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Christmas stoat, Christmas stoat

New! Uncle B bought me a lovely glass ornament.

I was going to tell you how I edited the pic in the library, so I could stay in my comfy chair and not come in here and use Photoshop, using a site called tinywow.com. It’s a site with a lot of free tools to edit images and videos and do a lot of other cool things with files. But it turns out it wouldn’t do the three things I needed – crop, resize and desaturate.

Never mind. The fire’s in the room with the Photoshop.

So who’s in the path of the bomb cyclone? Armybrat, don’t you go ignoring the iguana warning! That would be a helluva thing to have on your obituary.

December 22, 2022 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 13

It snew

Not sure where the picture was taken; I stole it from this netweather article. BTW, I finally broke down and subscribed to the pay-for version of Netweather. I use the site so much – seeing a satellite image is a gazillion times more helpful than a weather forecast – that I wanted the additional tools.

Like, I can make the satellite picture animate for a period as long as 24 hours. This was a real eye-opener. I’m used to weather that proceeds sedately West to East. The occasional hurricane coming North up the Atlantic coast. The occasional winter storm coming South from Canada. That’s about it.

Britain’s weather goes where it pleases. This particular storm consisted of a chain of small clouds moving counter-clockwise around the island, hugging the coast. Damn thing looked sentient. Wild!

We got a little of it, but again and again I watched the clouds dissipate just as they reach us. I see that pattern a lot. We’re in some kind of microclimate here.

Snow in England isn’t unheard-of, of course, but it’s pretty unusual before Christmas. As are these freezing temps. Sure is pretty, though.

December 12, 2022 — 8:21 pm
Comments: 4

I live here now

And still it rained. We’ve had a bucket under a leak in the kitchen for weeks now and one starting in the hall.

Saturday morning before coffee, we hear a noise. The ceiling above the stove had finally become so weak and saturated the whole panel came crashing down. Bad enough. That it fell directly onto the stove was worse. But worst of all, it brought down old insulation and the detritus of generations of rats and mice, must’ve been a layer of unimaginable filth four inches deep.

I wore a respirator to tackle it. I ain’t breathing that shit.

The rains have stopped (supposedly) but now we have to find someone to fix it. Not easy.

So I Googled SADS and VR and I live here now.

It’s a silly application that lets you walk around sunny places and interact with goofy animals that don’t acknowledge you (they missed a trick here – I can’t be the only user who pet the deer) and plant trees and whatever. It isn’t bright enough to treat real SADS, but I probably don’t have real SADS, I’m just sick of the endless wind and rain.

It’s stupid and pointless but it cheered me up no end.

November 28, 2022 — 8:21 pm
Comments: 6

Look what we’re getting for Thanksgiving

Oof! It is upon us.

Still, we’re poised to do the thing. You know…the thing. We eat our T’day as an evening meal, about 9:30, because – what the hell? It’s England and nobody knows what the traditions are. I make ’em up as I go.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone! Or had one, as the case may be.

November 24, 2022 — 5:49 pm
Comments: 15

So it’s going to be that kind of winter, is it?

Sometimes, it’s like someone flips a switch and it’s winter. I need to do one last mow, but the rain stretches before me unendingly. It won’t be dry enough again until spring.

One thing I’ve learned here: if a country looks lush and green, that’s a place where it rains. A lot.

The forecasts are hopeless – a little island stuck in a turbulent sea, who’s surprised? – so I rely on the satellites.

It’s weird. Living on the Eastern side of the States, I’m used to seeing the weather come at me, left to right, for days (except occasionally in hurricane season).

It’s not like that here. Weather usually comes up diagonally, from southwest to northeast, following the line of the Channel – but by no means always. Those little blobs can come from anywhere – and when they come straight down from the north, it’s eeevil.

Anyway, rain. For the weekend and beyond. You have a good one!

October 21, 2022 — 6:52 pm
Comments: 5

Oh noes!

From the article:

The Met Office have issued a rare amber weather warning for extreme heat as scorching temperatures over 30C continue to hit much of the UK. The warning is in place on Sunday, July 17, with potential “danger to life”.

It will come into place at midnight on Sunday and will end at 11.59pm the same day. However, the Met Office have said that an update to extend the warning into Monday, July 18, is “likely.”

