The Number of the Beast

August 25, 2014

If anyone was wondering what happens if you leave your very early potatoes in the ground until the end of August, I can tell you that the result is not pretty. Once more I feel the sharp injustice that there is no ‘comedy vegetable’ category in the village show.

monstrous potato

And while we’re on the subject of freaks of nature and/or signs of the end times approaching:

cow with eight on its side

I can only assume that elsewhere in the field, six, six and six are waiting to line themselves up, and then it’s game over.


Fetch me my Apocalypse-Proof Jacket…

April 21, 2012

It’s not exactly encouraging – when you’ve got a number of politicians of various stripes lined up for a cycle tour of Bigtown on Friday – to be driving down the M74 motorway the day before and see the dot matrix signs all warning of ‘heavy rain’ on Friday. Given that this was in the west of Scotland, where heavy rain is more or less the default setting, the sort of rain that they felt was worth warning people about was likely to be very heavy indeed. As in send gopherwood heavy.

Anyway, yesterday morning, going to check the Met Office forecast I remembered that they’d managed to bollocks up their previously perfectly functional* website and replace the simple five day forcast table with some sort of flash-based, doesn’t-work-on-rural-broadband, great-if-you-like-clicking-a-million-times abomination (It’s slightly by the by, but setting aside the fact that sometimes it doesn’t work at all, I can’t be the only one who goes to the Met Office site to answer questions like ‘what day next week won’t be raining so I can arrange to meet someone in town on my bike?’ or ‘is it likely to be frosty in the next few days or should I plant out those potatoes’? So having a ‘five day’ forecast which only shows you one day at a time is not just a misnomer but verging on the bloody useless, is it not? Or is that just me?). So I decided instead to go and have a look at MetCheck instead, only to be confronted with this:

Looks like it’s a good thing I got that jacket after all.

As it happened – and despite there being snow between us and Notso Bigtown – the weather for the event itself was extremely pleasant, culminating in a perfect spring evening and a glorious sunset for my ride home. This may just be the calm before the storm, though, especially given how many people told me hell would freeze over before I got a Bigtown Councillor on a bike. As it was, we got eight of them … that’s got to cause a disturbance in the fabric of the universe.

*I mean, apart from the forecasts themselves, of course

Gardening Blues

December 7, 2011

I’ve been feeling faintly guilty about my garden these past few weeks. It’s still not been properly put to bed for the winter, there’s manure to be put down and the perennial weeds to be pulled out and the cabbages are bolting all over the place (less exciting than it sounds). Partly it’s been the rain – there’s no point digging when the ground is barely solid – and partly it’s been because I’ve had other things to do, but part of it is also because the prospect simply doesn’t appeal. It was not a brilliant season as it was* and now winter has caught up with us and added frozen fingers to the list of what’s not to like. I did get up this afternoon between sleet showers and manage to put in half an hour’s half-hearted gardening, but while normally a garden pottering session gets my garden mojo back, this just confirmed to me that there’s no point doing anything at the moment but waiting until all the water goes away (although I did at least put the cabbages out of their misery, much to the newly integrated hens’ delight). No doubt I’ll still continue to feel vaguely guilty about all the stuff I’m not doing all the same. If this continues, I’m going to have to put in a very extended session with the catalogues to get any sort of motivation for next year.

And, just to confirm that it’s been the wierdest weather ever up here this year, the other half came in this morning and showed me this:

A raspberry. In December. Truly, we are all doomed.
*anybody at all interested in a round up of what did and didn’t work this year?

Brace Yourself

October 17, 2011

For surely the end times are a’coming.

I headed out for the paper this morning in what I hoped would prove to be a window in the weather long enough for me to make the 11 mile round trip. In truth, by the time I’d found my keys and my bag and responded to one last email and a couple of tweets, the rain had started, but a look at raintoday suggested it would be no more than a passing shower, and that what was coming in from the north west would be much worse. I did, at least, put on the waterproof trousers, and, of course, the everything-bar-the-apocalypse-proof jacket. Thus protected, I set out into a biting headwind (mourning the loss of my waxed cap which has kept my head dry and warm ever since I moved up here – anyone know where I can get another one?). At first it wasn’t too bad, a bit blowy, but only spitting. That was just the warm up though – the rain got heavier and heavier and the wind picked up and by the time I’d got through Nearest Village and was out of the shelter of any trees, it was just flinging handfuls of water into my face so hard that it stung.

This was not a good time for the tractor driver who came up behind me to to hoot at me to remind me that his important business (turning onto Big A-Road to hold up everyone else, it transpired) was more important than my important business (it probably was but he was in a nice dry cab and I didn’t see why I should stop just because he wasn’t able to pass me). But that wasn’t the worst of it. The worst of it was getting home, unzipping my jacket and discovering that the rain had finally soaked through it to the point where it was weighed down with accumulated water. As the jacket is rated for 15,000mm of rain per 24h, or, basically, Noah’s flood, this means either its waterproofing has failed (I hope not, after only just over a year, given the amount I paid for it) or that the end of the world is nigh

Given the weather we’ve had since I got home, I’m guessing the latter.