August 2015                                                                                                Back to July


Saturday 1st

11 to 19 to 10°C. 6.24kWh 1.2kW max.  I was hoping August might start with better weather than July ended but it was another cloudy day with several heavy showers (3mm) but also some sunny periods though still not very warm.



Spent most of the day fittng a new shower, or rather most of the time taking out the old one because the connections were very corrroded; it was very old. Usually we don't  need the shower in summer as the unused solar electricity is diverted to warm the water for a bath instead. It was only the lack of sun which caused us to try using the shower and discovering it wasn't heating the water any more. So I bought a new one and waited for a rainy day to fit it. I will finish this tomorrow morning.


Sunday 2nd

10 to 22 to 19°C. 9.11kWh 1.7kW max.  Mainly cloudy with a few sunny intervals. Feeling warm in the southerly wind.


Finished fitting the shower but priming it took longer than I anticipated. The trouble was that, because we don't have mains water, there is only a small head on the water supply from the roof tanks. To compensate for this we have a pump to increase the water pressure for the shower. Both are switched on by the same switch. The previous shower was much simpler than the new one. This new one has a motorised valve which opens when it feels water pressure but the pump stops working if it feels resistance to the flow. So when you switch them on the pump starts, feels resistance and stops whereas the shower, not feeling much pressure doesn't allow water to flow.  Eventually we discovered that if you placed the shower head at the bottom of the rail there was just enough head of water to cause the shower to open the valve and the pump then starts again. Once running you can then move the shower head up again. Complicated but we will get used to it.


Finished staking the chrysanthemums.


Monday 3rd

14 to 22 to 11°C. 7.22kWh 1.6kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few spots of rain but also some sunnier periods.


Now the peas have all been gathered and in the freezer dug and raked over the soil and sowed the final row of swedes and successional rows of purple top and yellow turnip.


Tuesday 4th

11 to 21 to 13°C 9.69kWh 2.2kW max. A very mixed day with sunny periods but also black clouds and heavy showers in the afternoon. Feeling warm if you could stay out of the strong wind which was cold even though coming from the south.


Mainly tidying up and watering, including liquid fertiliser for the tomatoes and chrysanthemums. Also gave the sprouts and broccoli some more nitrate of chalk.


Wednesday 5th

12 to 20 to 14°C. 7.09kWh 2.2kW max. Another mixed day of sunny intervals, gusty winds and showers with some heavier rain in the evening (3mm) before clearing to a still humid night.


I did some weeding and Pat did some more shredding.


Thursday 6th

13 to 19 to 11°C. 4.4kWh 700W max. Misty drizzly start then mainly overcast with some sun in the late afternoon. Even so it felt warmer because the wind had dropped.


More weeding and shredding.


Friday 7th

5 to 23 to 13°C. 9.49kWh 2.1kW max. A really good summer's day at last with thin high cloud and sunshine in the morning and thicker cloud in the afternoon but feeling warm in the gentle westerly breeze.


Trimmed back some more shrubs  while Pat continued to shred the trimmings from earlier. Later the first of the the winter/spring plug plants arrived, wallflowers, so I transplanted those into 12 cell trays. Altogether 178 plantlets which should soon grow and hopefully flower later in the year and again in the spring.


Saturday 8th

8 to 24 to 13°C. 12.49kWh 1.9kW max.  Sunny with only a few fluffy clouds most of the time.


More shrub trimming and shredding.


Sunday 9th

13 to 25 to 17°C. 7.34kWh 1.3kW max. Warm and cloudy. Better than yesterday because it wasn't sunny but pleasantly warm.


Continued trimming shrubs and hedges.


Monday 10th

15 to 23 to 10°C. 7.04kWh 1.3kW max.  Another mainly cloudy but warm day with a short heavy shower around 10am (0.3mm)


Tuesday 11th

7 to 22 to 12°C. 9.37kWh 1.8kW max. Slightly sunnier than yesterday but with a colder north westerly breeze.


Wednesday 12th

9 to 24 to 14°C. 11.74kWh 2.2kW max. Warm and sunny. Rain is forecast tomorrow maybe with thunderstorms.


Thursday 13th

9 to 20 to 16°C. 3.67kWh 600W max. A very dull damp day but with only a few spots of rain rather than the heavy thunder storms reported further south and east.


