OCTOBER 2017                                                                                               Back to September

Sunday 1st

 13 to 17 to 15°C. 1.45kWh 400W max. October starts as September finished: dark clouds, warm, wet and windy.

Once the wind drops there are lot of leaves to sweep up.


The cayenne pepper and Nosferatu chillies have finally started to colour. I was beginning to wonder if they ever would.


Placed Valenciana broad bean seeds between wet kitchen towels in seed trays in the conservatory. Once they have germinated I will plant them in pots to grow on the polytunnel and plant outside in February or March depending when we have a mild spell.

Monday 2nd

 13 to 14 to 10°C. 3.13kWh 600W max. A similar day to yesterday but the wind has moved from south to north west so feeling much cooler.


Pat picked the rest of the early broccoli and some more runner beans for dinner; they are getting rather stringy and won't be worth picking much longer. Instead the early leeks are getting nice and fat; this is perfect weather for them. I inspected the spring cabbage and brussel sprouts which have grown very strong with all the rain.

Tuesday 3rd

 10 to 13 to 9°C. 3.04kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few short sunny intervals and a blustery north westerly wind.


Kept warm by sawing some more firewood for the log stove this winter.

Wednesday 4th

 7 to 13 to 11°C. 1.41kWh 400W max. A cool cloudy day with the north westerly wind increasing as we approached the evening. Gales are forecast for tomorrow.


Sawed some more firewood.

Thursday 5th

 9 to 14 to 10°C. 7.43kWh 1.7kW max. A sunny day but the strong gusty wind made it feel quite cold.


Lots of leaves to sweep up today, especially from the ash trees.

Pat made the first leek and potato soup of the winter. We definitely needed it to keep warm.

Friday 6th

 7 to 13 to 10°C. 3.45kWh 1.5kW max. Mainly cloudy apart from a sunny spell just before midday. The breeze has dropped so actually felt warmer.


Sawed some more firewood. I have nearlt finished hand sawing the thinner logs and branches. Tomorrow I will need to get out the chainsaw and the log splitter.

Also started potting on the primula and polyanthus from 1L to 1.5L pots.

Saturday 7th

 11 to 14 to 11°C. 1.82kWh 400W max. Grey and cloudy with some drizzly rain showers.

Sunday 8th

 10 to 14 to 11°C. 3.12kWh 1.4kW max. Another very dull day apart from a short period of sunshine in the morning.

Pat went out for a walk with Kirstin and Sarah today so I took the opportunity to switch off the electricity to fit a new heater in the bathroom. Then back to moving some more grass and weeds off the verge and potting on more primulas.

She had a nice day out but injured her wrist when she slipped and fell towards the end of the walk. Tomorrow is baking day so I might need to help her, particularly in kneeding the bread.

Monday 9th

 12 to 15 to 12°C. 3.14kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunny periods in the morning but grey in the afternoon.

Pat's wrist was more swollen in the morning so I took her to the minor injuries unit at the community hospital at Whitchurch. They x-rayed it and found that the bone at the base of her hand opposite the thumb (the pisiform) was chipped. They strapped it up and made her an appointment at the fracture clinic in Shrewsbury tormorrow though I doubt they will do anything other than suggest it should be immobilised till it heals.

This took over 2 hours to get sorted though it would probably have been 4 if we had gone to Shrewsbury or Telford A&E. I waited in the car to avoid the hospital environment but unfortunately the car park was near the laundry and the fumes from this set off my asthma. I probably won't be well enough to drive her tomorrow so we are hoping she can go on the bus instead if I can just take her into Wem in the morning.


The broad beans I placed between wet kitchen towels have now germinated so moved these into individual 7cm pots to grow on.

Tuesday 10th

 12 to 14 to 12°C. 3.91kWh 1.1kW max. A brighter day but still with very little sunshine.

Pat went to the fracture clinic and, as we assumed, all they said was to keep her wrist strapped up and rest it and not put any load on it till the swelling went down.


I have finished moving the primulas into larger pots. More ash leaves to sweep up. It amazes me how quickly ash trees grow. They don't come into leaf until late May or even June and stop dropping their leaves again by the end of September and those leaves are still green, not brown and dessicated like oak and beech leaves..


