Waiting for the Second Shoe…

June 13, 2016

Two things I am not, repeat not, complaining about:

1. It is well into June and ASBO buzzard hasn’t attacked yet. Not so much as a swoop. Which is cool. It’s fine. I’d much rather *not* be attacked by a buzzard than be attacked by a buzzard. But the anticipation is getting something fierce.

2. In the past week we have been caught in a sudden rainstorm driving back from the train station on Wednesday, I got fairly heavily rained on riding to the train station in Edinburgh on Sunday and I got mildly rained on going down for the paper today. But has there been any appreciable rain on the actual garden? There has not. Or at least not enough to replenish the water butts. There are four full-size ones up by the walled garden and we’re down to half way through number four…

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Normal Service Resumed

March 26, 2016


rain falling

Like most of the country, we’ve had a miraculous period of settled dry weather for a couple of weeks now. As always, it has coincided with me being too busy to take much advantage of it, beyond my usual bicycle excursions – hence the rather light blogging in recent weeks – but, just as things were easing up on the work front, the Weather Gods returned from wherever it is they’ve been …

I was due to be leading a social ride in Bigtown this morning and I was extremely grateful when someone else offered to be the one who went and stood at the rendezvous point waiting for nobody to turn up, as it saved me a 45 minute ride there in the rain, followed by a 45 minute ride back, and having to get changed in the bath.

wet lawn

As it was, if I hadn’t had to empty the compost bucket and feed the landlords’ cats, I might not have ventured out at all today.

Well, except for one important thing, obviously

checking the level of the ford

Normal blogging service should also resume too, hopefully.

felled daffodil

Meanwhile Happy Easter, everyone.


Well, Finally

February 16, 2016

It’s not often I get this right but this morning, having emerged from my yoga class to see that it wasn’t yet raining, and knowing that the forecast was swithering between diabolical and merely dire, I abandoned my plans to spend the rest of the day in my co-working office and hopped straight back on the bike to get home before the impending weather warning made good on its promises.

The wind was already strong enough to snatch my cap from my head as I crossed the river, forcing me to stuff it in my bag for safe keeping. As I got out of town I was sheltered from the worst of the crosswind by the hedges but I could see the electricity wires all being blown sideways by its force and hear every loose bit of metal in every farm yard banging as I passed. It was only as I turned into the wind for the last couple of miles that I really felt its force, and by then the rain had started, and hail too for I was crunching little pellets of ice between my gritted teeth as I put my head down and powered for home. I arrived damp and chilled, and feeling as if I had been freshly sanded down.

All the same, as I stood by the Rayburn and watched the rain get blown past with increasing force, in warm dry clothes and with a cup of coffee in my hands, I was smug as only a cyclist can be smug who knows she has beaten the weather for once – and that she doesn’t have to go out in it again…


One Dam Thing After Another

January 27, 2016

It was so wet this morning, I was actually somewhat reluctant to evict the giant spider which was in our bath (not as reluctant as the spider, though, which managed to cling on to the edge of the window frame and scuttle back in towards me, whereupon my reluctance dissolved and it got batted fairly sharpish back out into the rain). By the time I was up and dressed, the waters were rising in the front yard and threatening not just our wood supplies, but the bikes in the shed…

flooded yard

(this is not quite as alarming as it looks as the buildings you see are all outbuildings, rather than our actual house which is a crucial few inches higher)

Time to revisit the landlord’s flood defences

flooded drive

And add a few of my own.

shoring up

I’m not sure exactly how effective my efforts were but combined with some leaf clearing and stick poking, the waters soon receded in our yard, if not elsewhere – the farmer’s field bears the brunt of all the road drainage and he may have to switch to water buffalo if this goes on. Or fish farming, perhaps.

water draining into field

But what of the ford, you cry? We were hopeful of a good high score, but in the end it was rather average so by way of compensation here is the ford in action:

Then there was just time to wander up the road and try and capture the brief moments of sunshine before the rain started again.

winter trees

I may have had a little play …

leaf-based engineering

More rain warnings on Friday, hey ho


There’s a Reason they Call it a Weather Warning…

January 26, 2016

There was a moment this morning when I thought that I was about to feature in one of those infuriating ‘cyclist collides with car’ headlines – and for once it would have been accurate (under ordinary circumstances it is usually the car doing the colliding, on the whole we cyclists prefer not to hit cars because it hurts). I was just approaching Bigtown and the wind was blowing me sideways into a row of parked cars, including one that was just at the point of pulling out when (thankfully) the driver saw me and stopped long enough for me to wrest control of my bike back from the weather gods and pedal safely away.

