Category Archives: written posts

being possitive in the rain

at the beginning of last year Cathy, from Rambling in the garden, sent me an e mail telling me that Gardeners’ world magazine (GWM) has included a page giving details of the weather expected that month, thank you Cathy I have found it useful,

around the middle of each month, when GWM comes out for the following month, I found myself in the newspaper and magazine isle of the supermarket looking for the latest copy of GWM, sometimes I bought it, often I just flipped through to the weather page and looked at the forecast rain for North Scotland, it was usually a lot! a very lot, much more than the rest of the UK, the only area that came close is West Scotland, I was (and still am) amazed at how little rain (by comparison) most of the UK has,

the first 3 months, January, February and March North Scotland had approximately 225ml each month, 775ml altogether, there was less for the next 6 months, varying between 190ml and at the lowest point just over 90ml. most areas of the UK never get as much as 90ml. I was surprised that South Wales got more rain than other parts of Wales, and although it is frequently said that Essex is the driest county this didn’t show as parts of middle England were drier,

seeing what was instore rain wise meant I could plan for it and I knew ahead of time if I was going to be able to garden or not! when I saw the forecast for October my heart sank, 239ml, more than any previous month last year, but October had a surprise for me, it rained mainly at night and (I don’t think) was as much as forecast, infact October became the best month in the garden last year, GWM has not forecast the weather since October,

November and December were extremely wet and windy, the storms seem now to blend into each other with no break between them, once upon a time the storms were occasional, now it’s the breaks between the storms that are occasional, January so far has been the same, Sunday evenings shipping forecast for the Hebrides was gale force 8 to storm force 10,

in these conditions it is hard to stay positive, after two wet summers and last summer being cold as well, after two and a half years of rain every week, optimism is fading away, this January I cannot find the will to hope that this year maybe better, hope has left and with her taken excitement, I can see the beginnings of new growth and promise but there is no stirring of excitement, no expectancy of enjoyment, just a feeling of gloom as we entre another wet year, as I see the weeds grow faster and stronger, as my flowers for pollinators droop in the rain or don’t even find the warmth to grow, and the pollinators get fewer and fewer in the cold wet inhospitable conditions ………………………..  

©Copyright 2016 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

lies, lies, lies from British Telecommunications

BT said that for the period of time I have been without an internet connection, a prepaid connection, I would be refunded the payment for the relevant periods of time, I have been dreading the bill coming in as I strongly suspected that BT would charge me for an internet connection even though they were not providing the connection, sadly and annoyingly I am right, Monday afternoon the bill from BT arrived and they have not only not given a refund for all the time they have not provided a connection but they are also charging me for the next 3 months service even though I am no longer a customer of BT, when I phoned to explain I was told I had never complained of no internet service but only of a slow speed, I have reached a stage of feeling disgust not only for the company of BT but for all it’s employees, the number of lies I have been told by BT staff, it cannot be an accident or mistake, that frequency of lying is intended, calculated even, I firmly believe now that BT train their staff to lie, I had been putting off writing to the ombudsman but feel now that BT have left me with no choice, I am not paying the bill they have sent when I am no longer a customer of BT, I really hate it when I have to fight for my rights but fight I will, I am studying with the OU and half my course is online, submitting all essays is online and the forums for students to communicate is online, all of which I have not been able to participate in fully due to BT, it has given me a lot of time to think about and consider how we live with yet another society of have’s and have not’s, those who have internet access and those who do not, where I live many people do not have an internet connection because there is not a supply in their area, just the other end of my village people cannot get a connection and I know one lady who has no connection in her village and accesses the internet by driving the hour into Stornoway to sit in her car with laptop and dongle just to read her e mail, providing access at libraries is very limiting, we are fortunate that Stornoway library allows one hour session per day, however, Inverness library only offers a 15 minute session, if they are not busy you may be lucky and get 2 sessions, back to back, but that is still only 30 minutes a day, an unequal IT society,


on the bright side I have finally used the wall paper I bought last October, I now have a living room full of butterflies, if you are curious it is a Laura Ashley paper, totally different from any style of decorating I have done before, I usually go for plain walls, mostly just emulsion, just decided if I can’t get into the garden I’d try bring a bit of garden inside,


©Copyright 2015 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

the night of 130 mph gusts …..

When I looked out at my garden as light came Friday morning I could see the storm during the night was stronger than the pre-christmas storms. Some old drawers (that should have been turned into raised beds last year) had blown away, they were in a sheltered place, upturned wet wood with several large stones on top, they had survived like that with even 90mph winds before the festive season, 3 of the 4 are blown away in scattered bits, I can see some of the debris, the fourth is amazingly still intact but along the garden, the stones were tossed aside. My mini wind proofing around some of the raised vegbeds is flapping like flags, again it had withstood 90mph winds, it was attached very firmly, with regular winter wind speeds of 70, 80 and 90mph winds nothing is ever not attached firmly. I will not be picking any fresh kale or broccoli for a while as the plants are ragged sticks.

The electric went during the early hours of Friday morning and stayed off until Saturday morning, it was back on when I got up this morning, I was very surprised by this as it means the engineers were out working through the night. I have very high respect for the service engineers here in the highlands and islands of Scotland, the weather extremes they work in at times would leave most people downing tools and complaining to their union, employer, MP, etc. thank you engineers.

Listening to the shipping forecast this morning, it is the only relevant forecast for the Outer Hebrides the land forecast is useless, I realised that gale and storm are not interchangeable words which I had previously thought, apparently storms are stronger than gales and today we here can expect, gale force 8 through severe gale force 9 to storm force 10. The Shetland isles north of the Hebrides, are expecting sever storm force 11 to hurricane force 12, I am glad I did not move the Shetland, thinking of you sister islands.

During the early hours of Friday morning Stornoway (my local town) weather meter logged 130mph wind gusts, the strongest in the UK except for the top of the cairngorm mountains which logged 140mph gusts but there are no houses up there.

While writing this and thinking of rabbit comments in my previous post I thought I’d tell a rabbit storm tale. With this change to wetter weather we now get a lot more storms from the north, previously we rarely got winds from the north, all wind protection was on the west/south west side of property, gardens, etc.
Now down at the little cove near me, across the river from the track (the track is on the north side) there is a nice very large bank that faces north, when I first saw it I named it the rabbit highrise as it was (note past tense) full of rabbit entrance tunnels. Well 2 winters ago after one of these new northern storms when all was calm I took a walk down to the cove. As I get to the end of the track I can see the rabbit highrise across the river, now perhaps I should not have but I burst into laughter as there was not a single entrance tunnel to be seen. The wind coming from the north had wiped across the sandy beach and filled all the holes! In my defense I did not realised the impact it had on the rabbits, I had visulised them tucked up in their dens just needing to dig their way out and fully expect the next time I visited the cove for rabbit highrise to be back in action. That never happened, in a single storm lots and lots of rabbits were lost and I imagined it was probably not the only place it happened. A few entrances appeared again but another storm filled them too, it is now strange down at the cove with so few rabbits scampering the other side of the river, I wonder what effect this may have had on the seagull population as they would have been the rabbits main predator and in spring and summer the gulls nest on the cliffs around the cove and along the shore.

Wishing everyone a good weekend whatever your weather and where ever you are, x

©Copyright 2015 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.