Friday, August 07, 2009

7 Quick Takes


1. Back in the spring the Meteorological Office (the official British weather forecasters) predicted a "BBQ summer". Great! We all sat back and anticipated nice warm, sunny weather for a change. After a month of heavy showers the Met Office told us what we thought they said wasn't what they actually meant. All they were predicting was better weather than last year - which given last year was the worst summer I can remember doesn't mean much. And in any case, we aren't meant to take their forecast too seriously as they haven't mastered long range forecasting yet.

2. I can live with out-of-sync long range forecasts. It is the cockeyed day to day forecasts that bug me more. I want to start the day knowing with reasonable certainty whether it is worth hanging washing outside or not. Surely, with modern technology and computer modelling that shouldn't be too much to ask. Wrong. Take yesterday. Warm and sunny, said the forecasts, before heavy rain today (Friday). Angel was thinking sunbathing; Tevye was thinking mowing the grass; out went the laundry. By early afternoon the heavens opened and it poured with rain for the rest of the day. Personally, I blame St. Swithin.

3. Yesterday the last Tommy was buried. The last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches during World War I died last month aged 111. He was born in the same year as my grandfather, who joined up under age and served in the trenches until he was gassed and invalided out. A generation whose courage and loss is almost beyond our comprehension, gone but not forgotten. Thousands queued for tickets to Harry Patch's funeral at Wells Cathedral and lined the streets to pay their respects. The end of an era.

4. A large nearby shopping centre (mall) has set up an impressive indoor beach for the summer, complete with deckchairs and ice cream kiosk. There is also a pirate ship theatre, palm trees to climb, a lighthouse helter skelter and a carousel. There is a charge for the other attractions, but the beach itself is free. I took Cherub and her bucket and spade to play there while Star and a friend were ice skating last week. Very fun!

5. I am truly the world's worst gardener. My brother planted a few sunflowers he had grown from seed in front of our house. Unfortunately he planted them during the brief hot spell we had in June and - entirely predictably - I forgot to water them. Three have survived. Just. The tallest has reached the great height of eighteen inches. Bizarrely, one six inch tall sunflower is flowering. How is that possible?

6. Blogging has been light this week because I have been knitting and obsessing on knitting websites. Who knew there was stuff like this DROPS Design website out there. Gorgeous Scandinavian design, nearly 3000 free patterns, and very reasonably priced yarn. Must get to the end of this post quickly. Too much to knit, too little time ...

7. Cherub's attempts to tell the time continue. My new favourite is "one past clock!"

You can find more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary


Debbie said...

Have you ever noticed that a meteorologist is the only profession that I know of where you can be consistently wrong in your job and still get paid and even get a raise!

Jennifer said...

Not two days ago I was driving and wondering if there were any WWI soldiers still living (trying to do the math in my head). How strange that you would mention this today.
I love all the DROPS designs too. I've not looked at any of the patterns closely yet. You'll have to tell me if they are clear and easy. I'm trying to translate a British pattern now, which is only as hard as translating centimeters, but I'm still nervous! :)
I love everything you queue on Ravelry!

Marie said...

When I taught history (U.S.) we were supposed to cover all of world history in one year of high school. World War I would loom just about as we hit crunch time, we could see the end of the year and that we were no where near getting all the topics in. As more and more gets added to the list of "need to know", I'm afraid WWI will get dropped entirely and no one will know a thing about it. I visited Gallipoli a few years ago -- this stuff should not be forgotten.

Christian H said...

@Debbie (and of course The Bookworm herself):

Not to be negative, but apparently in Soviet Russia meteorologists could be executed if they predicted the weather incorrectly. Given the inherent unpredictability of weather, the only way the Russian meteorologists could find of staying alive was to report what yesterday's weather was. So in the USSR, the weather station told you if it had been raining, not if it would be raining.

Sara said...

Being from Southern California, I found the English weather rather amazing...the quick way it changes within one the span of a day, and often more than once or twice! We were there earlier this summer; our first visit to your beautiful country.

But actually, I am here to say how much I enjoyed your literary tour...I was looking for Elizabeth Goudge, who is my all-time favorite author, and came across your blog about two years ago. Just recently I found it again, and I've added you to my blogroll so I don't lose it again! Because someday my dream is to return to England and visit some EG sites if I can.

Dorothy said...

The two Tommies dying a week or so apart was quite affecting, wasn't it? I have a great uncle who died in the trenches, but no idea which.

The sunflower thing happened to me too! Short, no more than a foot, big flower in June, then died. Huh?