Mid-february in Aberdeen is not the ideal time to have a new boiler installed. My strategy for dealing with the inevitable disruption and the loss of central heating and hot water was to order in some extra logs and coal.
Management’s solution, along with The Tall Child, was to book flights to Australia and leave me to it.
I’ll leave you to decide who was the wisest!
A chap was once given to wonder If he’d made an almighty blunder, ‘Cos he stayed on his own In a cold Scottish home Whilst the others bu****ed-off Down Under!
I fancied cycling out to a café yesterday afternoon up the Causey Mounth road in Aberdeenshire, an ancient drover’s road and a long uphill drag, but didn’t. Hills are one thing, but a hill with a gale of wind blowing is quite another. So I wrote a limerick instead…
A fair-weather cyclist once tried To go for an afternoon ride On a late winter’s day, But got blown clean away ‘Cos’ twas blowing a hoolie outside.
My goodness, it’s been quite warm in Aberdeen this week (relatively speaking!). There’s no real sign of the haar, you see. The haar is a cold east coast sea fog that specialises in turning warm sunny days into a chilling, soul-extracting gloom; a ghostly apparition that rolls in from the sea and whose glacial dankness obliviates life’s vital force as readily as Azkaban’s Dementors.
The haar is an advection fog in which warm, moist air cools as it passes over the North Sea. As the moisture condenses out, a prevailing easterly wind pushes the resultant fog landward and it may even travel a mile or two inland.
When the haar is ‘in’ anyone sashaying eastwards towards the coast is met by a cold wall of fog and instantaneously transported from glorious summer into a dreich, late-autumnal day. But not this week…
It could almost be an English summer up here (okay, that’s not quite true) and long may it last.
It is also limerick-inspiring weather, recalling the day when Management and I were wandering the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon during a heatwave. We’d arranged to meet mon frère who, being a lawyer, turned up in a tweed jacket when everyone else was in T-shirts and shorts. A little while later he confessed “I’m beginning to regret the tweed!”.
So, here’s one from the archives…
If a walk in the sun’s what you need The least you can do is to heed The advice that exhorts: “Wear T-shirt and shorts”! Or you’ll end up regretting the tweed.
Postscript: I spoke too soon 😣
Germany’s premature departure from soccer’s World Cup seems to have delighted the sort of folk who take pleasure in the misfortune of others. That appears to include most of England’s football fans whose team usually falls prey to Germany.
My take on it is that the German fans will now understand the air of despair that usually surrounds the English. Moreover, when it all goes belly-up for England later in the tournament, at least it won’t be at the hands of their usual nemesis!
The Germans trudged home all annoyed When their World Cup hopes were destroyed. “Their loss is our gain” Was the English refrain. As they revelled in pure schadenfreude!
I travelled down and back to Kendal a couple of times in the last two weeks so that I could collect the family matriarch for a short stay in Aberdeen and then return her home.
Both trips re-introduced me to the sort of fine, mist-like rain that Kendal specialises in. It’s not heavy rain, but it envelops you; it soaks and chills with effortless ease. Brollies are impotent against its permeating tendencies and it makes the limestone of which the auld grey town is built look even greyer.
I don’t know if the Cumbrian word for this kind of rain is a portmanteau derived from mist and drizzle (it could easily be), but Cumbrians know it as mizzlin. And in my recent trips south, mizzlin it was. Of course ‘mizzlin” is not solely Cumbrian or, maybe even northern (I believe it has also crossed the Atlantic with the migration of Ulster Scots).
Anyway, to borrow from that old joke about Manchester, if you can’t see Kendal castle from me mum’s house, it’s mizzlin; if you can, it’ll be mizzlin tomorrow!
Hmmm! A limerick comes to mind…
Visitors never stop grizzling In Kendal, ‘cos t’weather ain’t sizzling. Instead, they just frown And loup about town And learn what we mean by “It’s mizzlin”!
Weather bomb! Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Explosive cyclogenesis! Sounds even more dramatic! Paired words that I can imagine voiced with a booming, stentorian roar by Tom Baker’s incarnation of Doctor Who as the world faces up to cyclones and storms of unimaginable ferocity; a confrontation with nature’s pent-up fury released as a cataclysmic tempest that seeks ruination of the land …
As I type, the UK meteorological Office has issued a weather warning for the south and west of the UK and forecasts strong winds arising from such a weather bomb. In fact, it is predicted to be a storm of sufficient magnitude that they have given it a name.
So what have they called this child of a weather bomb? Brian, that’s what! Brian! I mean, with all the best will in the world to all the Brian’s of the world, what scale of pent-up fury can you imagine being unleashed by a Brian?
Now, there are some very well-known Brians: Wilson, Blessed, May, O’Driscoll and Cox (times two) to name but a few. In fact Blessed may be the man who roars (see what I did there?), Cox#2 may understand the secrets of the universe, and May may be Under Pressure, but none of them approach the realms of a furious cataclysm.
Elsewhere, we have Brian the snail (remember him) and the Brian to whom the Python’s gave Life (“Vewy well! I shall… welease… Bwian!“). LinkedIn claims profiles for 90+ Brians Gale and The Arctic Monkeys even recorded Brianstorm, but nowhere, absolutely nowhere should we have ‘Brian-offspring-of-an-explosive-cyclogenesis’! Here’s my take on it:
This storm will roar like a lion Says the forecast that we all rely on, But our climatic nemesis (A fierce cyclogenesis) Needs a name that’s more brutal than ‘Brian’!
(No offence is intended to any of the Brians out there, especially the ones that I know!)
So, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and its environs, Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest recorded and the longest lasting of that strength, has laid waste to a number of Caribbean islands (and Donald Trump’s mansion on Saint Martin) and is, in turn, being followed by Hurricanes Jose and Katia.
Meanwhile, as reported by LiveScience in early August, “NOAA recently predicted that the season would have between 14 and 19 named storms and between two and five major hurricanes. Already, the season has experienced six named hurricanes and 11 named storms. Hurricane season doesn’t typically reach its peak till September 10“.
While all of this is going on, Trump continues to reverse the previous US administration’s efforts to limit carbon emissions and forbids policy papers to refer to global warming or climate change.
So it comes to pass that the threat to Trump’s Caribbean mansion and Floridian properties and golf courses is down solely to ‘weather extremes’ or, as a recent Graun headline phrased it, “The Trump administration’s solution to climate change: ban the term“; something facilitated by its senior advisor to the US Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, a right-wing talk-show host with no background in science, who considers climate research to be junk science.
Back in the real world, a statement from the independent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reflects the reality of the past 30 years: “A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.”
For a gabshite that’s so prone to blunder Even Donald must soon start to wonder If he’s wholly deranged To think climate’s not changed Now his home by the sea’s rent asunder.
I struggled to find an appropriate word or phrase for ‘warm and sunny’ in an online Scots dictionary. ‘Roastit’, ‘swealtry’ and ‘cosie’ were the only three words on offer, but note that the latter implies being wrapped up warm and not just warm per se! I found them on the ‘RampantScotland’ website and this is how it introduced them:
“Here are a few Scots words about being warm. Since there were so few such words (!) there are also words about being cold too …”
Enough said, so here is a pic of our pool instead!