August 2012                                                                                               Back to July 


Wednesday 1st

15 to 20 to 14°C. 4.03kWh 1.2kW max. Sunny intervals and very heavy showers. One of these completely soaked me on my bike ride.


Sarah Ian and the three boys came to visit in the afternoon. Ian and the two older boys, Thomas and Cowan are going camping tomorrow in North Wales; let us hope the weather is a little kinder than of late. Sarah and the youngest Euan and staying with us to be joined by Kirstin and Anna on Friday. Ian and the boys will return on Sunday when they will return home.


Thursday 2nd

11 to 22 to 13°C. Started off bright but rained heavily in the late morning completely filling the water butts which I had nearly drained earlier in the week to give a good watering in the polytunnel. It cleared again later.


Pat Sarah and Euan went out for the day to Attingham Park which is a National Trust stately home and grounds near Shrewsbury. There is plenty to do for small children, including a play area, a story teller and treasure hunts so Euan enjoyed himself, Too many fragranced people for me I  am afraid so I stayed at home and weeded the new hedge once it had stopped raining.


Friday 3rd

12 to 21 to 15°C. 6.17kWh 1.6kW max. Another day of sunny intervals and showers.


Kirstin and Anna arrived in the afternoon. They will be stopping till Monday.


Saturday 4th

13 to 22 to 13°C 6.46kWh 2.2kW max. Another day of sunny intervals and showers, one of them heavy with thunder around lunchtime but the main storm was further north


Pat Sarah Kirstin Euan and Anna went to Chester Zoo for the day. I would have liked to go too but again, there would be too many people with their freshly laundered clothes. They had a good time despite getting caught in the same thunderstorm.


Sunday 5th

11 to 24 to 12°C. 8.73kWh 2.3kW max. Started off fine and sunny but clouded over by early afternoon with a thunderstorm and heavy rain later.


Woke up feeling fine but had a really bad asthma attack just after breakfast - my peak flow fell from above 700 to less than 150 in only a couple of minutes. Don't know the cause but suspect it must be something from the clean clothes on one of the children. Was very ill all day and into the night, aching and dizzy most of the time.


Ian and the boys turned up in the late afternoon soaking wet from being caught in the storm earlier while out walking. They all went home after tea.


Monday 6th

9 to 19 to 12°C. 5.97kWh 1.0kW max. Drizzly with a few brighter intervals.


Still unwell with peak flow still less than 200 despite more than 20 doses of salbutamol throughout the day.


Kirstin and Anna left after breakfast. They were going to look round Shrewsbury on their way home.


Tuesday 7th

11 to 22 to 14°C. 7.23kWh 1.7kW max. Fine drizzle at first then cleared to thin cloud and a few sunny periods.


Still not feeling very well so just pottered round the garden doing some dead-heading and tying up chrysanthemums.


I was surprised to find that the shredder is almost exactly 10 years old - we bought it on August 5th 2002. It is past its best with problems with the fuel line and drive belt and is looking rather battered after all the use we have put it to in those ten years. So we have decided to get a new one; the same make and model but with a larger engine, 9hp rather than 5.5.


Wednesday 8th

13 to 23 to 14°C 6.59kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals with only a light breeze so feeling warmer than of late.


Feeling much better despite being visited by an inspector from the frim who installed the solar panels who reeked of aftershave. Even Pat said he made her eyes water. Why do people use this stuff? I expected it would start my asthma off again but it didn't. Obviously, despite the power of the chemical cocktail he was wearing, the actual chemical which affects me wasn't present in this mix.


Finished clearing the weeds round the new hedge while Pat weeded the drive.


Thursday 9th

13 to 24 to 15°C 10.03kWh 2.0kW max. Misty overnight, clearing by mid-morning to a blue sky with a few wispy high clouds and hardly any breeze.


Felt well enough to go for a bike ride, covering the 8 miles in less than 25 minutes, so obviously I am back to normal. Then gave the polytunnel a good watering using the rain water we had collected last weekend. This job also needs a lot of energy.


Some of the squashes are getting rather too big. They have reached the roof of the polytunnel and many of the sideshoots are growing across the path, despite regularly pushing them back. Time for some drastic cutting back before we can't get in anymore.


