October 2014                                                                                                                                      Back to September


Wednesday 1st

10 to 19 to 10°C. 5.71kWh 1.7kW max.  Bright misty sunny start clouding over by thev afternoon and a short period of heavy rain |(3mm) around 5pm.


Everything is finally potted on tidied up and I was about to get back to building the doors for the new shed when the heavens opened.


Pat took our 11 year old car for its MOT test today. There were a few things wrong with it, mainly due to age. We might think about buying a replacement nearly new one. We don't use it much, only around 2000 miles a year, but out here with no public transport you can't really do without a car.


Thursday 2nd

3 to 17 to 11°C. 5.42kWh 1.2kW max. Chilly night, cold enough to cause the pansies to temporarily drop their heads, followed by a mainly cloudy day and a cold northerly wind. Looks like autumn has arrived. Time to stop wearing my shorts on my bike?


Built the doors for the shed but they don't run very freely so looks like they need some more work.


Friday 3rd

10 to 20 to 15°C. 4.45kWh 700W max. Overcast with a few brighter intervals. Still very warm for the time of year but the forecast is for heavy rain followed by much cooler weather.


Fixed the doors and made the floor bearers for the hut. I need to order the floor panels to go on top of these and build some brick piers to support them.


Saturday 4th

15 to 10 to 17 to 4°C. 4.3kWh 1.7kW max. A very mild night until it started raining, hard and temperature also dropped 5°C. Enough rain to fill all our storage tanks by the time it stopped around 11am. Sunny with only a few clouds after that and a very clear moonit night which means there could be frost by morning. Autumn is definitely here and we shall soon have to start sweeping up the leaves from the poplar, cherry and ash trees.


Time to start moving the summer flowers from the beds around the house and replacing them with winter flowering pansies, dianthus and primroses backed by fuschias and late autumn flowering chrysanthemums.


Sunday 5th

2 to 14 to 10°C. 5.47kWh 1.4kW max. Clear still moonlit night and I was surprised there wasn't a frost. Sunny intervals during the day with a very cold NW wind. More rain is forecast for tomorrow morning.


Monday 6th

9 to 15 to 4°C. 3.43kWh 1.3kW max. Started raining around 4am and continued quite heavily till mid morning followed by sunny intervals and showers, one while I was on my bike ride, until late afternoon when it cleared to another full moonlit night.


Pat is going to Stoke City Hospital tomorrow to have a stent inserted into one of her coronary arteries. She leaves around 7am and should be back late in the afternoon, all being well; as I am sure it will be. It is wonderful what modern medicine can accomplish. First my cataracts were fixed instead of my going nearly blind as would have been the case not that many years ago. Then Pat, who only noticed her angina a few weeks ago, will probably be nearly back to normal after what is now just a minor procedure. In the past she would have had to 'take it easy' for the rest of what could have been a shortened life. And this all free of charge thanks to our wonderful National Health Service.


Tuesday 7th

3 to 15 to 6°C. 2.33kWh 600W max. Clear night but started raining, though only light most of the time, around 4am and continued for most of the day.


Pat went off to Stoke at 7am and they did the angioplasty later in the morning. Unfortunately they had a problem removing catheter afterwards and decided to keep her in overnight as a precaution. However, she noticed an immediate improvement as soon as it was finished which is good news.


Wednesday 8th

4 to 13 to 9°C. 2.71kW 1.9kW max.  Clear night but clouded over by the morning, then sunny intervals and heavy showers throughout the day before clearing again in the evening. A cold blustery wind made it feel even colder.


Pat finally go home around 4pm after deciding to get a taxi rather than wait for hospital transport. So rather an expensive end to her adventure but at least she is home now and well, apart from a very bruised right arm and feeling very tired after no getting much sleep. I considered going to fetch her but she advised against it. She was right. Despite taking off all her clothes before coming in the house and going straight upstairs for a shower I had quite a bad asthma attack which needed upwards of 20 puffs of salbutamol during the evening. If I had gone to fetch her I would have ended up being the one needing to be driven home; she isn't supposed to drive or do anything strenuous for the next seven days.


Thursday 9th

7 to 15 to 9°C. 3.63kWh 1.7kW max. Again clear overnight but blustery showers during the day.


Woke up twice in the night with asthma and finally starting feeling a little better by lunchtime. Pat feels OK but is trying to take it easy according to instructions but, like me, she doesn't like sitting around. Apparently even when she was in the hospital she spent a lot of her time pacing up and down the ward rather than sitting on the bed.


Cleared the rest of the squashes from the polytunnel while it was stil raining outside.