Wednesday 11th

 13 to 15 to 11°C. 1.04kWh 250W max. A miserable dark drizzly and windy day apart from a short period latee in the afternoon.


Not a day for working outside so went back to finishing painting the bathroom.

Thursday 12th

6 to 15 to 12°C. 4.28kWh 1kW max. A much brighter day with less wind and only a few spots of drizzle.


Picked the last of the grapes.

Friday 13th

 14 to 21 to 17°C. 2.19kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy but with a very warm southerly wind.


Pat's wrist is still very sore but she has bought a food mixer to mix dough for  bread and cakes as usual. I think she is pleased with the results. She also pulled up the first of the turnips for our dinner.

Saturday 14th

 17 to 20 to 15°C. 2.81kWh 1.2kW max. Mainly cloudy with a few glimpses of the sun and still with a very warm wind.


Started drilling holes along the base of the walls of the older part of the house and injecting them with a silicone cream to try and cure the rising damp which seems to have got worse since we had the walls clad with insulation.

Sunday 15th

 14 to 18 to 17°C. 2.78kWh 1.1kW max. Another mainly cloudy day with a warm southerly breeze. This warm air is caused by ex-hurricane Ophelia which will pass over Ireland tomorrow so it might be quite windy for a time.


Completed moving the grass and weeds from the the verge south of the drive. I have emptied some of the pots of daffodils so I can plant the bulbs in the verges. Pat took down the runner beans and then plucked the first kale shoots for our dinner.

Monday 16th

 12 to 20 to 12°C. 2.18kWh 1.1kW max. Cloudy windy morning. The clouds were a bluish pink colour and when they thinned a little the sun appeared red. Apparently this was because of dust from the Sahara and smoke from forest fires in Portugal being sucked up into the upper atmosphere by the approaching storm. It came brighter by lunchtime but by then the wind was very strong, stripping the last of the leaves off the ash tree and also lots of dead twigs and small branches. It is still blowing quite strongly at 11pm as I write this. Hopefully there won't be any serious damage, just the pots of chrysanthemums which were already blown over and I left these since standing them up to be blown over again would just damage the plants more. i will tidy them up tomorrow.


The wind was strong but not too gusty so, though being in the polytunnel was very noisy, it wasn't doing much harm. This is where I continued to repot the bulbs, mainly tulips and hyacinths for next Spring's display. Moving then into fresh potting soil keeps them healthy so I always make sure I don't use the old soil for this new mix,saving it for growing potatoes next year.

Tuesday 17th

11 to 14 to 10°C. 5.5kWh 1.6kW max.The wind started to die down overnight but it was still quite breezy till quite late in the day and blowing from the southwest rather than southeast. Quite sunny in the morning with variable cloud in the afternoon and a very pink sky at sunset so there must still be some of the Saharan dust and Portuguese wood smoke in the air.

The advantage to the high winds it that they have stripped the remaining leaves off the ash and poplar trees, even piling them up against the hedges and walls making them easier to gather up. So ,earlier than usual, I was able to clean out the gutters without fear of them being filled again with more leaves. To really tidy up meant moving the pots of dahlias, begonias and fuschias from round the house but they have nearly finished flowering anyway. The chrysanthemums will soon replace them.

Wednesday 18th

3 to 11 to 10°C. 993Wh 150W max. Clear cold night followed by a misty start and a grey damp day.


Dug a slit trench along the verge north of the drive and placed a large number of daffodil bulbs taken from parts of the garden where they have muliplied over the years. Not sure how many but they filled a 10L pot nearly 4 times. Tomorrow I will dig out the ditch behind the verge to cover them more deeply.

Thursday 19th

 9 to 13 to 12°C. 245Wh. Heavy rain most of the day.


Cleared out the front bedroom (Kirstin's old room) so it can be redecorated. Doing this makes you realise how much useless stuff you accumulate over time which we can get rid of rather than putting it all back. A lot of it is school and university text and work books Kirstin left behind more than 20 years ago. There also two laptops which no longer work, two nearly empty computer cases, files of documents related to Pat's mother who died several years ago, and various objects taken from her house before it was sold. Also lots of camping equipment under the bed which hasn't been used for many years and certainly won't be wanted in the future. In cupboards high up the wall there are scores of ancient computer games which will certainly not work with any current computer.

