My journal and my life

Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Post #34 Winter Swim

This is where Hayley should have been, but there she was – gone!

Pleasley Woods

Entering woods from a different direction, I’d forgotten that this path led to an open glade, complete with a pond.  Hayley hadn’t forgotten – she’s a labrador water diviner – I’m sure her dad must have been a seal, her mum an otter.  As she suffers with hip dysplasia, I tend to keep her away from water in winter, but by the time I reached her, she’d actually broken through a thin layer of ice & done this:

A pond full of logs

Hayley has a mission, she has to rescue any branch or log drowning in the water & will amuse herself for ages retrieving pieces of wood, even submerging her head completely to reach them as they bob under water.  There was a large log that proved particularly difficult as it’s girth was too big for her jaws & all she ended up doing was spinning it round & round. So frustrating 🙂

Winter pond

After a good roll in the grass, she selects her favourite branch from the newly rescued wood pile & patiently carries it back to the car.  She’s never happy to leave it behind, but if brought home, she’d set to & shred the wood into little pieces with her teeth.

Carrying a favourite stick home

We have a routine once home, I have to sit down with Hayley on my lap for the first half hour of her exhaustion, otherwise, she follows me round & won’t settle.

Post #26 Midnight Snow

Many of my posts have been about the weather & particularly snow!  However, when spending all day in front of the computer working for my clients, other than walking the dogs daily, I don’t always have the opportunity to do much else.  Much like most people I assume?  I enjoy my work & have chosen to be a Virtual Assistant as I’m a good PA, I love being organised, I have a great relationship with my clients & enjoy the variety of my workload.

Snow & Trees

Anyway, back to the daily photo – this is the snow as it was first thing in the morning.  I was actually walking in a snow storm at 2am in the morning which the dogs thought was great!  The light was bright, but I hadn’t taken my camera or phone.  The wind was blowing from the wind turbines (see post #5) & as there was virtually no traffic noise, I could actually hear the whiney, swooshy hum as they turned.  There were a few cars on the road & it was interesting to note that the snow ploughs came along in threes, just like buses 🙂

On the track, I was sheltered from the wind by the bushes either side & thoroughly enjoyed trudging through the virgin snow.  It was so exhilerating – something to knock of my bucket list perhaps?  Having a friend with mobility difficulties who’s slowly progressing towards being permanently wheelchair-bound, I always feel so very grateful when walking, fully appreciating the fact that I can.

Post #25 Snow Dogs

Dogs love snow, it sends them whappy!  Whilst it’s difficult for us to trudge through the drifts, the dogs chase snowballs & each other.

Snow Dogs

There’s always hares on the field where we walk, but they usually ‘hare’ off & are quickly camouflaged.  The dogs half-heartedly run after & then give up.  Today I could see many against the snow at the opposite side of the field which was criss-crossed by their distinctive tracks.  The dogs were snuffling in the scrapes where the hares had rested, revealing the ground underneath.

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After an exhilarating walk, I had a good day, dipping in & out of two or three clients’ work all day, plenty to keep me busy working from home. It’s Friday with more snow forecast & as I write this, it’s already more than an inch deep – more fun for the dogs 🙂

Post #24 Feed the Birdie

Blackbirds love cheese 🙂  I had a bird table at my last house, but left it behind when we sold & moved.  Then I lived with my son, his wife, small back yard & a cat or two so it wasn’t really fair to attract birds into the garden.  Since moving here to my own home, a bird table has been on my shopping list.  When the weather turned to ice & snow, I left bird food on the top of a wheelie bin at the bottom of the garden where I could see the birds from my window.  Perhaps not as attractive to look at as a bird table, but at least the birds were fed, & that’s what matters.

How do the birds know where to come for food when it’s not been there before & how do they know it’s edible?  Is it extremely keen vision or do the birds see you pottering about, leaving scraps behind?  No sooner as I’d put a mix of crumbs, cheese & sultanas on the bin & retreated to the house, I was watching a blackbird tuck in.

The following day, the fourth with snow on the ground, a number of hungry seagulls were wheeling around my garden, beady eyes on the food.  However it appeared that there was insufficient room to land on the bin as they soon departed.