We now have tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, onions and courgettes all ready so time for our first ratatouille of the year. Soon there will be a glut of these and Pat will make large quantities for the freezer.


Friday 10th

11 to 25 to 17°C. 12.51kWh 2.0kW max. Misty to start but soon cleared to an almost cloudless blue sky till late afternoon.


Had a puncture while out on my bike and decided to replace the brake blocks while the wheel was off. It took me nearly half the afternoon. I hate cantilever brakes. they take such a long time to adjust. You get them right on one side but then need to turn the screw on the other side and then the first side isn't near enough to the rim. And so on... Earlier bikes had caliper brakes which were much easier to adjust since one side didn't affect the other, but most bikes don't have that design anymore.


Saturday 11th

14 to 24 to 16°C 8.06kWh 21.kW max. Another summery day though not as sunny as yesterday and with a stronger breeze.


Made a start on repotting the spring bulbs, hyacinth, narcissus and tulips. Quite a few were rotten which is unusual. It is probably because of the very wet weather in late spring while they were dying back.


Sunday 12th

14 to 22 to 15°C. 5.16kWh 1.7kW max Overcast with a few brighter intervals. Warm southerly breeze.


Generally tidying up the garden, cutting back hedges and pulling out the larger weeds in the wilder parts of the garden.


Monday 13th

15 to 23 to 18°C 5.61kWh 1.4kW max. Still overcast with a stronger breeze. Rain is forecast for later in the week.


Tuesday 14th

13 to 24 to 17°C. 8.01kWh 2.1kW max. Broken cloud and a warm breeze.


The early peas are finished so pulled them up and cleared away the nets and canes. After digging the ground over there is just time to sow some purple top turnips.


Rolled back the fine net on top of the fruit cage so small birds like blue tits and garden warblers can get in to pick any caterpillars off the brassicas. This will also let in the blackbirds and thrushes but the raspberries are finished apart from a few overripe ones so they won't do any harm. They may even do some good if they find some slugs and snails.


Wednesday 15th

16 to 22 to 14°C. 3.19kWh 1.7kW max. Bright to start but soon clouded over and poured down almost continuously between 10am and 5pm. Cleared after that so at least we got a bit of fresh air for an evening walk.


Thursday 16th

10 to 24 to 17°C. 10.81kWh 2.1kW max. A very different day with warm sunshine, a few high clouds and a warm breeze.


The three boys have come to stay for the next 8 days while Sarah and Ian go on holiday in the Lake District.


Friday 17th

17 to 24 to 12°C. 2.95kWh 1.1kW max. A dull dreary damp day with intermittent light rain and short heavy showers.


A dry spell allowed Pat to take the boys for a walk in the morning. The rest of the time they spent reading and playing computer games. Hopefully it will be better weather tomorrrow.


Saturday 18th

16 to 24 to 16°C. 4.01kWh 1.3kW max. Overcast but dry. Came brighter in the afternoon.


Pat took the boys to Hawkstone Follies, for the day. Lots of things to do; walking in the woods and exploring some 'caves' in particular. I,as usual, stayed at home. I would like to go with them but there are two many people with laundered clothing to risk it and I am already suffering from asthma, presumably from something they have brought with them.


Sunday 19th

10 to 22 to 14°C. 4.23kWh 1.3kW max. Overcast with light drizzle and heavy showers.


Not a day for doing anything outside but the boys seemed quite happy to watch television, read books or user their Playstation.


Monday 20th

14 to 24 to 14°C. 8.04kWh 1.9kW max.  A much better day with sunny intervals and mainly fluffy white clouds.


Pat took the boys to Ironbridge for the day to visit the industrial museums. Another place with lots to do for children.

I stayed at home and turned the compost all into two bins leaving three empty ones ready for the shredding season next month.


Tuesday 21st

13 to 21 to 13°C. 3.7kWh 1kW max. Back to overcast with drizzle and heavy showers. Cleared by mid afternoon.


One of those days when no sooner you have gone outside it starts pouring again, only the stop as soon as you go back inside.