In truth, I probably shouldn’t have been out on the bike today, at least not in traffic. It wasn’t that I was getting wet and having an unpleasant time (I was) but the wind was gusting so hard that maintaining a straight line was a problem. I made it to yoga where I was greeted with fairly uniform horror that I’d even attempted the trip. Today was definitely a day to have taken full advantage of the fact that I work from home and done my commute in my slippers from the bedroom to the dressing gown.

The problem was, I have just signed up to a new regime in my life: I’ve got myself some shared office space in Bigtown so that I have somewhere to work that isn’t the kitchen table, and can make better use of times when I have to be in town. I’m also hoping that I can impose a bit more discipline upon myself and start to create some sort of separation between working time and non-working time. I won’t be using it every day, but I had calculated that as I tend to be in town anyway on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that I should turn those into proper working days complete with an office to go to and – more importantly – leave.

That’s the theory. And, looking at the weather warnings yesterday, I probably should have postponed testing it out until Thursday but no, I was both stubborn and stupid and decided to start as I meant to go on. Which meant not only almost cycling into the side of a car and convincing my entire yoga class that I was bordering on the insane, but also spending two hours sitting in wet socks, thinking that, while my new office has lovely speedy broadband, and shops nearby, and people who pop in and ask if I want a cup of tea while they’re making one, and all the other amenities of offices, what it didn’t have was either a Rayburn or a stash of dry socks (I had actually thought of this and brought a spare pair of socks but my boots had got so epicly wet on the ride in from the flooded roads that the dry socks then got soaked in the five minutes it took me to cycle from yoga to the new office …)

Whitesands flooded

So at about 2:30 having done enough of what I wanted to do that I could call it a success, of sorts, and with the rain in temporary abeyance, I undraped all my wet kit from the radiators where I had draped it and decided to get while the getting was good, especially as the police had closed the riverfront, including the cyclepath, and who knew how much flooding there would be on the way home. By this time the wind had died down a little so that I was at least able to make more forward than sideways progress. The rain also waited until I was out of Bigtown before it started again, this time with a headwind, and so it was just a matter of putting my head down and pedalling through the storm for home…

flooded fields

I did stop to record the conditions, and even thought about making a diversion to the ford but you know what? I’m not that dedicated a blogger after all.

waterfall in spate

This is not the ford …

Remind me not to do that again if I don’t have to, would you?


Still Invisible

January 25, 2016

I think I have complained before about the relative invisibility of our typical South West Scotland pacing-itself mizzling type of rain to both the forecasters and the rain radar. Today was one of those days, where both the Met Office and the Norwegians (the other half has taken to consulting the Norwegian weather service just in case they have any better weather on offer) were claiming that it wasn’t raining at all, backed up by Rain Today, while a quick glance out of the window revealed curtains of rain moving swiftly sideways up the valley (or ‘fast-moving fog’ as the other half described it yesterday).

It did stop, however, just in time for me to head out and I cycled off hoping that perhaps the time it had taken me to put all my wet weather kit on was enough to invoke Sod’s law, although I have no idea why, after living here for so many years, I might have thought that; still, hope springs eternal, as they say.

But not as eternally as South West Scotland’s rain and I was soon cycling into an enormous headwind and experiencing some of the other half’s fast-moving fog which was every bit as unpleasant as it sounds.

The sad part is, that was just the warm up act – we’re under another apocalyptic weather warning for heavy rain, but it doesn’t even kick in until tomorrow. It is supposedly the same storm that just buried the Eastern Seaboard of the United States under snow, but about 10 degrees warmer, so stand by for a drenching.


Flood Defences

December 7, 2015

There was only one choice of footwear for the ride down to the papershop today

cycling in wellies

I have yet to work out what additional information a ‘Flood’ sign brings to the party here, or most places, to be honest. This has long puzzled me (it’s not as if this one was any deeper or more dangerous to cross than any of the other stretches of flooding we see without the benefit of signs).

flood ahead

Still, they do seem to lead interesting lives. This one has clearly been in the wars. If may even be the one that had all but grown into the landscape on the outskirts of Papershop Village – perhaps washed free by the recent flooding?

battered flood sign

On the way home, I was rewarded by the sun coming out and catching everything with a fleeting brush of glorious light

fleeting winter sunshine

Meanwhile, up at the greenhouse …

garlic emerging

But I (and you) will have to wait for the next thrilling installment of GarlicWatch because tomorrow we pack our bags and head to Glasgow (trains and weather warnings permitting) to fly the next morning to Colorado where we shall, hopefully, be seeing a lot more of the sun, and a lot less flooding. And hopefully, a restored river path.

Don’t tell the Weather Gods…