9 February 2014

FloodsWelcome to soggy, squelchy, sodden, mushy and moist Byfield. Yes, it’s still raining and more is on the way. It’s been the wettest January since records began and we had three times the “normal” amount of rain last month which is always a pretty wet month! An item on the news night before last told us that our reservoirs are full and even if we had no more rain at all, we have enough water in the system to last until September. So, hosepipe ban by about the middle of September, I reckon. It’s also been pretty mild which I suppose is the silver lining to these particular rain clouds – day before yesterday I heard and then saw our first housefly of the season! Even the weather forecasters are beginning to get a bit embarrassed – “Yes, more of the same I’m afraid, Fiona” as they give us the forecast they could have given every night for the past eight weeks. They’ve started describing it as a “conveyor belt” of storm systems which keep coming one after the other after the other. And last night I ran across an article warning cat owners to keep their pets indoors due to the danger of them being blown away by the gale force winds. Frankly, it’s all getting a bit tedious.


Apart from the weather, we’ve had a pretty good week. After the sadness of losing Penny’s mother, there have been lots and lots of “busy” things to do which provide a mindless distraction. Many, many thanks to all of you have written, telephoned, e-mailed or otherwise contacted her to provide your support – it has been much appreciated. Our Ben flew in on Wednesday to spend a bit of time with his mother (and me, I suppose) and it’s been a real pleasure having him around. All too brief, of course – he flies back to Los Angeles this afternoon. But, while he was here we’ve been able to fit in a splendid meal at The Inn at Farnborough with Nick as well as a playday with Nick and Annabelle.

Nick's FeastYesterday, we were invited to Nick and Lucy’s for a sumptuous lunchtime feast. Nick had done chicken breast and salmon with pesto which had ground almonds in the pesto and flaked almonds on top, hassleback potatoes (very tasty) and a carrot and leek tart with balsamic vinegar all of which was accompanied by a delicately seasoned curry sauce. It was sensational!

Apart from all that, it’s been pretty low-key here and so a couple of snippets I’ve run across over the past few days and weeks will have to suffice.

Firstly, the account of a cow shed in Germany which exploded due to an accumulation of methane gas emanating from the cows contained therein.

Scary BridgeSecondly, some photos from the Guardian of the world’s scariest bridges. I have to say, these don’t, to my mind, look all that scary but then again I have never been much bothered by heights. I dare say many people would find them pretty scary.

Thirdly, an article with appropriate contemporary images from the BBC web site on “Buttock cupping and other health cures” which piqued my interest.

And, to finish, an excellent cartoon from the Guardian by Harry Venning entitled “The Art of Looking.” I can sympathise because I know that Ms Playchute intentionally hides things and then pretends to find them with no difficulty even though I have spent hours and hours looking in every conceivable location.


It’s so annoying!

Love to you all,




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