Friday 20th

 11 to 13 to 11°C. 1.56kWh 700W max. A slightly brighter day, especially late in the morning, with less wind and only a few spots of rain.


Dug out the ditch behind the verge I planted with daffodils on Wednesday. There was more than an inch of rain yesterday and I was expecting it to be flooded but the soil was actually quite dry below the surface. It needs flattening out and then I will lay wildflowers mats on top.

I was going to move more chrysanthemums in front of the house but another storm, Brian, is forecast for tonight and tomorrow so I will do this once it has passed.

Saturday 21st

11 to 13 to 11°C. 2.13kWh 800W max. Wet and windy with a few short sunnier intervals. Looks like we mikght have to start lighting the fire soon.


Not a day for working outside so started work on the front bedroom, repairing the walls and painting the ceiling.

Sunday 22nd

 9 to 12 to 8°C. 4.12kWh 1.5kW max. A brighter day with no real rain but still with a strong cold wind.


Added another coat of paint to the front bedroom ceiling and then started to hang thick lining paper on the walls. This is the oldest part of the house and still has its original walls unlike the lounge downstairs which has been boarded. The corners of the walls are not plum, the walls themselves are not flat and the skirting boards are not level. So this is not going to be an easy task.

Monday 23rd

 11 to 16 to 12°C. 1.81kWh 400W max. A dull day with high humidity, feeling warmer as there was very little breeze.


Flattened out the soil I moved onto the verge on Friday and then started moving the wildflower mats onto it. This is going to take some time to do. 5 round trips from the nursery to the verge is nearly a mile and takes around 40 minutes. I can only carry 4 trays each time and I will need around 200. So far I have moved 64.

Tuesday 24th

 9 to 18 to 14°C. 721Wh 150W max. A dull drizzly day but feeeling quite warm for late October.


Continued decorating the front bedroom. Tomorrow is forecast to be a better day.

Wednesday 25th

 9 to 14 to 11°C. 4.68kWh 1.5kW max. Clear overnight with a sunny morning but clouded over in the afternoon with a cool westerly breeze.

Continued moving the wildflower mats onto the verge. I have now moved 136 mats and the area is more than half but not yet 2/3 full. Walked another 4.5miles just doing this.

Thursday 26th

 10 to 13 to 11°C. 1.1kWh 350W max. Back to dull and cloudy but only a few spots of drizzle.


Finally, with Pat's help I have finished laying the wild flower mats on the verge, 210 of them. Then I started to move the broad bean plants to 2L pots for overwintering in the polytunnel.

Friday 27th

 6 to 12 to 5°C. 4.96kWh 1.5kW max. Cold clear night followed by a sunny day with a cold NW breeze.


Finished potting on the broad beans and started moving the overwintering onions into 12cm pots also to stay in the polytunnel till the Spring.

Saturday 28th

 3 to 15 to 11°C. 3.47kWh 1.2kW max. Cold clear night followed by a sunny morning with a cold northerly breeze but it warmed up later in the afternoon when it clouded over.

Decided to hang some more lining paper in the front bedroom rather than brave the cold morning.

Sunday 29th

 12 to 11 to 3°C. 3.95kWh 1.5kW max. Bright sunny start with the temperature dropping duirng the day and a clear night. Looks like we might have a frost by the morning which will persuade the dahlias and begonias that winter is coming.


I have nearly finished the lining paper phase of the front bedroom decoration. Pat mowed the lawn, with the cutting length set high for the final time before winter?

Monday 30th

 -1 to 9 to 7°C. 4.3kWh 1.4kW max. Cold clear start with some frost on the grass in the fields which soon disappeared when the sun came up. Came cloudy in the afternoon so this evening was not as cold.


Continued moving the onions into larger pots.

Tuesday 31st

 8 to 13 to 10°C. 846Wh 150W max. A dull day with a southerly breeze and a few spots of drizzle. Came clear in the evening.