A bad case of wind

14 November 2009

We have had worse storms since we moved here three years ago. Nevertheless, wind gusts overnight and this morning probably topped 50mph, possibly as high as 60. (Update: at 8.48 the wind seems to have picked up again.)

I’ve quickly checked the vulnerable garden and allotment bits and pieces. Oh, and the house is standing and not (I think) leaking.

  • Greenhouse: okay
  • Salad cloche: check, a bit battered, but holding
  • Cabbage and broccoli netting: still standing
  • Broad bean cloche: weighed down by rocks, hasn’t moved
  • 20 foot eucalyptus: swaying but erect
  • Back fence: ouch

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Gewächshaus? Nein danke! :-)

11 March 2009

Slight bit of drama from Monday.

As it’s coming to the end of the financial (and holiday) year, I’ve had a few days off and I’m doing the same next week.

Not that the weather was up to much.

It’s been windy. Well, it’s always windy in north Devon.

Thursday was a whiteout. Friday was better although the ground was still icy and not easy to dig. I had to dodge showers on Saturday and Sunday. But, Monday was best despite a brisk breeze.

After half-an-hour of pottering about, I suddenly noticed that the shed on allotment 6 had blown over! It must have happened over night in the gale. Yes, I’m unobservant.

Allotment rules prohibit permanent fixings, so Jim had just placed the wooden shed on a temporary foundation of breeze blocks. Obviously, the weight of garden implements was not enough to hold it down.

The shed was at 45 degrees, resting on a couple of steel drums that Patrick uses to collect water. It was still in one piece though some of the planking had cracked.

Due to my feebleness, I had to wait until Arthur showed up an hour later to put the shed upright. Feeble or not, if I had tried it myself, it might have tipped over the other way.

And, that’s one of the reasons I don’t want a shed or a greenhouse on my allotment.


File Under: Ephemera

13 March 2008

logo - International Year of the Potato

The year 2008 is the International Year of the Potato and the United Nations is running a potato photograph competition. They don’t specify whether mashed or chipped will be acceptable.

Meanwhile, the village will once again be holding a charity potato growing competition. For £1 you get a seed potato, pot and some compost. At the village fete in July each crop of potatoes will be weighed. Last year, Bill won (under guise of his grandson). Bill wins every “biggest” vegetable prize, including the pumpkin competition.

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This week’s gales brought down the price of electricity.


Damage Report

11 March 2008

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“Damage report, Mr Scott.”

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“The warp drive is a pile of rubble, Cap’n. I can give you impulse power.”

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“Scotty, I need warp drive. When can you get it fixed?”

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“Cap’n! We’re no going anywhere.”

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“I’ll give you twelve hours, Scotty. Kirk, out!”

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A Word About Wind

10 March 2008

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Here’s a typical North Devon scene. Not the blue sky (especially today). No. The twisty lane with barely room for a car to pass a tractor, the hedgerows atop Devon banks and the aerofoil shaped tree.

The aerofoil shaped tree. Why is the tree shaped so? Is it a sign of age? An Olde English variety that grows so crooked? Is the camera holder perched on an odd angle?

Of course not. The simple reason is the wind.

North Devon’s landscape is dominated by cliffs, sand dunes and not so gently rolling hills, often called downs.

Those hills can be quite high. The tree pictured here is at over 150 metres (around 500 feet).

Therefore, the hills are exposed.

Geography plays another big part. Bideford (or Barnstaple) Bay lies barely 5 kilometres (nearly 3 miles) to the north-west. To the west, more sea is about 20 km distant. That bit of water just about qualifies as the Atlantic Ocean. And, there’s nothing but open water from Hartland Point to Newfoundland.

The meteorology is greatly affected by the geography. Often, like right now, we get the full force of the jet stream. We’re usually the first part of the UK to get Atlantic winter storms. Devon (and Cornwall) takes the edge of these beasts so the rest of the country doesn’t have to suffer too much.

This is a doosy of an Atlantic storm. I saw 955mb mentioned. That’s a very deep depression. With such systems you get a steep pressure gradient. Pressure gradient of the magnitude we are seeing means strong winds.

I would estimate that sustained winds are still in the region of 30 mph (excuse the mixing of imperial and metric) with gusts upwards of 50 mph.

Luckily, we are used to it. Or should I say resigned to living in an area with wind velocities that often reach these strengths.

And, that’s why the trees are shaped that way. And, that’s why I fear my onion protection may have blown away.


Wintry Showers

3 March 2008

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Winter took a gentle grip on proceedings. A combination of drizzle, sleet, hail, wind and cold curtailed the first day of a planned week’s digging.

Matters were also hindered by wet underfoot conditions. It was back to christmas pudding soil. Worse, it was claggy.

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The day started bright and digging began around 9.00 am. But, as the photo shows, wintry showers were marshalling to the west. Within 20 minutes I scurried back to the car as hail was thrown into my face. (Yes, I cheated and drove to the allotments. I figured I’d need to shelter every now and then as sailing ship clouds blew through at pace and dumped ice and wet.)

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Around 11.00 am Bill showed up to feed his chickens. Of course, he was surprised to see someone foolish enough to dig on a day like to today.

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Twenty minutes later another shower blew in. By this time, I’d had just over an hour of digging and much the same sheltering. So, I called it a day.

Smart decision as this shower prolonged into the afternoon. Of course, the afternoon was bright and clear. But, I figured it was still soggy up at the allotment and I can get a fuller day digging tomorrow.

Now I see snow is forecast for tonight.