It covers much of the UK heading as far north as North Yorkshire and East towards Devon. The entirety of Sussex comes under the warning’s boundaries.

The warning mentions “population-wide adverse health effects” which are not limited solely to the vulnerable. People are urged to only call 999 in an emergency with those requiring non-emergency advice urged to call 111.

To be fair, most Brits know this is stupid. It’s ordinary Summer weather, even here. We get about a week of it every year. Two, if we’re lucky. But it’s all part of the ZOMG THIS IS THE HOTTEST DAY EVER THEPLANETISONFIRE!

The actual forecast? I’ll put it in the first comment.

Pff! Yes, really.

July 11, 2022 — 6:21 pm
Comments: 17

‘Blood rain’ anyone?

It’s the Sahara sand again. That’s what they call it – blood rain. I don’t know if that means it gets picked up in the rain and falls in red or it just leaves red dust everywhere.

If you find the map disorienting in black and white, that’s the UK at the top and Africa below and the dark stuff is the dust headed our way. Gosh, we aren’t all that far from Africa!

That makes Beachy Head lady more plausible.

Meanwhile, back at Badger House, we’ve been rat hunting. Specifically, dead rat hunting. It’s the sort of quarry you more than half hope you don’t find.

The smell got so appalling that Uncle B, with his keen sense of smell, thought he could pinpoint the location of our hidden stinker: the back of the fridge. And he was right. Ratty had crawled up into the mechanism for comfort, poor beast. Another big boy. Oh, it was vile.

Poison is an ugly weapon. I hate using it, but I’m scared of traps big enough to deal with these big rats.

I don’t suppose we’ve got them all yet, but it’s gone mighty quiet in the kitchen.




May 18, 2022 — 7:29 pm
Comments: 5

I’ve come to the conclusion these don’t work

Stove fan. By the time it’s hot enough to turn, the room is already warm.

That may be the fault of our particular stove. We opted for the hood (my fault; artard decision) which means the base of the fan isn’t touching the surface, and the hood doesn’t get as hot as a stovetop anyway. Maybe it would do something on a conventional stove.

Uncle B lit the stove super early and we have retreated to the livingroom. It was brutal in here today. A bad combination of windy and cold out. IT SNEW, even!

Today was the last day to get in a meter reading before electric rates rise by an average of 54% overnight. The websites of several of the major electric companies fell over under the strain.

The CEO of one energy company said on the radio they usually get about 200 meter readings a week. In the first six hours of today, they had 40,000.

Mark my words: Brits are going to freeze to death over this.

March 31, 2022 — 9:56 pm
Comments: 13

More of this, I see.

Oof. That little snowflake symbol isn’t snow – it’s sleet. I’m listening to it click against the windows as I type.

When this Ukraine thing hit, we were caught out without enough home heating oil to make it through the season. Overnight, the price rocketed over twice what we’d last paid and even if you were willing to pay that stupid money, you couldn’t get any delivered.

Hence, we haven’t had the central heating on for a month.

Doing okay, though. I have a stock of hot water bottles and an electric throw blanket and Uncle B has…a high tolerance for pain, I guess.

We have plenty of wood and solid fuel. At night, he builds a big fire and everything thaws.

Forget warmening, I honestly live in fear that we’re moving to a time of increased cold. This is not the way I want to see myself out.

March 30, 2022 — 7:00 pm
Comments: 7

We Survived the Great Gale of 2022!

Eh. It lasted a long time, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for us. We lost power for a half hour (during which our cellphones didn’t work, either – worrying). There was a period toward the end where the gusts were pretty scary. But, on the whole, we’ve had worse.

We lost one roof tile. Like the above. When the winds are high enough, the tiles lift and clack. It’s an eerie sound.

This style of tile is usually called a Kent Peg Tile, though they were the main roof tile in the Southeast from about 1300 to 1900. They were introduced by the Romans, but not adapted by Britons until much later. They hang on little wooden pegs, as you’d expect from the name.

The picture above is from a reclamation yard. You can buy them newly made, but you can also buy them reclaimed from old buildings. The ones above were salvage, going for £1.10 each plus VAT.

Have a poke around at the link. As you might imagine, very interesting things turn up in British salvage. If this is the yard we visited once – I think it is – there was an entire church belfry for sale in the drive.

February 18, 2022 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 10