Turned out nice again!

I am not sure if it was nature or nurture that gave me my interest (the unkind would say, my obsession!) with the weather. I suspect a bit of both.Having lived my early years in the West of Scotland you have to get used to it being wet and really any day when it is not wet is deemed ‘a nice day’ and a cause for comments of mild surprise.

Planning outdoor events was therefore always quite a lottery and required close attention to TV weather forecasts, how the sky actually looked and whether cows were lying down in a field or standing up.And the accuracy or efficacy of these might not be in that order ! Weather forecasting was not so good back then.

And just for the record, I think this may be the first time I have used the word efficacy in a blog…I used to work with an accountant who frequently used it…I trust I am doing the word justice!

On the nurture side of things, I have my late and beloved mother to thank as well. She was a GP by profession, but interested in a whole raft of subjects, one of these hobbies being plants and her garden and of course weather plays a big part in that. Way before the days of the internet and the ease of looking at historic weather patterns with a view to deciding when to plant seeds or risk delicate seedlings to the outside world, she was able to look at previous year planners where she had recorded daily weather events and extremes such as snow in May or Frost in June – actually not so extreme for residents of Glasgow in the 1970’s when Global Warming had not yet arrived!

So move on thirty years and my meteorological upbringing has helped define me.

It has also actually made birthday and Christmas presents ideas quite easy for my family.


Weather vanes, anemometers, garden clocks with thermometers, rain gauges etc. have all arrived and been very well received as gifts.Not to mention the books on clouds, forecasting, extremes of weather that are now adorning my bookshelf.

And of course renowned as I am (despaired with…., again might be the more accurate description from those around me) for starting random conversations with all and sundry in supermarkets, trains or country lanes ..what better opener than ‘turned out nice again’ !

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Comments and feedback most welcome…….

Seven Brides and Forty winks

It’s July 15th as I write this and it is Saint Swithuns day, unless of course you live in Norway where he gets his big moment of fame on July 2nd instead. No, before you ask, I don’t know why …….

Anyway St Swithum was Bishop of Winchester (England) in about 861 AD and had various claims to fame mostly on restoring churches but somewhat bizarrely he is also reputed to have restored a basket of eggs back to their original form that had been broken when sat on by the builders on one of his restoration projects ! Omelettes evidently were not a big thing back then.

These historical events are however somewhat overshadowed for his posthumous miracle making. It is said that if it rains on Swithuns bridge in Winchester on July 15th , then it will rain for 40 days.

I don’t think there is any time limit on this so don’t plan a house move to Winchester if you want guaranteed summer barbecues every August.

Fortunately, looking at the weather forecast things at least for this year look ok at the moment.

The number Seven is often seen in mythology, story telling and so on as a number of plenty – Seven brides for Seven brothers…indeed that number of weddings throws any father into panic at the cost and mayhem; Seven Deadly Sins – hmmm, perhaps not lets go there; Seven Dwarfs stretches many a pub quiz contestant to name them all, Seven Wonders of the World seems to be an ever changing league table and just when you think you have seen most of them they change and so the task of ticking them off becomes almost unattainable.

It seems too that forty is also number of choice – Forty Winks is deemed a reasonable length of time for a sleep and good old Swithum has opted for forty as a reasonable number for days of rain. Well, thanks Saint S, I am all for replenishing reservoirs but that is just too much!

I really do have a vested interest in it not raining for 40 days. Tomorrow is my birthday (not my fortieth sadly…that ship has already sailed) and I plan for the next few days to have some time off work (that won’t be forty days either) and enjoy walking in the hills , spending time with extended family, drinking wine in the garden and generally having fun…most, but not all of these activities are greatly assisted by a little sunshine!

Happy 15th July to you all (Norwegian’ s respectfully excluded)

It never rains, it pours

Of all the strange idioms we have in the English language, this one is definitely at the very strange end of the spectrum. For those not native speakers, or just not familiar with the term, it really means when something bad happens, it’s not just bad, it’s really, really bad!

In some ways it is actually very strange that we use this expression in the UK as in meteorological terms, we are quite the opposite in the British Isles and in reality we are far more likely to have damp, drizzle, persistent rain or the odd cloudburst rather than continuous days of monsoon like pouring rain.