Very busy with my software today so didn't do much in the garden. Pat decided to empty the rest of the bags of early potatoes before it rained so they could be nice and dry for storage.


Friday 14th

13 to 17 to 13°C. 2.03kWh 600W max.  Started raining around  3am, light at first but then more heavy rain from 7am till midday and then intermittent light rain most of the afternoon. Altogether 12mm which more than refilled our rainwater tanks; not something you expect to have in the middle of August.


The weather wasn't conducive for working outside but fortunately the Polyanthus High Seas plugs came so I set about transplanting these into 12 cell trays; altogether 20 trays making 240 plants.


Saturday 15th

9 to 16 to 8°C. 8.87kWh 1.7kW max. Cool bright start but clouded over by the late morning. Cleared again in the evening; looks like it could get quite cold by the morning.


More tidying.


Sunday 16th

7 to 18 to 13°C. 10.08kWh 2.0kW max. Sunny morning and cloudy afternoon. Feeling warmer because there was very little wind.

The road was very quiet today being a Sunday and road works north of us stopping through traffic. So this was an ideal day to weed the bottom of the drive and the verges. Noticed the house sign needed painting while we were doing this so I touched it up later in the afternoon.


Pulled some of the coarser weeds, dandelion and nettle mainly, out of the wild flower mats. Some of these are looking a little bald in places so diluted down some more wildflower seed with finely seived soil and compost and used this to fill in the spaces.


Monday 17th

12 to 19 to 13°C. 6.48kWh 1.9kW max. Cloudy with a few sunnier periods in the morning.


Tuesday 18th

7 to 19 to 15°C 8.64kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals.


Pat went to a clinic in Shrewsbury for glaucoma tests and was given the all clear. I have been unwell for most of the day with the usual asthma and arthralgia so didn't do much.


Wednesday 19th

10 to 16 to 14°C. 5.31kWh 1.8kW max. Bright start but started raining by mid morning and on and off for the rest of the day. Only light rain so only 2.4mm in total


Still feeling unwell, if anything worse than yesterday.


Thursday 20th

13 to 22 to 18°C.  A dull day with some light showers in the morning, becoming warm and humid in the afternoon.


Started feeling better by lunchtime which was good because the Mirabelle plum tree was so overladen with fruit that two of its branches had broken under the weight. We picked the plums off the broken branches; they are far enough on to ripen in storage. Then I cut up the branches to clear them away and sawed the stumps clean to the trunk. The problem with plum trees is that if they are damaged they can bleed quite badly and might become infected, causing more damage to other parts of the tree. In the past the treatment was to paint them with tar or mastic. These days binding them with gaffer tape is the usual way to cover the wound which is what I did.


The tree next to the Mirabelle, the Laxton's Fortune apple, also has a lot of ripe fruit so I picked some of these, partly to stop them falling off and getting bruised but also to stop these branches breaking as well. Again they should ripen and they store quite well anyway. This year has been a very good year for top fruit. First we had a bumper crop of cherries and then of the early plums and there are also a lot of pears, other desert apples, including Cox and Russet, and the ancient Bramley cooking apple tree is also laden down.


Friday 21st

17 to 22 to 17°C. 5.47kWh 700W max. Another dull warm and humid day with slight drizzle on and off during the day, turning to light rain by late afternoon. more rain is forecast tomorrow.


Cowan and Euan have come to stop with us for the next week while their parents Saran and Ian have a walking holiday in the Brecon Beacons. I only hope the weather improves for both of us.


Saturday 22nd

15 to 24 to 17°C. 4.17kWh 600W max.  Another cloudy warm and humid day. Late in the afternoon the clouds got really thick and dark and it became very still. We could see lightning to the southeast and the eye of the storm passed north west directly over us; you could see a narrow patch of clear sky. Then the storm hit us with very heavy rain and hail and continous flickering lightning for several minutes. The lightning seemed to be entirely between clouds, not striking the ground. It only took about 20 minutes to pass over but in that time over 7mm of rain fell. This intensity of storm is very unusual in this country. I remember storms like this in southern France but not round here. Fortunately the electricity supply did not fail.


