No, they are not my friends dear reader but these are the names of the storms that have been battering the United Kingdom since last week.
In our part of the country, Storm Dudley started on Wednesday night. The whooshing and the whistling sounds of the wind kept me awake most of the night while the Mhinisteir slept peacefully. Typical! The next day apart from a handful of one minute power cuts, all was well.
Come Friday, it was a totally different story. This time it was Storm Eunice. We had already been warned by the meteorological office about the severity of Eunice and that enabled us to make some contingency plans. I started work on our lunch much earlier than usual in order for us to have our big meal at lunch time so that in the event of a power cut, we would have had at least one hot meal that day . True to the weather warnings, shortly after our lunch the power went off and didn’t return until 7pm that evening!
The Mhinisteir assured me that Saturday would be much calmer. Saturday started off well but by lunch time, the winds were getting stronger and stronger. Like Friday, the power went off just after lunch time and wasn’t restored until almost close to midnight! We did manage to have a home cooked hot meal thanks to my clever planning😁.
However, I was a bit grumpy by the time power was restored because firstly I was cold even under a duvet and two thick blankets!!! Secondly, I had to wait until power was restored to wash my hair. It’s my Saturday night ritual for Church on Sunday. This way, on Sunday mornings, I can have a quick shower and not hog the bathroom. In my haste to get to bed, I went to sleep with wet hair which resulted in me looking like Jedward the next morning! Thankfully I was able to hide my hair with a smart hat!
On Sunday, in church, the gospel reading from the lectionary was from Mark 4:35-41 on Jesus calming the storm. How apt! Coincidence? I think not.
Today, as I write this, we are being battered by Storm Franklin!
I don’t how you are feeling but I am shattered but thankful after having witnessed and survived these storms!
Our weather together with some of the trees in the churchyard have turned autumnal even though it is only August. It was cold last night so the heating in the Vicarage which is controlled by a thermostat came on Some of you may know that most Vicarages are old houses with old heating systems. Our heating system makes a bit of a noise at certain times of the night but we have grown accustomed to it. However, what happened last night was unexplainable!
As mentioned in the start, I was rudely awoken by various clanging noises which I can only describe as like the ones that is played by the Chinese Lion dance troupe. Why this analogy? I have no idea. The clanging stopped after a while but the drums went on all night!! By 3am, I was wide awake, staring through my eye mask!!!!!
Needless to say that I woke up feeling tired and grumpy! Here’s hoping that the Lion dance troupe go elsewhere tonight!!!!
Our weather compared to this time last year is very different. It is humid and wet. I for one am not complaining as I quite like this weather compared to the extreme heat where you can’t sleep at night!
One of the big tasks this week was to tackle the mountain of washing that needed ironing. I am the sort who irons everything that goes into the washing machine so I inevitably accumulate more things to iron. I also have been doing something naughty. I have been leaving some of my dresses in the ironing basket for another day but whenever that day comes along, I have new washing that needs ironing so the dresses never got a second look!
My new found hobby has also been taking me away from the mundane but very necessary task of ironing! I am not even sure I like ironing??!! Some days I think I love ironing but other days it feels laboured.
At the end of last week, I gave myself a bit of a scare while gardening. I began to feel quite unwell and had to get back inside the house. Since then, I have decided to stay away from the garden for a wee while. It is a blessing in disguise as it means I have more time to focus on ironing. I am pleased to report that I have ironed every item that found its way into the ironing basket!!!!
Finally, another good thing to happen this week is that the gardener is back! He has come back with great gusto and has transformed the garden. Well done to him!
Recently, I have discovered a new pastime. I never thought that I would enjoy my new hobby this much but I have surprised myself. For health reasons, I am not able to commit more than half an hour each day and even that it can only be on good days.
I have always enjoyed a tidy garden but have NEVER spent any time tending to it. It is just not my thing(neither the Mhinisteir’s). We have always paid someone to cut the grass and keep it tidy.
In any case, in a place like the Scottish highlands, you would only want to be in the garden if you want to be eaten alive by the midges!!!! For those who are not familiar with midges. You can read about them here. If it is not the midges than it is the weather. We rarely got good weather in the summer.
Until some weeks ago, I had never done weeding in my whole life.
We are having the same problem with our gardener as with our cleaner (same company!). As mentioned before, I like things to look tidy.
Our garden was beginning to look messy and that was when I decided to take matters into my own hands. We tried getting in touch with other gardeners but none was available.
