January 2017                                                                                                  Back to December 2016


Sunday 1st

 9 to 4 to 0°C. 299Wh. Started raining around 4am and continued till late morning when it cleared to a bright afternoon with a very cold northerly breeze.


Spent the afternoon cutting up the debris from the hedge we cut back yesterday into logs to store for firewood and twigs and small branches for shredding.


Monday 2nd

-1 to 4 to -2°C. 3.27kWh 800W max. Hazy sunshine all day but with a cold northerly breeze slowly changing to  westerly.


Shredded most of the twigs and branches I cut up yesterday. The whole of the polytunnel is now covered in around 10cm of shreddings. The next lot we are piling up nearby to use as mulch in the fruit cage after I have re-organised it. For that I need slightly warmer weather; forking over picking weed roots out of the soil soon leads to very cold hands even with good gloves.


Tuesday 3rd

-1 to 6 to 5°C. 876Wh 600W max. Mainly cloudy with a short sunny interval around lunchtime.


Cut back some more of the northern hedge.


Wednesday 4th

6 to 7 to -2°C. 1.41kWh 600W max. Mainly cloudy in the morning clearing in the afternoon to a frosty evening.


Thursday 5th

-7 to 3 to -2°C. 3.51kWh 900W max. Cold and sunny.


Friday 6th

-2 to 5 to 6°C. 367Wh. Heavy rain in then morning followed by frequent light showers in the afternoon.


Saturday 7th

8 to 10 to 7°C. 457Wh. Mild and cloudy.


Continued cutting back the northern hedge. There is only one overgrown hawthorne left to cut down.

Three blackberry plants I had ordered  came today. For the time being I have planted them in 10L pots till I can properly prepare a bed for them in the fruit cage.


Sunday 8th

7 to 10 to 6°C. 783Wh. Damp and foggy start and only cleared for a short while in the afternoon before coming misty again as the sun went down. Most of Europe,even in the south east, is in cold Arctic air with temperatures well below -15°C.


Monday 9th

5 to 10 to 2°C. 249Wh. Started raining during the night with quite heavy rain through the morning clearing in the afternoon to clear skies and a much colder NW wind.


The hens have only laid 2 eggs in the last 4 days between the 3 of them rather than the 2 a day so far this winter. Whether this is the weather, having to keep them confined because of the bird flu risk or not having any greens to feed them on we don't know. Maybe all three?


Tuesday 10th

5 to 9 to 5°C. 458Wh. Another grey day though still quite mild for January.


35 years ago it was -25°C on this day. I remember there being ice crystals on the inside walls of the bedrooms. Nevertheless I went to work 15 miles on my bicycle as usual but it took a lot longer. The roads were blocked for cars but I could carry my bike through the snow drifts.


Wednesday 11th

6 to 10 to 4°C. 2.66kWh 800W max. Sunny with a very strong westerly wind which died down in the afternoon to a clear still evening.


Too windy to carry on cutting down the tall trees in the northern hedge so started cutting down the lower parts of the cypress hedge running down the side of the drive. The idea is to replace this with a long herbaceous border using plants I grew from seed last year. Hopefully the privet hedge behind will grow better now it isn't deprived of light.


Thursday 12th

6 to 3 to 0°C. 198Wh. Misty start turning to fine rain and some flurries of snow as it turned colder. Less than a cm of snow and some of this thawed in the evening before it cleared to a full moonlit and starlit night. It will probably be slippery by the morning.


A good day to catch up with some indoor jobs like topping up the header tank for the log stove boiler, cleaning the grit out of the toilet ball cock and fitting a new smoke alarm on the landing.


Friday 13th

0 to 5 to 1°C. 1.61kWh. Sunny intervals with some wintry showers. Feeling very cold in the north-westerly wind.


Saturday 14th

1 to 6 to 5°C. 1.41kWh 400W max. Rained most of the night and into the morning, quite heavy at time. Cleared in the afternoon but still very dull with some light showers.


Visited Kirstin, Mark and Anna for the day; Sarah and Euan were also there but not Ian and the two elder boys. Went for a walk along the canal in the afternoon when the weather cleared somewhat. Later, during our evening meal I had a severe asthma attack; it was a good job Pat had brought the nebuliser with us 'just in case'. It felt like a secondary reaction without an obvious primary, probably someone we walked past earlier with freshly laundered clothes or perfume from a Christmas present?


Sunday 15th

5 to 9 to 8°C. 208Wh. More rain overnight and into the morning then a grey overcast day with some light drizzle from time to time.


Not feeling very well after yesterday but there was something needing urgent attention in the garden. The polytunnel had torn along one of the original folds in the cover, presumably because of the recent high winds and needed repairing to stop it tearing further along the crease-line. It was too cold, wet and windy for using repair tape so temporarily we decided to sew it together with some acrylic knitting yarn. So with me holding the edges together with some paper clamps Pat used her best back stitch, a bit like the stitching on large plastic bags of animal feed. That should hold till a more suitable day for a more permanent repair.


