Tuesday, 14 September 2010

My foray into weather prediction

The weather wasn't amazing at weekend so I decided to stay home on Saturday (to be honest, I like a good excuse to stay in and cosy up which is why I don't see the approach of Autumn and Winter as a bad thing, apart from the dark mornings and evenings).

I went to my Mum's to go through some bags of my Dad's things.  One of the things I took home was my Dad's weather station.  Unfortunately the external sensor on the station is broken, so it doesn't give me an external temperature and humidity reading. I tried to get it working but I didn't succeed, so I've saved an eBay search to see if any come up for sale on eBay.  The main weather station works fine, and it tells me the times of the sun and moon rise and set, moon phase, as well as internal temperature and humidity, the atmospheric pressure, and an indication of whether the atmospheric pressure has gone up or down over the last 12 hours.  It also predicts the weather (based on atmospheric pressure changes).  I did a bit of research to learn about the difference between high and low atmospheric pressure and how this affects the weather.  Very basically, low pressure can indicate wet weather and high pressure fair weather.  Apparently, if the pressure drops rapidly the weather display will flash to predict a storm, which no doubt I will get very excited about if it ever happens.  I like a bit of drama as far as my weather forecast is concerned.  Which is why my favourite weather forecaster is the BBC's Rob McElwee because he always gets excited if the weather is going to be dramatic.

I also enjoy listening to Radio 4's late night shipping forecast and imagining the stormy weather out at sea in the distant and wild places such as Cromarty, Forties and Carlingford Lough.  I like to imagine the different kinds of places where people listen to the forecast.  Sadly the shipping forecast is not as good as it used to be, they've changed presenters and it's lost its romance.  The presenters take it in turns now, there's a woman and two men that I know of, one of the men has quite a deep voice which sounds similar to the old presenter, but it's not the same.  I don't even bother listening to the woman and the other man. I also like listening to the 'Sailing By' music before the shipping forecast at 0.48 on Radio 4, and I imagine all the seamen getting ready to board their trawlers and head out into the rough oceans to catch fish.  According to Wikipedia they play Sailing By 'because it serves as a vital identification tool - it is distinctive and as such assists anyone attempting to tune in'.   I also like the fact that the British national anthem 'God Save the Queen' is played at the end of the shipping forecast every night.  Silly, I know, but it gets me in the mood for going to sleep.

We watched part of the film 'Four Lions' by Chris Morris.  I say part, because we both fell asleep half way in, but it wasn't because the film was boring, it was pretty funny, so we'll watch the second half as soon as we get chance.

On Sunday morning I picked Chris up from the allotment and I took a shot of the allotment path whilst I was waiting for him.

Then we made our usual trip down to the flea market.  I got a couple of books, including a Garden Gang Ladybird book.  I used to read these books when I was little but you don't see them around anymore.  The book was called 'Bertie Brussels Sprout and Lucy Leek'.

The whole series was written and illustrated by a 9 year old girl called Jayne Fisher back in the late 70s/early 80s, and has some ace felt tip illustrations at the front and back of all the fruit and veg characters in the series e.g. Polly Pomegranate and Roger Radish.

I also bought a large rosemary plant, I couldn't resist its lovely smell, and it made me think of the tasty winter casseroles with dumplings that I'll make once the weather turns cold.  Once I was home I potted up the rosemary into a larger terracotta pot.  I've got most herbs now, including sage, chives, parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary.  I also potted up the lavender that my mum bought me and the discounted pink hydrangea I bought a few weeks ago.  Then I picked my mum a big bunch of sweet peas.

My friend Nina popped round for a brew before I took her down the allotment.  I had saved her some sweetcorn, but unfortunately when we went to pick the cobs they were past their best and full of bugs, so we didn't bother.  Next year I need to be more on the ball and ensure I pick the sweetcorn at its optimum ripeness.  Nina had been burgled the night before, and they took her laptop containing all of her photos over the past few years, she was gutted.  So I decided to back up all my photos onto an external hard drive just in case, it took a while to transfer them over but at least they're backed up now.

