Saturday, 14 February 2009

Where did the week go

I can't believe its the weekend again, where has the week gone to!

At the beginning of the week we were up to our ears in water (well not literally, but it was very wet and the rivers had burst their banks. Not as bad as some parts of the country though. Week before last we were in snow and now spring is coming but more of that later.

We had some lovely night skies last week too, once it had stopped raining. One night we noticed the big fat gibbous moon just starting to wane and hanging over the horizon with streaks of cloud passing over it, wish I could have taken a piccy of it.

Still struggling hard with the reading for my MSc, working on the plan to have the first draft done by the end of the month, but it might be time to start panicing soon!

Banana wine in demijohn now, it smells like rice wine, it will probably be horrible but worth a try. The peach wine has cleared beautifully and I will pro
bably rack it off into a glass demijohn this week. The apple and the marrow are still murky and I need to restart the apple apparently, so lots of work to do in the 'brewery' this week. Also it is time Mark did another brew as we have run out of his lovely beer, thankfully I was able to pick up our order from the brewshop now that the snow has gone from the roads on Dartmoor.

Long day on Thursday, 8.30am appointment with a student in South Cornwall meant lea
ving at 7am which was a bit early for me. It was worth it though for the sunrise over Dartmoor. I was surprised though to see that all the snow had gone from Bodmin as I crossed it. After this appointment I had another one just north of Plymouth at lunch time and then home, very tired but it was a good day.

Friday and it was time to write up notes from the meetings on Thursday (too shattered when I got home) and do final bits of shopping for Mark's birthday on Saturday, what a day to have a birthday, Valentines! I am quite proud of myself as he told me that he would like a birthday cake so I made a chocolate fudge cake from a recipe by Nigella, it looks lovely on the outside but was rather overly moist on the inside (a great chocolate hit though and not too sweet). The recipe included sour cream and I only had the diet stuff (!!!) which was rather thin which might explain some of the dampness of the cake (I did check that it was done when I took it out, maybe it needed a few minutes more too. Still an achievement for me and Mark enjoyed it which was the main thing (went rather well with the nice whisky I got him!). Should say that we haven't eaten the whole half of it (it is huge), we gave some to friends! Not sure if we will manage to eat the whole thing, we aren't normally into cake.

But back to spring; you can feel it in the air and the birds are singing very loudly again too. As this is our first February in the house we are starting to see little green shoots of bulbs that we didn't know were there, it's quite exciting waiting to see what will come up. There are some lovely snowdrops in the hedge edging the drive too, they seem to sprout up everywhere.

Despite the fact that is does feel a bit like spring it is still chilly. Luckily we managed to get the woodburner in the office to work without smoking now and it is starting to be enjoyed by one and all!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Wild nights

Well that was a wild one, it was forecast though, which makes a change. Very very very wet yesterday and the two main rivers round here (the Torridge and the Waldron) had both burst their banks big time (the roads were just passable). About 8pm it turned to snow but by the time I went to bed (early last night) it had turned back to rain and it was blowing a hooley!

We heard that the area where we used to live has been hit badly with floods, sounds worse than I can ever remember (haven't asked M yet), and I lived there for 20 odd years.

Looks like this week will be a quiet one for weather (although just seen a report on the met office which says sleet tonight now?). Not too quiet for work as off to South Cornwall and Plymouth on Thursday, will have to cross Bodmin and come back along the edge of Dartmoor so I hope there is no more (moor!!) wild weather on Thursday.

At least the hens are happy now

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Postscript to the winter wonderland posts

On Wednesday evening the clouds cleared and we could see Dartmoor again, covered in white, it reminded me of Scotland. We had a wonderful sunset too and as the sun went down Dartmoor changed from white to pink - absolutely beautiful, sadly I don't have a zoom lens strong enough on my digital camera to be able to capture this. I did take some piccies with my old SLR and when I get them developed and put on disk I will try to post some of these.

We also had a 3/4 moon on Wednesday night and clear(ish) skies. Even though it was night it was so bright outside even at 10pm with the big bright moon shinning on the bright white snow, very magical.

Sadly today although it is still cold and there is still some snow lying it is raining and is due to rain for the rest of the day. As the temp is still below 2 degrees I am hoping that as the day wears on and the temp starts to fall again the rain will turn to snow. Quite what the rest of the week holds for us down here with snow it is difficult to tell, the forecasts on the various weather sites I look at seem to all say something different. I have to go to South Cornwall on Wednesday morning (about 2 hours journey), whether I can go or not is in the hands of the skies.