In the UK we actually seem to specialise in non descript weather and this is to our disadvantage. Go to a country like Canada where consistently the winter temperatures are acutely sub zero night and day and you will find it’s all taken in their stride.

Underground heated shopping malls, spectacularly efficient and monster sized snow clearing equipment and as a standard for most cars the capability to plug in ‘ car style electric blankets’ to protect the engines and remote control devices that allow the car to be started from inside your home to let it warm up (but keep the doors locked).

And it is not just winter weather. When we have a hotter than average summer, most of our public buildings and almost all homes will not have any form of air conditioning unlike their Mediterranean or North American counterparts. Result…during a heatwave people struggle to sleep or be productive in the workplace.

And if you think it’s just the weather, we struggle with seasonal variations of the environment. The UK rail system is notorious for problems with ‘leaves on the line’…somehow we are almost unique in the world that our trains struggle with mashed up damp leaves!

We are by nature a stoic nation and when the current generation grumble about these challenges, the parental generation is often quick to retort with…it was worse in my day!

Probably very true, but in the same way that we eradicated the black death and other historical ailments, our present day objective must be to facilitate our managing the challenges thrown at us rather than just grudgingly accepting them.

I think the fact that we are no longer wandering the earth wearing loin cloths and carrying a club demonstrates our success to date!

Time for an embrace…take #2

We had dogs visiting and I had time for an early morning walk prior to setting off on a work trip.

Our local reservoir is a mirror of the season and looking in the mirror what I saw was waves on the water whipped up by the stiff breeze, a hint of brown on some of the leaves and a little chill in the air.

Now it’s only August, but here in the UK as we encounter global warming we see a shift with warm weather spells from as early as April or May so in some way it’s no surprise in August to get a hint of the autumn that is waiting for us when we turn the calendar page at the end of the month.

My natural response to this is to bemoan the end of summer but on this walk accompanied by my daughter I was reminded to embrace the seasons for what they are….so true, and indeed we in the UK are fortunate to live in the land of distinct seasons…even though occasionally we experience all four in one day!

Enjoy each day for what it is.

Why this blog? Click to find out what started the blogs!

Anemometer..not an easy word to spell or say!

I have an anemometer in my garden, part of a small weather station and to be open and honest, I am a bit of a weather geek. In the uk we often get 4 seasons in 1 day so its actually quite good to have a measure of what is going.

However anemometer is a difficult word to pronounce let alone spell. In English we happily use words of Greek or Latin origin… in this case the Greek word for wind, Anemos. In German they make life a bit easier for themselves and call it a ‘wind messer’…ie a wind measurer. Germans not only are good at cars, beer and sausages…they have some great ‘say it how it is words’ this being one of them.

Anyway back to the anemometer and my ‘obsession’ with the weather. One day a family member on hearing me quoting a weather statistic (that admittedly was probably verging on the soporific) prompted an outburst of ….”Oh you are such a….” and then the silence of realisation that there is no obvious word in the English language that describes this overheated fascination with the weather.

After a little research the simple answer is that the English language doesn’t have one. Strange as we have words for perhaps lesser interests e.g. those embroiled in all matters French (Anglophile) or even booklovers (Bookworms) but for an almost national obsession…nothing!

Why this blog? Click to find out more….

And the winner is….

In the UK things have been somewhat hot over the past few days both politically and meteorologically. For those that live here or indeed follow international affairs it won’t have escaped your notice that we have just had a new Prime Minister elected . I use the word elected loosely as only a very small percentage of the population, about 0.1% get to vote on this . If this intrigues you , read more here.

Anyway with all this argy bargy going on and tv full of what may or may not happen next, Global Warming (or just cycles of nature..as both believers and non believers read my blog) has sent us the mother of all heatwaves this week.

Put these two together and you get a very hot and bothered nation.

So, imagine my delight to see that you.gov, one of our leading polling agencies, normally telling us what will happen in the next election or what people think about government policy or the state of the railways have put out a survey today…………… on ice lollies.

So how uncontroversial is that! Evidently not. A twitter furore has evolved and even challenges are now being made on what constitutes a lolly!

And for the record, why no mention of White Chocolate Magnum? Surely one of the world’s greatest inventions after the internal combustion engine, the internet and latte machiatto ?