At that time, I only had a pair of secateurs. I have since added a weed fork, rake, lopper and the most recent purchase is a pair of shears. It has taken me a whole month to figure out how the weed fork and rake worked! Being left handed doesn’t aid anything!
Ever since I started doing very gentle tidying up of the garden, I feel wonderful and can’t believe how much I enjoy it. Needless to say that the garden is looking wonderful too. However, I stop at tidying. I have no desire to plant or grow anything.
The weather has been pretty atrocious for the last one week. It has been raining every single day reminding me of my beloved Scotland. Last night, I had to eat humble pie and reintroduce the electric blanket much to the Mhinisteir’s delight. With grey skies, low temperature and persistent rain, it feels more like autumn than spring!
Wonderful excuse for our cooked breakfast this morning!!!!
We have had snow almost every day of this week. The Sun has been shining for the past two days but it is still not strong enough to melt the snow. Last night was a particularly cold night. I had to turn on the electric blanket in the middle of the night because it was so cold and my pillows were cold!
It was still very cold in the morning. When the Mhinisteir went to turn up the radiator, he found the radiator in the bedroom to be stone cold!!! That explains why we were both freezing in bed! The boiler had packed in again. Honestly, this is the third time this has happened since Christmas Eve! It was looked into at the start of the year and all was found to be well.
The upkeep of the Vicarage is the responsibility of the Diocese and so we must go through the Diocesan Housing Department everytime there is to be any repair work but since it is the weekend, we are allowed to phone the Diocesan approved plumber directly. Thankfully, the plumber was available to come straight away.
As we were waiting, the Mhinisteir came to report that the heating has miraculously come back on! What about the plumber???? He gave the plumber a call to update him but since he was already halfway here, he decided to come anyway. Just as well he did because there was a fault with the heating system. The heating was only coming on if we turned on the hot water! The plumber managed to solve the problem and it is such a relief. The heating is working well now but it is taking an awful long time to heat up the house as the Vicarage has been without heating overnight.
Did anybody notice the date today? 13th! Haha. I am not at all superstitious but when I was in school, I used to love writing stories about things going wrong on Friday the 13th. Of course, it was all pure imagination!
What is it with rural churches and lights? For some very strange reason, ALL of our parish churches refuse to turn on the church lights on Sundays! This is in the dead of winter. The lack of light makes reading very difficult.
Personally I find it depressing to go into a Church with no lights turned on. Without the lights, the Churches look dead from the outside. Surely we worship a living saviour not a dead one??! How is one to know if the churches are even open for worship?
Psychologically, in the winter months, the Church “feels” a lot warmer with the lights turned on bearing in mind that the Churches have very little heating.
No wonder the Church is struggling to attract worshippers!
On Friday, we got our first delivery of coal for this year. In fact, it is only this autumn that we are properly using our open fireplace. I am typing this as I sit next to the fire. Bliss!
This morning, the Mhinisteir went outside to get coal from the coal bunker while I made him French toast. The moment he got came back in, he said that we urgently needed to buy a coal shovel. Yes, we used to have one but not sure what happened to it.
Anyway, he was explaining that it will get harder to get the coal from the bunker once the coal level goes down. Mmmmm…. so I went… “Do you not use the hatch at the bottom of the coal bunker to get coal”????? to which he asked ” Is there one”????????????
Oh my goodness! This is the problem with academics!!!
With the nights drawing in and the weather cold, I have started cooking comfort food like fish pies and casseroles.
One Friday night, the Minister and I were tucking into our home made fish pie when I told him that my favourite ingredient in the fish pie was the salmon. In turn, I asked him what his favourite ingredient was to which he answered ” I like the sliced boiled egg”!!!! Boiled egg?????????? I might as well have served him boiled egg with white sauce covered in mash!!!!
We have a Morphy Richards electric blanket that is 16 years old. I still remember buying it in John Lewis in Glasgow. It is a dual control electric blanket that can be kept on all night.
After church on Sunday, I desperately needed thawing out and so turned on my trusty electric blanket. After my second shower of the day (Covid precaution), when I jumped into bed, my side of the bed was still cold. Mmmm….. there was no light on the electric blanket either. However, the Mhinisteir’s side of the electric blanket is working perfectly fine.
It has been miserable for almost a week now with heavy rain and strong wind. It is certainly not ideal to do without the electric blanket.
Now the dilemma is this, do we get a new electric blanket when one side of the electric blanket is still working???!!!!
The Mhinisteir is adamant that we should buy one right away but I’ve decided to take a few days before deciding to buy a new one as I am always hoping for miracles!