Flock of seagulls

At a previous house many years ago I remember watching a sparrow hawk plummet into the hawthorn hedge immediately outside the window.  It quickly grabbed a sparrow & flew off, almost before I realised what had happened!  In the garden of another home, there was a holly tree full of red berries until one winter afternoon a flock of birds descended & loudly stripped it bare in a matter of minutes.  They were bigger than sparrows, but smaller than a thrush & later research revealed them to be redwings, a member of the thrush family.  According to RSPB information, redwings overwinter in the UK, but are rarely seen in gardens, except when snow covers the fields, their usual habitat.  We were privleged to witness their brief arrival & fight to prevent starvation.

Redwing

Post #23 Exhausted

This isn’t actually a picture of my exhaust, but all rusted up, it could’ve been, had I’d been able to crawl under the car to take the photo.

Exhaust

It was my neighbour who asked me how long my exhaust had sounded like that.  Sounded like what? I’d not noticed anything amiss driving around with the radio on & my windows closed.

As I do a fair amount of driving to clients & meetings & on the motorway too, I wanted to get it fixed sooner rather than later.  Well, the best laid plans were disrupted by snow, then I was panicking that driving over all the drifts would catch & pull it off.  So at the first opportunity today, I took it to the dealer.  He asked whether I was sitting down when he phoned a short while later.  Three replacement parts were required!  I had no choice, the work needed doing, so I gave my authorisation.

It’s a reliable car, but old, so bits are going to need fixing, just so long as it’s still cheaper to run than buying a newer one.  I’d love a new car, but it’s an extravagence at the moment & at least with this one, I don’t worry too much when a wet & dirty labrador clambers inside it.  One look inside & anyone can see it’s a dog lovers car.  I remember only too well my first husband’s constant anxiety about his cars.  Always wittling about scratches & damage, dust & dirt, complaining when I scuffed the wheels by parking too close to the kerb.  I guess it’s all about priorities & to me a car is a box on wheels to get me from A to B with the least amount of fuss 🙂

Post #19 “Everything’s All Right”

This is the view that I woke up to this morning – maybe not so very different to my photo of the frost on post 10, but the white is about 2 inches deeper!

Shortly after taking this photo, my mum phoned.  Not unusual to hear from her, but she began the conversation with “Everything’s all right.”  Now if ever there was a sentence that was just waiting for a “but”!

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So I provided it & asked what had happened, aware that the weather had been so atrocious, with ice & snow causing problems.  Accident, crumpled car, frozen pipes, flood or boiler breakdown all flashed through my mind.

She told me that my dad was OK now but had had a mild stroke the night before.  He was in hospital for observation, but unfortunately not either of the local ones as they didn’t have a stroke doctor on shift when it happened.  Anyway despite the snow, the nearest ambulance had arrived in less than 10 minutes & the roads were clear enough to drive the 25 miles to hospital.

By all accounts, he was examined, scanned & admitted very quickly & should be out in a couple of days.  His stroke was caused by a bleed, which apparently is not quite as serious as a clot & he does seem to have full use of his limbs & faculties.  This is most definitely a relief after losing my father-in-law to cancer very suddenly a month before Christmas.

It’s always a shock when our loved ones show their mortality, but we’re not all invincible.  I saw him recently & I’m in touch with my family regularly enough not to have any regrets if anything happened to any of them.  However, it’s important not to waste a minute, grab every opportunity, keep in touch with everyone you care about, show your love, offer help to others, accept help from them, look after your body, but also indulge occasionally.

End your day by thinking back through what you are grateful for & appreciate, no matter how small.  Start the new day with the same list & ensure you’re able  to add to it at bedtime.  Grab a pretty notebook or journal & write it down or use on of the ‘gratitude’ smartphone apps; print out the pocket gratitude diary from Leonie Dawson – I think her colourful workbooks are fantastic.

Post #18 Daffodowndilly

It’s snowing outside at the moment & photos this weekend are likely to be of the icy landscape, but giving a hint of the better weather to come I have a vase of bright yellow daffodils.  They are so beautiful & I just love them, which is why my daughter Sarah bought me a bunch – she’s so thoughtful 🙂

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Children tend to love tales of their parents’ or grandparents’ lives & she remembers the tale I told her about asking for a bunch of daffodils for my birthday when I was a child.  That’s all I wanted, daffodils.  I don’t know how difficult there were to obtain all those years ago in January, but with a child’s innocence, I wouldn’t have considered that.  Nowadays, due to importation from hotter climes & forced growth under glass, we can buy any kind of flower all year round.

