It Happened Today

DSC_0565Today is the first day of this year which I even start out in shorts and T-shirt. Long pants are pants, at least as long as this warm weather lasts!

All fruit trees in bloom while the tulips are still going strong. I can almost see the newly sown peas emerging from my window. I can definitely see the radishes emerging, and those Swiss Chard plants which overwintered in the bed are already in full production by mid April.

Makes me think that summer can’t be too far away, no? Certainly feels like it.

Rain Sweet Rain

2011-04-23 1524I never thought I’d be so glad to see it raining, but I am quite happy with the present not-a-downpour not-a-drizzle all-penetrating soggy traditional English rain. I think it indicates the arrival of a warm front form the west, which is most welcome here. Any warmth, indeed.

I have also been watching the minimum overnight temperatures. These seem to hold above freezing now, even only by a small margin. I hope this will be enough for the garden to spring into action, and I am sure it will be enough for the boys to consider a move to the great outdoors.

All I need now is a break from the rain so that I can prepare their summer palace.

[UPDATE:] The rain stopped and the boys have now moved into their summer palace. It doesn’t quite feel like summer yet, but everyone is pretty excited – most of all those furry friends.

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A Special Day

2010-07-18 2010-07-18 001 019My most favourite day of the week must by Friday, when le weekend is just round the corner and a first round of decent cooking is normally on the agenda. Except today, though. I admit, Maundy Thursday is even better. It’s the best!

Enjoy le long Easter Weekend, everyone!

It’s still chilly, but the sun is shining for a change. What a difference it makes!


20120512_142628Ah, wonderful. This weekend, and hopefully not only for this weekend, spring has returned after several week’s absence. It’s still a little chilly, but the sun is out and the sky, while not cloudless, definitely shows a good amount of blue.

Recently laid sugar peas (the French “mange tout” variety) are raising tiny heads, and green beans should be coming through the soil one of these days. I sew lots of Swiss chard. I planted some pre-grown chard, planted salads, celery and beetroots. The cherry tree is netted against pigeons, starlings and other birds. The bananas are trimmed, the spring flower bulbs are taken out and stored away.

The tomatoes are coming out of the greenhouse soon, and our herbs are in full production already (minus the rosemary, which appears to struggle).

All we need now is a decent remainder of spring and a glorious summer.


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Bad Weather, Good Weather

DSC_1335I’d really like to know what happened to our weather, or to be precise, what happened to the BBC’s weather forecast. Until not so long ago, the BBCs forecast would be inaccurate and unreliable, and even the current or imminent reports were often wrong. Some time over the last year or so, something changed. I find the forecast is much more accurate, even to the point of the hourly predictions of rain at 13:00, then sunny again from 15:00 onwards. There’s some understandable inaccuracy in those times, but by and large, they are spot on.

Maybe the weather learned to align with the BBC’s forecast, but I suspect something else changed. Somebody mentioned some while ago that the BBC’s contract with the Met Office was running out, and that the BBC might be shopping around for a different provider. According to the BBC’s weather web site, they still get their weather from the Met Office though.

If anyone knows what might have changed to improve the forecast, I’d be grateful for such information.


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In This Climate

A burst water mains in East London Just look outside. Really. It’s been nice weather London for the last few weeks. Hot on many days, warm on most, and warmer than in many previous summers on almost all days. Sunshine, mostly blue skies, silken air (or as silken as it ever gets in the big city).

Ahh. I wish it would stay like this until the end of September, then turn into a golden Indian Summer for six weeks, into a dry and crisp winter (but not crisp enough to hurt the Banana Grove), then approach a balmy spring again.

When the BBC weather man (my special friend Rob McElwee) talks about how we in England’s South-East must envy the Scots and Welsh for their cooler weather and abundant rain, all I want to do is shout Noooo at him.

Actually, it’s not worth my breath. I just go outside, light the BBQ and enjoy the warmth. That’s what I shall do now.


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The City Never Sleeps

frosted flowers He wasn’t quite sure whether it meant good news or bad news. Given the the BBC’s current main weather presenter, Rob McElwee, presents himself as quite a fool, a certain level of uncertainty fits the image well. So anyway, it would be getting colder, and foggier, he tells us.

And it does. As I wake up in dense fog, I check my alarm twice. No, all is as it should be; 5:45am. What’s wrong?

Nothing is wrong. The whole town is wrapped in thick fog, and muffled better than any earplug could do.

They say the city never sleeps. It sure sounds like it does now. Lovely.

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Don’t Worry. We Have Good News

Sun I explained a friend that our Velux roof windows, which come with a self-cleaning coating, only really clean themselves in a proper downpour. Due to low tilt of our windows (17 degrees), and maybe just as a general attribute of this coating, you really need a good rainfall to wash off the bird droppings and general Greater London dust and soot. A drizzle or mild rain won’t do the job.

When I explained all that, I just casually commented on this aspect. I did not mean to ask for such rain. Yet, it has arrived.

I am sure the MET office will be happy about this turn of the weather. All over the last few weeks, when our weather was really nice and warm, they told us in the evening’s weather forecast not to worry, promising that it would be cooler soon.

Did you know that the MET office issues the third of four heat wave alerts when the night temperature doesn’t drop below 18 Celsius? You’d think they’ve never seen a decent summer.

I shall be happy to see my roof windows getting dirty, and shall be happy to enjoy seasonally high temperatures. Please bring the summer back. Now.


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A Winter’s Tale

snow in w7 Who would have thought that we’d ever see 4 inches of snow (that’s 10cm, or 100mm, for the metrically inclined) right in the middle of West London, and with the prognosis to last for another three days.

So, all of London writes and talks about the exceptional weather. Busses were suspended, airports shut down or many flights severely delayed, schools closed, bones broken and bumpers bent.

Here’s our very own palm tree, just so that you believe it.

The best thing about heavy snow in London is that they whole place changes tack. Busses were suspended and most people left their cars at home, or even stayed at home themselves. Children played in the street and countless people of all ages were throwing snowballs or building snow men. In that sense, I happily look forward to another few days of snow.

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