Friday, 2 August 2013


For the last two years or so, the weather has been . . . unusual. There seems to be a lot more energy in the systems that drive weather and I am sure this is not just here in the UK but pretty much world wide. Everything seems magnified. There are periods of drought followed by torrential downpours and flooding. In winter the temperatures drop to record lows and in summers they soar to record highs. How much of this is natural and how much is caused by what we all do, I really don’t know. What I do know is that the weather forecasters seem to be finding it harder than ever to offer accurate predictions despite having far better information these days.

It is this that caused all the problems on Wednesday. We had been expecting a nice sunny day after some pretty miserable conditions that followed the super-hot June and into July. So we made plans. Plans that were all based on the sun shining. Plans that included visiting parts of the coast and taking some good photographs and video of people enjoying themselves on the beaches, cavorting merrily in places such as Dartmouth and generally having a happy holiday.

The sun obviously had not been listening to the South West of England’s weather forecast. It spent the entire day sulking behind a pall of low cloud from which drifted down a gentle drizzle which soaked everything and everybody.

Still, the British are a stoical lot and they were determined to make the best of things: some even seemed to enjoying, cavorting and happily holidaying. I must mention one group, two chaps with their wives. Suddenly (and luckily just as we were pulling to a halt) the windscreen wiper in front of me flicked into the air and landed on the bonnet. Hastily switching off the wipers – and the engine – I hopped out to take a look. Everything seemed to be there: the wiper itself and a little gadget with which it is attached to the wiper arm. The only problem was I had no idea how these things fitted together and that is where this cheerful quartet came in.
Taken on a better day: the boatfloat and, below, Foss Street.
I asked the nearest chap whether he had any ideas. No, he said, but my chum does. He called the other chap over and he had a look. Obviously he knew what he was doing and he had a go but it was his wife who, I think she was losing patience, took the situation in hand and soon all was right as rain. We saw them again later in the morning – now in Dartmouth – and all waved cheerfully as they passed.

Still, the week wasn’t a complete washout. Marcia is pretty sure that Dartmouth will feature in the next book so I took a few photos so that she could remember what it was like in the damp and gloom. This was, of course, completely unnecessary as we lived there many years ago and know it in all its moods. Even so, I have printed some off in a montage so that they can join the others she has at hand when she is actually writing.

Staring into the middle distance in the hope of something good arriving is Mitzie.