It’s not often…

February 11, 2014

… we sit up here and listen to the South East of England getting all our weather. I used to live in Maidenhead so the news bulletins have been a bit of a trip down memory lane, albeit one where memory lane has required a pair of chest waders and/or a rubber dinghy to negotiate.

We were forecast all sorts ourselves today from sleet to heavy rain to ice, but so far apart from one short snow flurry it’s actually been (whisper it) sunny, if cold. It only promises to be a brief respite between storms but I took the opportunity of a free afternoon after my epic work bout to go and see whether anything was going on in the garden – looks like the snowdrops have recovered from last year’s harvest, anyway.


Whether you’re flooded, soggy, or just anxiously watching the waters rise, hang on in there. Spring *is* on its way…

It has to be.

Signs of … Something

February 7, 2014

I was a bit startled, when cycling through the village, to be accosted by a fellow gardener and asked if I was planning on going to potato day again this year. Already? I thought. It’s not even as if winter has properly started yet, and here people are planning for spring. And then I was startled again as I stuck my head out of the door to chat with a passing neighbour and found not just sunshine but – out of the wind, anyway – actual warmth. Looking around there are snowdrops everywhere, daffodils poking their leaves up out of the swamp that passes for the countryside, birds going bananas in the hedgerows. Time to start panicking about the garden again

The problem is that, with storm after storm marching through, we seem to have had nothing but an endless October this winter. It’s been so mild, I was picking caterpillars out of my kale the other day. There’s been no sense of anything going properly dormant and hence no sense of the impending spring. And I’ve barely been able to touch the garden because even if I wasn’t too busy, it’s far too wet to do anything but plan out where to construct the rice paddies…

broad beans

Still, she says, recklessly tempting fate, at least the broad beans are hanging on in there…

Anyone else still feel they’re waiting for winter to arrive?

OK, I will admit…

December 2, 2013

That suffering from a cold + December drizzle + bi-directional headwind + frozen toes = a less than pleasant experience on the bike this morning (they can’t ALL be wonderful I suppose). If Saturday’s ride was a restorative, today’s was more of a ‘it will be lovely when it stops’ affair – and, indeed, when I did stop and got in and retrieved my jumper which I had left warming on the Rayburn it was lovely. There’s nothing like going out and getting frozen for making the house feel warm – and it’s cheaper than turning on the heating.*

* ‘Have you been writing in to the Guardian?’ the other half asked this weekend as he came across this

Winter Approacheth

November 18, 2013

trees and mist

The forecast this morning was full of doom and gloom and frost and snow and ice and lions and tigers and bears (oh my). Otherwise known as ‘winter’.

morning mist

But not quite yet, and today it was still all mellow fruitfulness as autumn lingered like the morning mist.

autumn colour

Time to get the ice tyres on the bike soon …

spider web

Closing In

November 13, 2013

At some point last week I imperceptibly made the move from working on the other half’s super duper two-screen computer, to squinching everything back onto my suddenly very small laptop screen. The reason being that the super duper computer is in the other half’s study while my laptop can be moved into the kitchen and hence close proximity to the Rayburn. Meanwhile, even when it’s not raining, the attractiveness of going outside – or even into the sitting room before an advance party has been sent to light the stove – is steadily diminishing. In short, the circumference of my daily round is contracting to its winter dimensions and while it’s quite pleasant now to lean my back against the Rayburn and watch the wind blow every leaf in Bigtownshire past our kitchen window, I know that come February it will feel as if I have been sitting in the kitchen for my entire life.

So I’m fortunate that I do still have to pedal off to fetch the paper every morning. Not just yesterday – when the sun had just risen over the hill as I set off, and bathed everything in a gorgeous slanting light – but even on days like today when it was a slog into the wind under a grey sky. Sometimes it’s a bit of a wrench to drag myself out, but I never regret it once I’m gone. Even the wretchedly wet rides, while not pleasant in themselves, are becoming something of a necessity (and almost bearable if I’ve had the foresight to pile a warm dry change of clothes on the Rayburn for my return). If I didn’t get out all day, somewhere, anywhere, I’d soon be climbing the walls.

The other half, wrestling impatiently with the Guardian this morning, muttered something about getting an iPad instead. I reacted with horror. Sure I could go out for a daily hour-long bike ride whether I was getting the paper or not, but really, what are the chances of that happening all winter long? I thought when we moved here that an 11-mile round trip to fetch a paper was a bit of a chore and a daft endeavour. Little did I realise how dependent on it I would become…

Winter Returns

January 16, 2012

Those snowdrops must be regretting their imprudence because the frost is back with a bang; we’re not complaining though because it’s dry and sparkly and sunny as well as bitterly cold. Well, maybe we’re complaining a little bit…

I don't think much of this episode of Sherlock

Either way, it’s just the sort of weather for snuggling up on the sofa with a warm cat but our days of doing that are over: the neighbour has returned to reclaim his cat, and there’s an enormous (though marginally smaller since the diet kicked in) furry cat-shaped hole in our life. We get visiting rights but it just isn’t the same…

Don’t Tell the Weather Gods

January 9, 2012

After the last two winters we’ve had, the start to 2012 has been astoundingly mild – confirmed by the snowdrops coming up almost a month earlier than they did last year (how do they know?). A somewhat less welcome milestone was passed yesterday, when I managed to inhale my first insect while cycling of 2012. Surely, you’d think, in January you would be safe? Not, I hasten to add, that I’m complaining.

And today? Today it’s been mild and sunny and not blowing a gale and that’s three things we don’t expect to coincide until at least May. It won’t last, but I’ve been enjoying it while I can. And keeping my mouth firmly shut while I’m out on the bike.


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