Monday 16th

9 to 9 to 8°C. 198Wh. A very dull day with dark clouds, no wind and a few light showers.


Went for the pre-op assessment for my hernia operation next week. I was there longer than we expected and hadn't really recovered from my last encounter with triggering chemicals so by the end of the checks I was very short of breath, despite taking quite a few puffs of salbutamol. The result of this was that my blood pressure was high and my ECG abnormal and there are threats that they might not be able to go ahead with the operation.


Tuesday 17th

6 to 7 to 6°C. 516Wh. A dull damp and dreary day.


Still suffering from two asthma attacks in three days. I need to go to my GP surgery tomorrow; hopefully I will only be there for a short while.


Wednesday 18th

6 to 7 to 6°. 405Wh. Another dull damp day.


Finally got round to cutting some more of the northern hedge, doing it with a bow saw rather than the chainsaw which I don't like using when it is damp.


Thursday 19th

6 to 6 to 6°C. 108Wh. An even duller damper day with heavy clouds and wet mist.


Transplanted the Super Aquadulce broad beans into 4cm pots to carry on growing in the polytunnel. Normally I would be preparing the ground to plant them into in late February. The problem is that the crop rotation places the legumes in the bed next to the chicken run. Normally we fence this off from the chickens leaving them other parts of the kitchen and fruit garden to scratch in but we can't do this because the government advice which confines them into an area where wild birds can't visit is that patch and this advice is now extended to February 28th and might be extended again.


Friday 20th

-1 to 5 to 0°C. 3.89kWh. After a cold foggy start a very sunny day folowed by a cold clear night.


Back to cutting down the cypress hedge down the side of the drive.


Saturday 21st

-3 to 2 to 0°C. 278Wh. Cold and dull with a north-easterly breeze.


We have almost finished cutting down the cypress hedge though even with the heavy work of cutting and clearing away it still felt very cold.


Sunday 22nd

-1 to 3 to 1°C. 627Wh 200W max. Cold foggy start with some fine snow showers later in the morning. Brighter for a time in the afternoon before more fine snow showers  in the evening.


Finally cut back the remaining hawthorne tree in the northern hedge. As always there was a lot more of it than there seemed to be when it was standing so it will take most of tomorrow afternoon to finally cut it up and clear it away.


Monday 23rd

-2 to 7 to -2°C. 1.26kWh 600W max. Cold misty start, clearing by mid-morning with some sunny periods in the afternoon.


Finished cutting up the remains of the northern hedge. Just in time. My hernia operation tomorrow means I won't be able to do any heavy gardening for a few weeks though the hernia itself has made digging difficult for some time anyway.


Tuesday 24th

-5 to 7 to 4°C. 1.98kWh 1.2kW max. Very cold start but bright and clear by late morning, clouding over later.


The operation went fine though rather later than planned at 5pm rather than 3pm. It was under local anaesthetic which was quite an interesting experience and meant recovery time was quite short. I was back in my room, had some delicious sweet-corn soup and some salad while I was fit to walk and returned home around 8:30pm.

It is very sore so I won't be doing much for a few days. After that I hope to be back to normal.


Wednesday 25th

1 to 7 to 2°C. 4.16kWh 1.4kW max. Clear and sunny all day but with a cold easterly wind.


I am still very sore from the operation, not the incision but the bruising from all the pushing and pulling to fix the mesh under the hernia site. Coughing and sneezing is particularly painful and walking is not easy, especially up and down stairs,.


Thursday 26th

-1 to 1 to -1°C. 166Wh. Cold, grey and windy.


Friday 27th

-1 to 3 to 4°C. 653Wh. Another very cold and windy day. Not a day to be outside. Even the hens hardly ventured out.


Saturday 28th

4 to 6 to 4°C. 2.56kWh. Sunny intervals and showers in the morning and afternoon, more persistent rain in the evening.


Helped Pat move the pots of wallflower and sweet william off the bed behind the conservatory as the daffodils and tulips are coming through and the woven polythene sheet needed removing. I am not allowed to lift anything for the next few weeks so Pat needed to lift and carry the larger 5L pots containing the hyacinths and clean and fold up the sheet. Not that I would even try to lift things at the moment; it hurts to do so.


The Douce Provence peas have germinated between sheets of wet paper towels so I placed these in 12 cell trays to grow some more in the propagator. The Super Aquadulce broad beans were big enough to move from the propagator onto racks in the polytunnel to continue growing till it is time to plant them out.


Sunday 29th

0 to 5 to 5°C. 1.12kWh 600W max. The rain cleared in the night and there was a risk of icy patches from a light frost by the morning. A few sunny periods in the morning before coming cloudy and raining quite hard by afternoon into the evening.


Monday 30th

5 to 7 to 5°C. 539Wh. Another grey damp day.


Tuesday 31st

7 to 10 to 7°C. 89Wh. Mild,dull and wet with drizzle during the day and heavy rain in the evening.


February 2017