Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Toad Hides From The Sun

Today we have had rain and as a consequence the temperatures have dropped, but it has still been pleasantly warm. This summer has already outshone the last few years in terms of the temperatures and hours of sunshine we have enjoyed. Indeed at times even here in middle England where it is usually degrees lower than "Down South," we have been baking. But where do Toads hide from the sun?

Here is a ceramic pot containing delightful Margarita flowers. Located at the rear of our house just beyond the decking, it is in full early morning sunlight until around 10.00am at which time it gradually falls into shade.

Margarita Flowers


Hidden away beneath the foliage of the plants and taking refuge from the heat of the sun during the daytime can be found one of our regular garden Toads.
Common Toad

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Heatwave Continues

We Brits are not used to this wall to wall sunshine, temperatures in the high 20's (don't laugh you foreigners) and the heatwave continues!

Today I actually broke into a sweat without even trying. Well in my condition I can't do anything that would normally bring me anywhere near perspiring. 

On that note I should quickly mention that I saw the surgeon last week and he put me on the urgent list for an operation on my back. I have since had a letter confirming a date on the second of September.

With my typical kind of luck, I suppose the weather will remain nice and sunny during these school holidays while I am more or less a prisoner in my own home, surrounded by an ever increasing number of shouting screaming kids. By the time I have recovered from my op it will be autumn or winter and the summer will have passed me by.

I guess though - fingers crossed that I make a good recovery - we could get on a plane and seek out the sun and for ourselves, then in that way the heatwave for us at least, will continue.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Heatwave

Yesterday the temperature took a dip and the sun spent a good deal of the day hidden behind some cloud, but today the sun shines and we bask once more in the heatwave.

How long it continues remains to be seen and depends on who you talk to because opinions seem to differ. I have heard it will be with us for the foreseeable future but then again someone said it's only until the weekend. The only thing we can do of course is to take it day by day.

I think of the summers of my childhood in the 1950's and 60's, the six week  school holiday was always baking hot and we spent all of the time outside. To be honest there was very little to do inside the house, home computers did not exist and daytime television consisted of one BBC channel broadcasting a news bulletin and Watch With Mother at lunch time. 

We made our own entertainment and much of our play required the use of imagination. Everyday household items were brought into use too. Remnants of old washing lines became skipping ropes, an upturned brush became a horse and pointed fingers could be any type of gun you wanted. 

But through the summer it seemed as though the sun was always shining or is it just a selective memory?

As I'm writing this I get another update via my Dearly Beloveds friend who says  the long range weather forecast is predicting this spell of hot weather will last into August.

Don't forget the sun cream!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Great Weekend

This weekend has seen us basking in some decent sunshine at last. Typical of this country however we see to go from one extreme to the other. In the week it went so cold we considered putting the central heating on then this weekend it has been baking hot.

On a personal note, we had two birthdays to celebrate and I actually went along last night with my Dearly Beloved and a group of friends to The Polite Vicar for a meal. This is the first time I have been out socially since way before Christmas due to my health. But on top of that, we have been this afternoon to Buffet Island to celebrate our Jojos birthday. It was the opportunity for a family get-together and it was great to see them all.

Also today, Andy Murray has become the first Briton in 77 years to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon, with a straight-sets victory over the world number one.

Yes I think all in all this has been a Great Weekend!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Snow Pictures

Here are some Snow Pictures that I did not have time to upload yesterday.

Snow was up the back door

Snow on the drive

Snow had buried the garden

And a Penguin appeared from somewhere

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Snow

It was 7.00am on Friday morning when I put on the kettle to make my cup of tea. I must say it then came as a complete surprise as I angled the window blinds and discovered that the world outside was buried under 3 inches of snow or much more than three inches where it had drifted. Three inches I must add is about 7cm to you younger people or those of you that are fully converted.

As I shivered and put the kettle on I realised that the central heating had not kicked in. "Oh dear" I said to myself, or words to that effect, "Why do these things always go wrong at the worst possible times."

I listened to the howling wind and watched the snow blowing past the window almost horizontal like an Arctic blizzard and blowing from the east. What was I going to do, I had a vision of a large bill and a stack of twenty pound notes waving goodbye to me as they escaped from my grasp.

In response to the horror of this thought, the little cogs started to turn in my head and steam began to blow from my ears, then I realised the steam was due to the kettle boiling. But the little grey cells had come up with an idea. The wind or indeed the snow laden blizzard was blowing from the east, could that in some way be responsible for the boiler refusing to light.

As it happened this was indeed the case, for the stainless steel basket that covers the flue on the wall was blocked with frozen snow. Hurray! That was a packet of money saved, with the obstruction removed air could be drawn into the burner and the boiler was once more fully operational.

Children in the street were happy on Friday too, because 80 schools in Staffordshire were closed due to the bad weather and they were having fun playing in the snow. They were relatively safe in the road because any cars that tried to drive up it were few and far between. We had been to Tesco on Thursday and so we did not have to venture out, we had everything we needed.

Saturday morning we got up to find yet more snow had fallen overnight and we had some really deep drifts around the house and garden.

Over the weekend, the snow and the wind has caused havoc throughout the country with roads blocked and cars abandoned, power lines down and areas of Scotland, Ireland and Wales left without power. Trees have been blown down and trains disrupted.

I think that the weather is now supposed to improve, so people can hopefully try to get their lives back to normal. The bad news though is that next weekend we are likely to see the same conditions return and we can go through it all over again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Technology - Fantastic until it goes wrong.

I have grandchildren who have been born into a world where computers and mobile phones are a way of life. I embrace this world of technology, enjoy the fruits of the science without taking for granted the Technology which is quite simply Fantastic, until it goes wrong.

Although brought up in an age where the closest we came to a mobile communication device was two tin cans connected together with a length of string and TV was a massive wooden box with a 10 inch black and white screen showing a single channel, I am now distraught if anything goes wrong with one of my many devices.

Recently I have experienced problems of major proportions (or so it seemed at the time) with my Acer Aspire Netbook and my competition prize the Archos 80G9 Tablet, this at a time when I had pulled apart my desktop pc.

Most of the problem I must admit was self inflicted. Without going too deeply into the details, I had researched how to make Windows XP as secure as possible and safe from attacks, viruses, spyware and malware, without the need to purchase expensive software. The features I implemented really worked, to such an extent in fact that I locked myself out of my existing documents and files and could not make any changes to the operating system.

Basically, I made one simple mistake at the final stage of the modifications, a mistake that I could not undo. I then tried every possible way I could think of to bypass the administrator password which is what I needed to do, without success. I found many programmes on the Internet that were guaranteed to work, each of which failed. This at least proved that the changes I had made did actually work to stop any invasive attack to my netbook.

The only option was to reinstall the operating system, a drastic step but all I could do to gain control of the device once more. I am in the fortunate position of being able to carry out these tasks myself without the need to pay someone to do it. What it does take however, is time. Working on computers always eats away at your time.

As I was pulling my hair out trying to get my netbook up and running again, my Archos tablet went haywire. Not my fault this time. The tablet runs on the Android system and software updates are regularly available to address safety or performance issues. I responded to a message that an update was available by promptly downloading and installing it.

Following this update, many of my apps would no longer work. Two weeks of more hair pulling and time wasting went by before another update put things right.

So Technology is great, it enhances our lives, provides instant communication around the globe, is a source of entertainment and education.

Fantastic - until it goes wrong!