Friday, 6 February 2009

More winter wonderland

Weather forecasters Pah!

The for
ecast for us last night was a bit of rain with snow in South and East Devon. About 10pm I went out to check on the chickens and thought 'thats cold and wet, but it's not rain' and it wasn't and it still wasn't at 10am this morning. We had about 4 inches of the white stuff, this time not the nice dry snow we had on Monday and Tuesday but good old English wet rain.

Bit gutted to find out though that Okehampton (about 30 minutes away) had half a metre.

Chickens again reluctant to come out and drivers reluctant to use the road (Mark heard two go past, but when he went to look it appeared that they had got to our drive and decided not to go on any further and had turned round).

Our friends (who live closer to Bude) had about 6 inches and lost power, but the power company did sort it out quite quickly. They are lucky, they have an aga as well as a woodburner, if we lost power we wouldn't have any cooking facilities (guess we would have to improvise with the woodburners).

My Nephew and his wife live on the eastern side of Dartmoor (to get to them from the A38 yo
u have to turn off at the top of the hill where everyone got stuck last night). He is abroad at the moment, and she was OK, no loss of power and lots of fun with the twins (aged 2 and a half) making snowmen, except their wellies are so small that the snow went over the top - bless).

Mark got out this afternoon before it got too icy (what we would do without the 4x4 I don't know, my beemer would be hopeless, I know it doesn't happen very often but it is good to know that we can get out come rain or snow if we need to), and we will need to go out tomorrow for provisions. Quite what the next days will hold for us and the rest of the UK in terms of snow who knows. Have to say that we are thankful for the big freezer we certainly aren't going to starve and if need be we could always drink my home made wine....

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Winter wonderland

On Monday morning we are watching the news and seeing how much snow everyone else is getting and feeling a bit sorry for ourselves as we had only had a slight dusting! We were sure that we wouldn't get anything, but as the day passed and the flurries became more persistent it started to look a bit more interesting. Mark had to go out in the afternoon and the moment he got back we had a big whiteout leaving just about an inch, doesn't sound much but it was better than a dusting.

Tuesday morning, we both woke up early (just like kids), it was my turn to get up and do chickens, cats and tea; 'Is it snowing?' he says, 'no' I say, looking out of the front window, I then looked out of the back window and changed my response pretty quickly, another white out which lasted for at least an hour. We got about another 3 or 4 inches from that one. Tuesday is rubbish collection day, so I trudged through the snow (the picture is taken from the end of the drive by the road) to the end of the drive to find that no-one had been down our lane that morning, so clean and pretty!

After a couple of hours I realised that we were going to run out of milk. I normally keep a bottle in the freezer but hadn't replaced the last one I had taken out. Although we have a 4x4 we didn't want to chance it as we have some quite steep hills round here and it would have been silly to have ended up in a hedge for a pint of milk. The nearest village is about 2 miles away, quite a nice walk on a sunny day, even including the hills, but it does have a nice pub too so we wrapped up warm and set off down the lane. It was absolutely majical, all the trees covered in snow and by then just one vehicle had left tracks in the lane. We got our supplies from the little shop and had a quick beer in the pub which was packed with people who had taken the day off and were about to go sledging. We would have joined in but had found an old sledge in one of our outbuildings and wanted to get back to have some fun with it on 'our' fields. It was a fun day.

The only 'things' that didn't appreciate the snow were the chickens, they normally are
yelling to be let out in the morning, but had got caught in the snow on Monday afternoon and had to be physically picked up and put into their house that night as they were definitely NOT going to walk on the snow. On Tuesday morning we had a chicken jam, the first one stepped onto the ladder and other 3 followed enthusiastically, number 1 chicken stopped dead in her tracks - white stuff (shock) oh no not going down the ladder onto that and then tried to back up the ladder with the other 3 pushing from behind. Very funny, wish we had a video camera. One did eventually venture out as can be seen on the picture, but the other 3 stayed firmly in the house. The cats weren't that sure about the snow to start with but once Charlie got the hang of it he had a great time chasing it and playing with it.

We still had snow on the ground yesterday morning but it thawed quickly (I was hoping for some more sledging). We were hopeful for some more today as the forecast at times said we would get more, but all we have today is murk and a cold Eastery wind. That is probably that for us this winter, apparenly they don't really get snow much here. It would be nice to get some more but at least we have had some and at least we have lots and lots and lots of photos to remember it by. (The picture is a view of Dartmoor from our garden taken with a small zoom lens).