Wednesday 22nd

10 to 20 to 13°C. 7.28kWh 1.6kW max.  Cloudy misty start but soon cleared to long sunny intervals in the late morning and afternoon but with a cool breeze.


Pat took the boys into Shrewsbury for the day.


Thursday 23rd

12 to 24 to 14°C. 4.56kWh 0.9kW max. Back to miserable and damp.


Friday 24th

12 to 21 to 14°C. 6.15kWh 1.7kW max. Started off fairly bright but clouded over by lunchtime and started raining mid-afternoon, sometimes quite heavily.


Pat drove up to the Delemere Forest in Cheshire with the boys so she could return them to their parents on their return from the Lake District.


Started to removel some nettles, thistles, docks and other large perennial weeds from the wild garden but was soon driven in by the rain.


Saturdat 25th

12 to 22 to 14°C. 6.23kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals but mostly dark clouds with drizzle and heavy showers.


Dug up the maincrop potatoes. These had already started to die back early in July, indeed they never really got going because of the very poor weather in June and the waterlogged soil most of the summer. Usually we dig them in late September and get returns of between 12 and 20 times the weight of seed potatoes planted; 25-30kg from 1.5kg. This year barely twice the weight and half of those are full of holes.


In all the years we have lived here this is the worst we have ever had. Very few apples, pears and plums because the early spring caused them to flower before there were any bees to fertilise them. Even the Bramley has no fruit. It has never failed before; usually we only pick around a quarter of the apples to give us several crates full. There are a few Queen Cox because this flowers later, and a few Russets.


The dwarf, climbing and runner beans have only just started to flower because of the poor weather in June and July; usually by now we have more of these than we can eat and Pat is placing the excess in the freezer. The peas are late but the crops are good though rather maggoty. Turnips and sweded sown in June are unlikely to produce anything worth having.

Only crops which like damp weather, such as celery and leeks, are thriving but even these are smaller thas usual. The early cabbages, Golden Acre and Miinicole are also growing well; it is too early to tell if the broccoli, sprouts and kale will be productive over autumn and winter.v Salad crops are also, literally, a washout with radishes bolting before they have swollen, onions failing to germinate and lettuce going mouldy.


The crops in the polytunnel are good with plenty of courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. There has been plenty of collected rainwater for them. The squashes however, despite growing a lot of leaf have grown very few female flowers so far, probably because there has never been a spell of warm sunny weather lasting more than two or three days at a time. There are plenty of bumble bees feeding on the male flowers but without females there will be no fruit.


Sunday 26th

10 to 21 to 12°C. 6.69kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals with broken heavy clouds,


Dug over the potato patch and let the hens into it. Or rather hen, since one of the three has died and another one is broody at the moment and sits in the henhouse growling if you try to move her. We will probably get some new ones next year.


Monday 27th

10 to 17 to 14°C. 1.85kWh 400W max. A damp overcast day with thick dark clouds and heavy rain on  and off.


Managed to saw up some wood during a drier spell after lunch before a second line of rain came across from the west. Not what you want for a bank holiday but what we seem to get  in recent years.


Tuesday 28th

11 to 22 to 14°C 11.02kWh 21.kW max. Blue sky to start, slowly clouding over as the day progressed. Light breeze. Very different to yesterday but tomorrow heavy rain and thunder is forecast.


Wednesday 29th

13 to 18 to 11°C. 2.54kWh 1.5kW max. Very grey start becoming even blacker and then rained heavily with thunder during the late morning and early afternoon. Brightened a little in the afternoon before raining again, clearing after dusk.


Back to sawing up wood. Too wet to work in the garden.


Thursday 30th

10 to 17 to 8°C. 6.87kWh 2kW max. Variable cloud with a cool NW wind.


A cold night is forecast to decided it would be expedient to close the door into the polytunnel. I don't want the peppers and squashes to think autumn is coming.


Friday 31st

6 to 19 to 13°C. 8.40kWh 2.2kW max. Cold start but soon warmed up with less of a wind and sunny intervals. Light rain in the late afternoon but soon gave way to a cloudy warmer and dry evening.