Tag Archives: weather

A little Imogen-ation…

Some clichés are more accurate than others, and one that is especially true is that it doesn’t take an awful lot to get the English talking about the weather, in fact it almost counts as a national pastime.
So it’s no surprise that one of the subjects for workplace small talk yesterday was the imminent arrival of a weather system so powerful that it warranted an amber weather warning from the meteorological office.

Yes, “storm Imogen” was coming.

The Met office began a project to name wind storms at the end of last year and Imogen was the latest system to arrive on our shores, (apparently we are soon to be battered by Jake, Katie and Lawrence) promising to spread 70 – 80mph winds, heavy rain, hail and general unpleasantness across the country from the early hours of Monday morning.

Well, they weren’t kidding.

Just a quick look out of the window at lunchtime was enough to establish that Imogen was indeed upon us and my first thought was; “I hope the gazebo is still securely tied down” because, as I mentioned in January, it nearly escaped from the garden the last time we had gale force winds.
I wasn’t too concerned though, I had made pretty certain it was rigidly anchored to as many solid objects as possible and it had remained intact so far.

However, I became progressively less confident as I drove home from work.
The first indication that all might not be well was the horrendous traffic gridlock that blocked every road going into Barnstaple, meaning that a journey which usually takes 15 – 20 minutes took nearly an hour.
Then, as I walked in the front door of the flats, our neighbour came out and informed me that the power was out and wasn’t due to be reconnected until 10p.m.

Great, no heating, no lights and no phone or internet.

Rhonda was away doing a training course and had been due to pick Audrey up from a friend’s house on her way home, but there was no sign of them and no way to contact them either, so I dug out some candles while it was still light enough to find them and went out to check on the gazebo.

Or should I say, the ex-gazebo…


Oh bollocks (again).

I guess I should be grateful that the canopy stayed tied to the fence, otherwise there’s no way of telling how far away the entire thing may have flown. As it was, I imagine that its death throes were quite spectacular to watch, because it really is completely destroyed this time.
I didn’t even bother attempting to resurrect it, I just left it in a sad little heap and went back in the warm.

Rhonda and Audrey finally arrived about an hour later, after getting trapped in traffic chaos due to an overturned truck and trailer blocking the main road.
Fortunately by then I’d found two sets of battery powered Christmas tree lights to go with the candles, so at least I could see to make a salad.

Audrey thought it was all terribly exciting and (on the understanding that it doesn’t happen too often) there was something quite pleasant about the two hours before the power came back, sitting quietly and chatting by candlelight.

I’ll still be glad of a hot meal tonight though.


Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Personal anecdote


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Just Jot It January: Day thirteen…


I must say I’m rather enjoying the routine of Just Jot It January, even if my (predictably obtuse) decision to ignore Linda G Hill’s daily prompt (and to post all the usual weekly threads separately) has left me with even more waffling to do than usual.

Fortunately, there’s always the fallback position of reminding you all yet again that my very first, lovingly crafted, #SoCS-inspired works of fiction are now available in the oddly-titled anthology, Stories In Green Ink, the Kindle edition of which now features a bonus third story of mine, (the one I originally asked to be included) along with many other new works by up and coming writers.


The link to that expanded electronic version is HERE, but if, like me, you prefer the satisfying feeling of an actual physical book in your hand when you’re reading, you can find the paperback edition HERE.

I know I’ve been banging on about this since before Christmas, but I keep getting e-mails from my publisher (oh alright, she’s not MY publisher exactly, but it gives me a buzz to say so) telling me that I should be plugging the book every chance I get.
I can’t help thinking that everyone must be heartily fed up with hearing about it by now, but at least it beats talking about the weather, right?

Anyway, now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about something else.

It’s not big and it’s not clever, but Rhonda and I both smoke, which we have to do outside as we’re quite rightly not allowed to do so in the flat, (not that I would anyway; we have Audrey to consider and, even as a smoker, when the smoking ban came into force a few years ago it didn’t take long to appreciate how much nicer it is to drink in a pub that didn’t have the atmosphere of a gas chamber on a Beijing industrial estate) so I bought a cheap, metal framed gazebo and erected it in the garden as soon as we moved in.

As it turned out, it was a bloody good idea, not only was it a useful shelter from the inevitable English summer rainy season, but I spent many a day writing under the shade of the canopy, when that mysterious golden orb in the sky put in an occasional, all too brief appearance last year.

However, given that it has all the rigid structural integrity of a macaroni step ladder in an earthquake, any type of extreme weather was always going to be a bit of a problem, especially since we have no lawn and hammering the guide rope pegs into the patio wasn’t an option.
So, being an inventive sort of bloke, I’d attached various wires and braces to the surrounding fence posts and wedged the feet under the edges of paving slabs to ensure it remained in place.

Which, up until yesterday, it had done.

That’s when Rhonda posted this photo on Facebook when I was still at work, with the caption; “A tad windy today.”


Oh bollocks.

So last night when I got home, (by which time Rhonda was at work) I had to spend half an hour or so in the dark, in a raging gale, attempting to wrestle with an upside down gazebo with all the aerodynamics of recalcitrant stilt-walker wearing a parachute, finally managing to re-secure it to the fence with electrical flex and plastic washing line and weigh down the wildly flailing legs with heavy, soil-filled planters.



All of which just goes to show, If you’re English, sooner or later, you’re going to end up talking about the weather.


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