Thursday, 28 June 2012

Wet and wetter

The swallows are flying low, slugs are in heaven, it can mean only one thing - damp weather. Understatement! Did I say damp? Wet would probably be a truer description, or even wetter than wet may sum the situation up better.

Now I have no idea who or what has been poking bloody great big holes in our clouds but I think it only fair that they now get the darning needle out and do some running repairs. I never knew clouds could hold so much of the wet stuff, but seemingly they do.

There again it could be the giants thumping around up there and putting their feet through the clouds letting the wet stuff out. Giants? Well you see, as a kid I was told that thunder was the giants up in the clouds and they were angry and as we've had a humbdinger of a thunder storm today it made me imagine them stomping around and causing holes in the clouds, coz after all, the rain we've had today could only have come out of big holes, it was pretty big rain, actually I think the giants were tipping buckets of water out of the skies and laughing at us! At least I have grown out of hiding in the wardrobe when it thunders, just as well as today there wasn't a wardrobe handy!

Yup! I can see you all rolling your eyes - Shep has got water on the brain alright!
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We've had a number of downpours, also showers, persistent showers, damp showers, wet showers, wetter than wet showers, more downpours and a handful of drier days - honest! there has been a handful, we just tend to forget about them between the wetter than wet days.
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Burns have swollen, burst their banks and traveled where they fancy, as have field and hill drains. Roads have also been transformed to look like rivers, saves Shep getting the pressure washer out and removing all the muck and grime from the wheel arches of the car, it happens naturally when you drive on the roads!
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I have no idea how much rain falls every day but there is a days worth in these dogs dishes - saves washing them out an' all - wonderful!

Today saw Shep clipping sheep, I only do a couple of days a week, not because I'm getting lazy but due to the fact that for the other five days in the week sheep are sopping wet. Today was one of those couple of days, fortunately the sheep had been housed overnight, otherwise Shep wouldn't have had any to clip as a misty morning would have guaranteed they would be damp of the fleeces and with rain commencing by mid morning they would definitely have never got dried. Fortunately I was working for someone prepared to house sheep overnight. Yesterday saw the clipping finished and then helping to gather, run lambs off and house ewes ready for today, it's a comfort as the raindrops hit the windscreen on the way home to know you'll get on in the morning.

As today's clipping drew to a close the heavens opened, it wasn't a hole in the clouds this time, more like a bloody great big tear, the wet stuff came down whole water, a spate no less. Lightening flashed into the shed and them giants commenced grumbling as the thunder brattled louder and louder. As clipped sheep were reunited with lambs and returned to their pastures Shep quite enjoyed the rain piddling down on her bare shoulders, a humid day had seen much sweat lost and the rain was truly refreshing, until I was wet that is, then it got somewhat tiresome, fortunately a change of clothes was on hand.

Gear was packed up but a delay ensued when it came to leaving and heading for home. The rain was torrential, the thunderstorm was right overhead, lightening and thunder complimenting one another, there was no way Shep was taking to the road in those conditions!

Overall, the storm would last a couple of hours and eventually Shep headed South and back into England. Water was running all ways, through gateways, down bank sides, almost running back up them, burns were boiling, some overflowing onto the road, driving with caution was necessary.

Once back into Northumberland everywhere seemed even wetter. I have never flashed my headlights to oncoming vehicles so much as I did in this particular journey, neither have I had so many flash theirs at me, there was much waving of acknowledgement for consideration to others on the roads. Broken down cars were passed just yards from flooded areas of the roads, police even had roads blocked and diversions set up as I got closer to home. What is normally an hours drive took me an hour and a half, there was much creeping through puddles (more like lakes) on the road.
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I eventually had to stop and take a photo, I had passed some sheep just half a mile prior to this stop which were marooned in the flood water, ewes and lambs huddles on a tiny patch of soggy green surrounded by what looked like a raging torrent, I wish I'd taken a photo, but due to a police road block and redirecting of traffic there was much traffic on my tail and no where safe to pull over, so no photo. Hopefully the river would begin to run in and the sheep would find their 'island' growing in size before finally once again becoming their pasture.

The above photo is of the Rede, a twisty narrow river in the next door valley to our own, it is noted for flooding but even so had managed to do remarkably well in such a short time. It had swamped much ground and presumably was the cause of the redirecting of traffic a short way back down the road.

The excitement of my journey still wasn't over. There were still many watery obstacles to negotiate, small hill drains and burns had swollen to ridiculous proportions, running across roads and bringing down stone walls which were in the way of the spate. My mind was full of "Ooh", "Blimey", "good grief!" and even "Wow!". I just can't help feeling full of awe and respect for the power of nature.

The water levels began to subside quite quickly, an hour from returning home and it was more than obvious that water was draining away and heading at a rate of knots for the coast.
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It left much damage in it's wake, stone walls down, tarmac lifted on the roads, trees washed away, land slides. Our pub got flooded out, not for the first time in it's life time and probably not the last, we have been extremely fortunate though in many ways, television news coverage tonight shows people far worse affected than ourselves, we don't have houses standing in water, nor cars with only their roofs showing above the water level. Them holes in the clouds may have left their mark but we have much to be thankful for.
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We have a private weather station in Tarset and they sent the following report through
Yesterday (28 Jun 2012) the temperature ranged from 12 to 18°C with 54.8mm rain. The wind gusted up to 18 mph. Follow the weather on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarsetweather

For those of you like myself who don't quite follow the millimetre thing and prefer measurements in 'old money' as my mother would say then I have googled a converter and can report that 54.8mm equates to 2.1574803149629598 inches. Doesn't really sound a lot, however, the majority of it fell in just a couple of hours and believe you me, it did equate to a fair amount! BUT.......... apparently on 28th June 1917 243mm (9.5") reportedly fell at Bruton in Somerset, SO we ain't really got anything to complain about have we?

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