Magazine Photoshoot: Part Two

As promised, the second part of the photoshoot of my copies of Longshot Island magazine.
It was time to get the copies off of the bookshelf, and give them some much-needed fresh air and exercise. The local children’s playground seemed to me to be the ideal spot.
(All photos can be enlarged for detail)

Unfortunately, these two copies were just not heavy enough for the see-saw!

All very well getting in the swings, but who’s going to push you?

The slide proved to be very popular.

Although the copies at the front had trouble with the log chain, those at the back did well on the rope ladder.

After all that exercise, time to chill out on the netting swing.

Just to let you all know, the recent non-fiction article published on the Longshot Island website has made it into print! It has been chosen for inclusion in the the next issue, out soon!

Be careful what you wish for…

It seems as if the weather gods have been reading my blog, and have decided to listen to my complaints, after all this time.

After what seemed like years of daily rain, followed by cold winds and miserable, grey days, we suddenly got a summer. And we got it with a vengeance. The last week has seen temperatures steadily climbing here, with a peak yesterday of 33 degrees C. (91.4 F) It was still hot when I woke up this morning, and the heat is building once more.

This was dry heat, unusual in this country, with high levels of U/V light, and the sun literally beating down on the ground. I could only walk with Ollie for just over an hour, before it became too much for both of us. Even with two large fans operating inside the house, there was no escaping the stifling conditions. Little point sitting outside in the garden either, as once the sun had gone in, clouds of biting insects arrived to enjoy the evening air.

But I am being positive, in 2017. It wasn’t raining, and anything is better than that.

I did have time to think though. Unable to relax after dinner in the uncomfortable heat, and sleep hard to come by, with overnight temperatures in excess of 21 C (70 F). In this country, we are geared up for bad weather. Our houses have deep insulation, to retain the heat, and smallish windows, for the same reason. Our own house has wool carpeting in most rooms, and extra loft insulation to get us through the colder months.

If we are going to get summers like this again, (we had one once, in 1976) then we are going to have to re-think the design of our housing, and look to warmer countries in other parts of the world for inspiration. Shutters, thicker walls, cool stone flooring, even air conditioning in some rooms. Whatever you think of the Climate Change debate, we have seen evidence of extremes lately, and as far as these temperatures go, it is at least four years since we have had anything close to this heat.

At my age, it is something I am unlikely to see developed. But if future generations are going to be able to enjoy ever-hotter summers, then they need to sort out how we actually live, and the conditions we live in.
Let me know what you think.

Staying positive, in the hot summer of 2017. (Can’t last, of course…)

A winter walk in June

When weather forecasters predict bad weather, they usually get it right. Today was no exception.
The TV weather girl said that we could expect ‘heavy and squally showers, with strong winds’ in this area. By midday, it was pouring down, and the temperature some 7 degrees C lower than yesterday too.

I couldn’t put off taking Ollie out for too long, and by 1:30 it was raining even harder. I had to get out my best waterproof coat and trousers, and also put on the heavy boots once again. As I left the house with Ollie, my hood was blown off my head, and had to be secured by pulling the toggles uncomfortably tight. I had decided to leave the umbrella at home, rather than struggle with it in a wind that was bending trees, and breaking off small branches.

Ollie was oblivious of course. Watching him run around Beetley Meadows, you might well have thought it was a balmy summer afternoon. He ignored the freezing rain, which sometimes contained sleet, and trotted around happily, despite his fur being soaked through.

Even with my best waterproofs, the rain was soon getting in, and my T-shirt was wet and uncomfortable. I was cursing myself for forgetting to wear my waterproof gloves, as my hands were freezing cold too.
I had to struggle around with my hands in the damp pockets of my coat, anything to get them out of the chill wind. After just under two hours of this miserable walk, I called it a day, and headed for home. After getting out of the damp clothes, pleased to be back inside, I checked the calendar.

Sure enough, it was the 6th of June, not the end of November. Not far off of midsummer’s day, I considered, with an ironic smile. But I stayed positive of course. The farmers need this rain.


A great gift

You may recall that I have written about Gosia’s soaps before on this blog, and also re-posted from Eddy Winko’s great blog about how his wife produces and sells the soaps from their home in Poland. They are branching out, with the addition of a range of covered soaps, the decorative cloth being able to be used as a washcloth, the soap concealed inside.