Friday 10th

6 to 14 to 6°C. 4.93kWh 1.7kW max. Another day of sunshine and showers but with slightly more sun and slightly less rain.


In the past I have always left the chrysanthemums outside until late October before bringing them into the polytunnel to protect them from the wind, cold and rain in November and December. By then they are quite tall and the pots are difficult to carry upright and often we have to do it in a hurry because heavy rain and gales are forecast. So this year I decided to bring them inside as soon as there was room and now that the squashes have been removed I was able to do this today. They will be a bit cramped until the tomatoes have finished and been removed but it will be much easier to look after them under cover.


Saturday 11th

3 to 15 to 5°C. 5.79kWh 1.9kWh max. Clear night and sunny morning but clouded over around noon with several heavy showers in the afternoon.


Raked 4 barrowloads of leaves off the lawn from the poplar and another 3 barrowloads from the paths and drive from the ash tree. That is only a start; most of the ash leaves are yet to fall and oak is only just starting to colour. A bountiful harvest for the compost heaps.

In the aftenoon, before it rained, made a start moving the seeded primroses from the middle of the beds down the side of the drive to the front of the beds where there are a lot of empty spaces where the older ones have died off. They are already starting to flower and should continue to do so all winter unless it becomes very cold.

Later, when it was raining, went back into the polytunnel to carry on training the chrysanthemums and trying to work out which is which as they start to flower. As usual all the labels have been jumbled up by the blackbirds during the summer. I think I might trying to work out a way of tying the labels to the plants to stop this happening next year. I need to know what they are so I can take an even number of  cuttings from each variety next spring.


Sunday 12th

1 to 14 to 8°C. 4.40kWh 1.1kW max. Cold misty start, only the mist prevented a frost overnight. The mist only cleared late in the morning and then it was mainly overcast for the rest of the day. Heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow.


Continued to tidy up the flower beds down the drive and the chrysanthemums in the polytunnel.

Pat is feeling quite her old self again, goinf for the long (4mile) walk on Friday and the shorter (2.5mile) walk today without any tiredeness or chest pains. Obviously the angioplasty has worked.


Monday 13th

8 to 11 to 9°C. 784Wh 150W max. A miserable day with a blustery wind and almost continuous light rain amounting to 9mm.


No walk for Pat or cycle ride for me today but I did do some more work with the chrysanthemums. Even in the polytunnel I needed my coat. So different to September.


Tuesday 14th

9 to 11 to 10°C. 1.04kWh 300W max. Another damp overcast day though with less rain (2.1mm).


Over the last fortnight we have caught 5 rabbits in our traps. Today we caught something very different, a polecat. I didn't even know they existed round here. It wasn't very pleased to be caught, hissing and growling until we released it. It was probably after the rabbits and the traps probably smell quite strongly of them by now. Hopefully it won't decide the hens are easier prey.


We have reported it to the National Polecat Survey


Wednesday 15th

10 to 13 to 11°C. 1.47kWh 1.4kW max.  Another dull damp day but there was a sunny spell just before 12am which made me think maybe it was improving for my bike ride but it was spitting with rain again by the time I got back. Later in the afternoon it rained quite hard with around 12mm over 4 hours.


Decided to move some rainwater to soak the polytunnel before it rained again to fill the storage. Amazingly we are still picking tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines and peppers and there may even be more to ripen if only we get some sun.


Thursday 16th

10 to 15 to 13°C. 4.36kWh 1.8kW max. Sunny morning but clouded over in the afternoon, raining by 3pm and late into the evening; another 12mm. Feeling very warm for the time of year in the south westerly breeze.


Continued to train the chrysanthemums. I am really pleased I brought them into the polytunnel. The few I left outside have soaked flowers and some of the stems have broken under the weight.


Friday 17th

13 to 17 to 15°C. 4.96kWh 1.5kW max. Some rain overnight but cleared by the morning to a bright breezy day with thin cloud. Feeling very warm for the time of year. Started raining quite heavily after dark.


Took the opportunity of the dry spell to turn the compost heaps and sweep up some more leaves. Then back to replacing the pots of summer flowers with winter ones.


Saturday 18th

15 to 19 to 14°C. 2.04kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly overcast with a very warm southerly wind courtesy of a very large depression in the Atlantic. Some time next week after it has passed over we will get a northerly wind instead ;(.


Sunday 19th

13 to 17 to 12°C. 4.85kWh 1.4kW max. Variable cloud with a strong southerly wind and a few spots of rain, particularly later in the day. In the evening the wind dropped and the sky cleared but still warm for October.