Sunday 23rd

16 to 22 to 11°C. 5.57kWh 1.4kW max.  Sunny start but soon clouded over, raining again by lunchtime and continued for most of the afternoon, though mostly only light. (5.4mm)


Monday 24th

8 to 18 to 10°C. 6.27kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny intervals with a few spots of drizzle and a cold south-easterly breeze.


Took the boys to Corbett Wood, which is a large mostly abandoned sandstone quarry with lots of trees and meandering paths for them to explore. There were plenty of signs of the recent heavy rain causing streams to carve paths down the hillsides and a few trees with their roots undermined.


Tuesday 25th

9 to 18 to 13°C. 6.47kWh 2.0kW max. Sunny start but clouded over by late morning with light rain or drizzle most of the afternoon. Cleared in the evening but more rain is forecast early tomorrow.


Managed to dodge the showers to go for my bike ride and cut back some more of the hedges.


Wednesday 26th

13 to 18 to 14°C. 6.31kWh 1.4kW max. Some rain overnight and some light showers during the day with a few sunny periods between but mainly cloudy. Feeling cold in a mainly easterly wind.


The Bramley apples are ripe which is very early; usually we don't pick them till well into September. Picked most of the larger ones we could reach filling 4 crates which is usually enough to last us till well into the New Year. Then picked some more to give to Sarah when Pat delivers the boys back to her on Friday.


Thursday 27th

10 to 20 to 10°C. 10.24kWh 2kW max. Mainly sunny and feeling warm away from the still chilly breeze.


Pat took the boys to Whixall Moss in the afternoon but I stayed at home to start digging the maincrop potatoes which have started to die back. The weather this summer seems to have suited them. I have only dug about half so far, mainly the Cara and King Edward, and these amount to over 90kg with some individual tubers nearly 1kg in weight. Not a bad yield from 3kg of seed potatoes!!


Friday 28th

9 to 19 to 12°C. 8.51kWh 1.9kW max. Sunny intervals with some short but very heavy showers, clearing in the evening.


Pat delivered the boys back to their parents, meeting them in Shrewsbury on their way back from South Wales. It was nice to have them for the week but it will also be nice to not have to suffer the constant noise of them running up and downstairs and across the landing. Euan especially doesn't seem to do anything at a normal speed; I wish I still had his energy.


The Dianthus plugs came so spent part of the afternoon planting them into 12 cell trays. Then back to digging up more potatoes.


Saturday 29th

11 to 19 to 11°C. 5.33kWh 1.4kW max. Another windy day with sunny intervals and short sharp showers.


Finished digging the potatoes with a final tally of around 170kg from the the 4 maincrop varieties of 1.5kg seed potatoes of each which is a very good yield,  Dug the bed over again in case I missed some, and I can guarantee that even after that there will still be some sprouting next year. Then let the hens back in which got them very excited. Finally we covered the whole area with the strong net to keep them safe as they will have access early in the morning when there could still be foxes about.


Sunday 30th

10 to 19 to 13°C. 5.31kWh 1.6kW max. Sunny intervals until late afternoon when it started to rain but only light. Not as windy so felt a little warmer.


Pat sorted the potatoes, finding a few damaged ones to eat first and also a couple of diseased ones. The best ones she has placed in bins layered between shredded paper. These bins are outside the north wall of the house where it is sheltered from both the sun in the autumn and the cold in the winter so they should keep better here, though not as good as if we had a cellar. The rest will go in boxes in garage, again between layers of paper. but not as cool so they might start sprouting in the spring.


She also picked some of the black grapes growing in the old greenhouse. Not as big and juicy as the ones you can buy in the shops but with much more taste. They seem to thrive on neglect. Apart from cutting them back a little after they have fruited I never water or feed them.


Cleared away the Turk's Turban squash plants in the polytunnel which have started to die back. There are still quite a few fruits on them but these will store for a while inside the house. I need the space for the wallflowers which I have started to pot on into 12cm pots.


Monday 31st

12 to 15 to 8°C. 2.48kWh 600W max. Light rain all night and most of the morning. A little brighter in the afternoon though still overcast with a few light showers. Not the sort of weather you would want for a Bank Holiday but it nearly always seems to be what we get.


Finished potting on the wallflowers. Pat finished sorting the potatoes, packing the sound ones into boxes in the garage but they will need regular inspection every few weeks, The damaged ones we will eat first.


September 2015