Thursday, 20 July 2017

Changeable times

Well the best way to describe the weather here on Sheppey at the moment, is changeable and sometimes by the hour! The week started hot, sunny and humid and then broke down overnight Tues/Weds into massive storms and torrential rain that caused a lot of damage in some places. Getting up yesterday morning the garden at last, looked pleasantly wet, but scraping the surface of the soil back do you know, it was only wet to an inch deep, so dry has it been. That rain yesterday was followed all day by a strong and warm wind and so it wasn't long before it started to look dry again. Today has seen heavy grey clouds and a couple of heavy showers which have dampened things down again but it's still windy so we're not getting anywhere wet-wise.
The other point of interest for me as I crossed the marsh yesterday morning was what effect the torrential rain and gusty winds from the overnight storm would of had on the ripe wheat fields. In past years the result would of been flattened and sodden crops and heavy losses for the farmer but as far as I could see the fields were undamaged. I imagine that this is in part due to new wheat varieties that have shorter stems. Wheat straw has little commercial value, unlike barley straw that has, and so it makes sense to grow shorter stemmed crops that are less prone to collapsing under the attack by rain and wind. The farmer that I spoke to yesterday, when I mentioned the storm, was happy to shrug and say "that's farming" but his lot has certainly been made easier by the newer varieties of crop.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned one of our local Speedwatch sessions whereby our team of four make hourly visits to roads in the parish area that are known for speeding vehicles. early this morning we had a one hour session recording speeding motorists on the same road as a fortnight ago, when 54 were recorded in one hour, almost one a minute! The road in question has a 30mph speed limit and we only record the details of those who are doing 35mph and over, today we recorded another 45 motorists exceeding the limit by that amount. The sessions are not always harmonious, this morning two separate motorists slowed down enough to call us c...'s and to clear off and get a life. Clearly many see us as just a bunch of bored pensioners with little else to do but annoy people who are speeding in built up areas but it is a role that the local police and parish council have asked us to undertake. The stretch of road we were on today goes past a primary school entrance halfway along it and therefore to expect to speed past it unchallenged does seem a tad stupid and thoughtless.

More autumn wading birds were recorded passing through the reserve this morning and many other reserves are experiencing the same, it really does seem as if autumn is coming early this year.


  1. I noticed a few early sandpipers (probably least, but too far away to tell) that arrived here last week. Our weather is seasonable. We did have 10 minutes of fury yesterday that ripped the hooks off one my oldest shade cloths on the veranda. It rained 0.18 inches in that 10 minutes, too. Hope you get some rain while your soil is still primed to soak it up without runoff.

  2. Here I always feel that Autumn has come with August Derek.
    We have had some downpours but nothing like in some areas. I did see that your area seemed to be getting a soaking but there is still enough power in the sun to dry it out quickly.

    1. Like I've said before Pat, I don't think we get the normal four seasons any more. In the south here we seem to have an autumn that starts Aug/Sept and goes through till about March/April and then a summer of sorts.

  3. I think the police should supply you with one of those stingers to throw out in front of speedsters. What exactly did that jolly Kentish fellow shout at you? Forebearing citzens! Forgiving chaps! Flashing cavalrymen! It's hard to guess.

  4. Stingers would be nice YP. The abuse is all part of the amusement when doing the Speedwatch's, we took the guy's number yesterday and he will get a letter from the police advising him to be more appreciative of our efforts.