Boy! I couldn’t have been more accurate when I said last week that Spring was great while it lasted. The last week of March was sensational – clear, sunny and warm! This week we’ve had the return of Arctic conditions with a stern north-easterly wind accompanied by the occasional downpour of rain, sleet, hail together with a smattering of snowflakes. Just have a look at yesterday’s forecast for the Easter weekend in the neighbouring metropolis of Banbury and you’ll get a feel for what I mean.
Having turned the central heating off and dusted off all my short trousers and t-shirts in anticipation of a fantastic early summer, I’ve had to dig out the Bronko Nagurski underwear again. What makes the change in the weather so striking is that we’ve just emerged from the third warmest March on record and the announcement of the earliest imposition of a hosepipe ban in our area after two years of well-below average rainfall. The following photo appeared on the BBC web site and shows the snowfall early last week in Sheffield. Click the image for some more photos from the BBC web site.
I experienced the change in the weather first-hand on Tuesday when I ventured out on another bike ride. The weather was certainly not great when I set out and I knew it was a bit of a gamble – it was overcast and blustery, i.e., exactly the sort of day I tend to avoid as, if there’s any significant wind, it always seems to be blowing straight into your face on the trek home. Still, the ride was pleasantly invigorating and, approaching the end of my circuit, I was about a mile from home when it arrived; I was struck in the face by a storm of Biblical proportions which included rain, hail, sleet, gale-force winds and a deluge of frogs. There was nothing for it, of course, but to put my head down and keep pedalling – by the time I arrived home I was soaked through and frozen to the bone.
We had a lovely visit with Nick, Lucy and Annabelle last Sunday and Annabelle decided she would indulge in her first taste of “solid” food. Some of you will have seen the following photos on my Facebook page but, for those of you who missed out here they are again. (Click an image for a larger version).
One thing was certain – Annabelle’s parents clearly never feed her. As soon as the bowl of creamed rice appeared her head leaned forward and her mouth gaped open like a young chick in the nest anxiously awaiting her parents’ regurgitated offerings. She couldn’t get enough of it and, in the end, resorted to grabbing the bowl to lick it clean. With an appetite like that she clearly must be my granddaughter.
Finally, I ran across a lovely video of Harry the Pygmy Hippo in the Guardian the other day. Pity about the derivation of the name but even the most callous and unfeeling amongst you will have to concede that he’s very cute.
[FMP width=”600″ height=”338″]http://www.stragnell.com/weaklynews/2012/april/harry_the_pygmy_hippo.mp4[/FMP]
Happy Easter and much love to you all,