Spent most of the day splitting logs; the wind kept me cool while I was doing this.


Monday 20th

8 to 14 to 11°C. 2.46kWh 1.4kW max. A mainly cloudy day with a brighter interval around lunchtime. Very windy moving round to the west and some light rain in the evening. Gales are forecast for tomorrow.


More log splitting. I have now finished sorting out the chrysanthemums and they are really getting going in the polytunnel. I will pick some for the house tomorrow.


Tuesday 21st

10 to 15 to 7°C. 4.68kWh 1.4kW max. Sunny intervals and blustery heavy showers. Very windy. Calmed down in the evening to a clear moonless starry night.


Not a day for being outside though I did go for my bike ride without getting wet but it was hard going against the wind and like going downhill when it was behind. Thought about working in the polytunnel but the flapping polythene was deafening.


Wednesday 22nd

7 to 12 to 11°C. 2.31kWh 1.1kW max. Dull with a couple of short brighter intervals in the morning and some light fine drizzle from time to time in the afternoon. Very little wind.


Decided to move the chrysanthemums into groups all of the same type and colour. With nearly all of them the labels were wrong now that you can see which they are. Perhaps if I keep them together when the birds pull the labels out next spring I will have a better chance of putting them back in the correct pot?









Thursday 23rd

11 to 14 to 13°C. 1.18kWh 500W max. A very dull day with little wind and some very light drizzle, particularly after dark.


Started feeling unwell with asthma and aching yesterday evening and this continued all day today. Eventually needed to get out the nebuliser to try and improve my lung function.  Even so I managed to help Pat sweep up some more leaves in the afternoon.


Friday 24th

12 to 15 to 6°C. 1.82kWh 600W max. Another dull slightly damp day, becoming very much chillier after dark.


Saturday 25th

5 to 12 to 10°C. 2.12kW 900W max. Mostly cloudy with a few sunnier periods but also some light rain. Windy.


Continued to split firewood.


Sunday 26th

11 to 14 to 14°C. 1.13kWh 300W max. Overcast. It would have felt quite mild if it wasn't for the strong blustery wind.


Most of the primulas growing along the sides of the paths round the rose garden died during the summer, partly caused by moles burrowing beneath them. Fortunately we still had some of last years pots of primulas so I spent most of the afternoon planting them as replacements. Despite squirrels continously digging in the same places there were still some bulbs and corms left, mainly snowdrops and aconites, but they haven't eaten all the crocus corms. Actually we are not sure exactly what they are doing with the crocus, last spring there were flowers in places where I am sure I never planted any.


Monday 27th

14 to 16 to 13°C. 1.28kWh 600W max. Very similar to yesterday but the wind felt warmer as it moved more to the south east.


Usually by this time of year I have started wearing trousers rather than shorts on my bike ride but so far I am still in shorts but I have started wearing a fleece jacket. Today it was so warm I needed to unzip it.


Pat did some shredding while I continued to tidy up the flower beds. A lot of the summer bedding is still flowering away; again unusual for the end of October. If only it could be sunny as well as mild.


Tuesday 28th

11 to 18 to 9°C. 3.22kWh 1.6kW max. Started off really still, bright and sunny, already by 9am we had produced more electricity than all day on Monday, but it started to cloud over by late morning with a steadily increasing wind. By 3pm it was raining and this continued late into the evening.


We managed to sweep up the latest piles of leaves before the rain. I have ordered some building materials to finish the new shed with a floor and build a more permanent frame for the tomatoes and squashes in the polytunnel. When this comes I shall have something to do inside if it rains.


Wednesday 29th

3 to 8 to 10°C. 788Wh 250W max. Clear overnight but came misty soon after dawn and stayed dull and damp all day.

Definitely not a day for cycling in my shorts.


Caught another polecat in a rabbit trap. This one was a little less distressed so managed to take a photograph



Thursday 30th

10 to 17 to 14°C. 1.15kWh 400W max. Another dull, slightly damp day but with the wind from the south, feeling warm and humid, especially in the afternoon.


Continued to split and cut firewood from the sycamore we felled last year at the back of the garden. This is now nearly finished. The cement, lime, sand and wood ordered came today so my next job will be to build the brick supports for the floor of the new shed. The wood is mainly to build a permanent frame inside the polytunnel to support the tomatoes and squashes but this will have to wait until the chrysanthemums are finished.


Friday 31st

15 to 19 to 15°C. 2.25kWh 600kW max. Very warm for the time of year but overcast and humid, finally raining late in the evening.


Sawed up some more wood while it was still dry. This will probably be the last day before colder wetter weather moves in.