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They are still a luxury to me & I really should buy more as a treat for myself.  However, my husband considers all cut flowers as ‘dead’ because as soon as you cut them, they are dying 😦  So after years of not being bought flowers, nor feeling comfortable taking them home myself, it’s hard to remember to do so now.

There’s a story about Sarah’s request for a birthday present too.  One year when she was little, all she wanted was a pretend birthday cake & a lollipop!  She got them of course.

Post #17 Winter Flowers

I hope you can see the delicate blue flowers on this rosemary plant.  The bright sun was behind me casting my shadow onto the pot.

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When I bought the rosemary along with other herbs to plant up together in a big tub, I didn’t know it was one that trails & I love it.  This mini herb garden is in the sunny corner outside my back door, ideally situated to reach out & pluck a few fragrant stems for cooking.  It’s sheltered, but I didn’t expect flowers in winter & happened to notice them on the coldest day of the year.  I’d just come back from a walk in the ice & snow with the dogs, who were fascinated to know why I was on my knees & getting in the way of my shot.  I don’t know how long they’ll last, but they are a delight to see when I go out.

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Post #16 Before & After

Look at Max!  Here’s before & after pictures:

Max12

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I’ve had pets & dogs since childhood & more recently, well for nigh-on the last 30 years, they’ve been Labradors.  Notorious for shedding their short hair, in fact my ex-husband mentioned that when our golden lab Amber moved forward quickly, she left an outline in discarded fur behind her!  It gets everywhere & no matter how clean the kitchen is kept, someone still usually ends up pulling a dog hair from their food – should I have really mentioned that!?

Then came along Max, a six month old Cocker Spaniel needing a home.  A beautiful blue roan with a placid temperament, we just had to rescue him.  He moults too, but we hadn’t realised that this didn’t stop his fur from growing!  Like human hair, his fur grows longer very quickly with big tufts on his paws & curls on his forehead almost needing a bow to keep it from flopping in his eyes 🙂

Very soon he became shaggy which took an age to dry off when he came back from a walk in the wet, which is most days here in the UK.  Surprisingly he also has two types of fur which grow at different speeds.  The white is coarse, straighter & longer, whilst the black is soft & downy, absorbing water like cotton wool – impossible to dry completely & remaining damp for ages.  It’s a real wonder that he doesn’t get a headache from the weight of his ears & as these tend to dangle in whatever he eats & drinks, dreadlocks soon form.  He makes us laugh, turning his head to try & obtain the food he can obviously smell on the ends of his ears – time to get the wet wipes out.

My husband Rob thinks he has more character when he’s shaggy & that’s why he doesn’t go to be clipped as often as he aught, but I love him when he’s a short & smart boy.

Post #14 More Snow

This photo answers my on the previous post. After it snowed yesterday morning then brightened up to become a lovely sunny day, I wondered if the forecast was correct by threatening snow in the evening.  Then I woke up to this:

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A good couple of inches on the cars & side roads, but clear on the main routes.  Unfortunately it was still dark when I set off, but I could see the trees & hedgerows, covered in snow, ghostly white in the gloom.  It wasn’t snowing & I did wish that I was able to walk the dog through the crisp white woods instead of going into work.

By lunchtime it was snowing again, big heavy flakes & none of us could concentrate, wondering whether we’d have to leave early to avoid traffic problems.  But, this is England & two hours later, everything was dripping & melting with the sun bright in a clear blue sky.  There would be nothing left by the time children came home from school.

It’s freezing outside tonight, dangerous for driving & I’ve finally closed the bedroom window.  I don’t like to be cold, but when I’m toasty warm under the duvet, love to breathe fresh air & have the window open a crack.  My husband thinks this is extravagant, with gas prices so high, letting out all the heat that’s been paid for.  So I admit it’s my little luxury, but then I can remember the ice on the inside of my bedroom window as a child in a house with no central heating, the only heat a stone hot water bottle at my feet!

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