-baked vegetables I’d cooked this week, so it seemed too good to miss.

Winter and comfort food could have been made for each other.

We just ate the pie, with peas and kalettes. I’m definitely getting my five a day. With the leftover veg, it’s a very tasty pie, though the presence of chillies does introduce an element of chance into the eating process.

No pictures. When there’s a choice between eating and photography…

Wood chip woes

Three degrees centigrade when we arrived this morning. It’s now past 11 am as I write this and it’s still only four degrees so it looks like winter might have started. Despite all the newspaper reports this shouldn’t be a surprise, as we often have our worst weather in February or March.

The heat exchangers on the front of the building have been working hard and are covered in ice.

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Meanwhile it’s 20 degrees inside, as long as people keep the door closed. Unfortunately, shutting doors seems to be a bit of a lost art.

Meanwhile the biomass boiler has been giving problems because we have used a new source of wood. First of all it needed recalibrating to deal with willow, and now the ash removal mechanism keeps clogging. When you have four homes relying on the system this isn’t good. Though we all know biomass is one of the ways forward, it’s easy to see why people stick to the more traditional methods of heating.

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