You can imagine my delight when I recently received this perfect gift. Ollie, embroidered on the cover of a bar of soap. I was amazed to hear that the lady responsible had not even seen a photo of my dog, before working her magic on this piece.

You can be sure that this bar of soap will never be used, and will always be treasured.

More about the excellent soaps can be found here.

Our little heatwave

May is not usually the time for such temperatures in Beetley. The last three days have seen them climb from 24 C on Wednesday, to 27 C yesterday, and a predicted 30 C today. After a spell of unusually cold weather, with the heating on in the house only ten days ago, the contrast is quite remarkable.

So naturally, we are complaining!

Too hot to sleep. Fans on in the house and bedroom. The ‘wrong’ weight of duvet on the bed. Every small chore seems to be doubly difficult in the unfamiliar heat, and Ollie has become subdued and sluggish, as the warm weather makes it hard for him to cool down. Spending much of yesterday in the garden, followed by other household chores inside, left me much more drained and tired than usual.

Tonight, we have welcome visitors from London, one of my oldest friends. Naturally we want the place to be spick and span, so I got up early to crack on with more cleaning and tidying. But by 8:30, it was already uncomfortably hot, with no trace of a breeze through the open windows. I retreated to the computer, to check my emails, and to write this.

After years of constant complaining about bad weather, it really upsets me to be doing something similar about welcome warmth and sunshine. Trouble is, we seem to get everything or nothing, with little in-between. It feels like a life of extremes, either chilly and wet, or far too hot. The garden dried up in less than a day, and now everything needs to be watered. The hose has been retrieved from the shed, and I will wait for the sun to begin to set, before giving the shrubs a much needed drink.

I haven’t bothered to check the long-range forecast, to see if this small heatwave will continue into next week. But I have a feeling that it will not.

This is England, after all.

Almost dead?

I have written before on here about Ollie’s love of gardening.
With a very hot day here today, it seemed like a good time to get on with cutting the grass, and cleaning the windows.

As always, Ollie was keen to be by my side during the lawn-mowing. I kept making him go to the area where I wasn’t cutting, but as you know, he is obsessed with being as close to me as is possible.

Almost finished, I checked to see where he was. He was sitting about three feet away, tail wagging. As I started mowing again, I dragged the mower back across the grass, only to discover that Ollie had rapidly changed position, and was right behind my knees. As I fell backward, I was conscious of the heavy rotary blade, close to my toes and feet.

Luckily, it has a ‘fail-safe’ feature. As I let go of the control handles, the motor ceased to operate. Unfortunately, the slack handle pinched a section of my palm, near the thumb, removing some skin as I fell over. The still-whirring blade stopped a few inches short of my feet and legs, and I had one of those ‘moments’, as I watched it.

It is serious enough to contemplate that the heavy blade might well have killed me. Ollie was sent away, in no uncertain terms. So, if you ever wonder why I have suddenly stopped posting, and offer no reasons or excuses, I suggest you contact Ollie, and see what he has been up to.

A Magazine Photoshoot

When I received the copies of the latest Longshot Island magazine containing my published story, Daniel suggested I might like to take some photos of the magazines in unusual places. As the sun came out today, I decided to do just that. This is the first of two parts.

All photos can be enlarged for detail by clicking on them.

Ollie found a relaxing riverside bench on which to enjoy reading his copy of Longshot Island. It was a warm day though, and he went into the river for a drink. When he came out, he had forgotten where he had left that precious periodical, so rushed off so fast in search of it, he blurred the photo!

Over on Hoe Rough, we saw this sign warning of Private Property behind the fence. However, this copy of Longshot Island was so determined to show how good its contents are, it tried to jump the wire.

Further on, I was delighted to find a rare example of a Longshot Island magazine tree. The previous issue had already fallen to the ground, as it was over-ripe. However, the new editions are just right for picking now.

Nearby, I was excited to see a rabbit reading my own story in the very latest edition of Longshot Island. I approached him to see what he thought, but he was scared of Ollie, so ran off down his rabbit-hole.

Part two follows soon!