Down at the allotment I watered and tended to everything.  Three pumpkin plants (1 indoor, 2 outdoor - all Rocket F1) had died off just leaving the orange fruits, so I cut the fruits away from the plant and left them out on the patio area to cure in the sun.

I put some posters up on the allotment gates to tell people that Radio Lancashire are coming again next weekend.  DJ Stephen Lowe is doing another live show from the plot further to his visit back in March.  We're also having a Jacob's Join and I need to think of some nice food to take.  I might bake a brownie, but I don't think I can compete with Lynne's perfect Victoria sponge cake.  I haven't decided whether I want to be interviewed on the radio again, although I was chuffed that I was brave enough to do it last time.

Chris dug up the 2 remaining rows of (maincrop) potatoes.

He also carried on with his work on the shed.  He's fitted two new windows and is fitting a new floor.  My Dad built the shed many years ago and it was in a relatively poor state of repair, so Chris is renovating it back to its former glory.  We're hoping to use the shed as a little living room with a comfy chair and paraffin heater (I love the smell of paraffin heaters).  It'll be somewhere to shelter in Winter and sit down with a hot cup of soup.  We'll get a camping stove in there too to make tea and coffee.  I suffer with bad circulation in my feet and fingers when the weather is cold or if I have my hands in cold water.  It doesn't take long for the tops of my fingers to turn white in cold weather, and sometimes it hurts that much I want to cry and it makes me feel sick - seriously!  So I need a little place to go and warm up.

At the shop meeting on Monday, I took some plastic rubbish in to make the internal sign.  Chris came with me to advise the group on the shop fittings.  I've been researching gardening products for the shop, and I think I've got a good selection of products in development.  Seeing as the gardening season is coming to a lull until next Spring, I thought we could concentrate on Christmas gardening gifts, wildlife feeders and houses, bird seed and wildflower seed.  I'll also include some garlic bulbs and sprouting seed kits.  Plus anything else I can think of in the meantime.

When I got back from the meeting I settled down to watch last week's 'Great British Bake Off' (BBC2).  Sue Perkins is one of the hosts and she always make me laugh, I loved her in the 'Supersizers' food series that she did with Giles Coren when each episode they ate food from a specific era.

The wartime espisode was my favourite.

But it was a close call with the 80s one which was loads of fun with crazy 80s outifts and hair dos.

During the 80s episode Sue described a pop tart as an envelope filled with molten strawberries which really tickled me.  As well as eating the food from different eras they also lived the lifestyle, right down to their homes and clothing.  

Sorry, I'm sidetracking, back to the point.  Mary Berry is also in the 'Great British Bake Off', and as readers of this blog will know, Mary is my baking heroine, whose cake recipes have never failed to please.  She's a bit of a toff in real life, but I'll let her off.

I also caught up on the last two episodes of Gardeners World, and Toby planted some paperwhite narcissus for Christmas.  He must have read my mind (see last week's post).

I got some cool new music this weekend: an album by Allo Darlin, Groove Armada's new album, Siouxsie and the Banshee's Kaleidoscope, Alan Watt's Om, and the Best of the Specials.

I got offered a place on the Ecology course but I turned it down.  Mainly because the tutor said the course is about habitat management (not really what I want to do) and he said the job opportunities aren't good at the moment.

You can tell the nights are drawing in.  After work, we don't get much time at the allotment before it starts to go dark.

Here's the onion, garlic and shallot harvest, which has more or less dried out now.  Note the marrow too (the big ones is still growing on the plot).

My 32nd birthday is approaching (28th September), so I need to sort out what I am doing and where we are going for a day out and where to have a birthday meal to meet up with friends.  I think I'll keep it simple this year, cos most people seem to be skint.

And finally, we watched an episode of Shooting Stars and the Misterchef sketch was the funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time.  One of the characters has a cauliflower head!  It's too funny.

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