No rain

There has been no rain whatsoever in April in the IoW and it’s starting to show.

Turf walk

Not many places look like this photo – Turf Walk is this way because the council dug it up to put wire mesh under the grass and then put soil back on top.  Then it didn’t rain for a month and all the clay cracked.

The purpose was (I think) to stop the badgers from digging giant holes in the middle.  However, they’ve now dug giant holes under the park benches and the grass is as you see.

Changing weather

Yesterday was beautiful and it looks as though today will be too (although tomorrow it is meant to rain).  I disapprove of people who whinge about the weather – I used to know a woman who would say “Oh, it’s raiiiiiiniiiing!” as though this was the end of the world.  I mean, I would have understood if she’d had to walk several miles in just a t shirt.  But she had a coat! a car! a house!  There really was no need to moan.

Earlier this week we had quite a heavy hailstorm, which is something you don’t get all that often in London.  I didn’t love getting caught in it but it did encourage my children to pull their hoods on and walk briskly to the house.  It was quite pretty once we were inside.

Once it stopped, I went outside in my Crocs and unblocked the drain in the back garden – we had a little flood (although it hadn’t quite got into the house).

Hail
Hail

Christmas markets

Yesterday we took our daughter to the Christmas market in Leicester Square. In the past, we’ve always gone to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park but that is a bit problematic.  The rides pretty much all require that the people on them are at least 1.3m tall, which my son isn’t.  Plus it’s big, expensive and reeeeeaaaallllly far away.

They’re a funny thing, Christmas markets in London.  I have never been to one where it hasn’t been raining.  I’m sure that, in Germany, Christmas markets are magical.  Here, they’re sort of soggy.

The Christmas market in Leicester Square
The Christmas market in Leicester Square
They have some lovely stalls.
They have some lovely stalls.
And Christmas trees
And Christmas trees
Plus we went for dim sum beforehand
Plus we went for dim sum beforehand

Hidden City

On Saturday, we went on a treasure hunt across London with our friends B and M.  These are run by HiddenCity and they text you clues, which you have to solve based on your surroundings and then text back the answers.  This one was called “Mind of the Maker” and it started off in Kings Cross and ended up in Islington (nearly Hackney) at a pub called the Narrowboat.

It was a bit wet (I wore my Seasalt raincoat and my wellies) but definitely worth doing.  We came first for that day (2 hours 9 minutes) – my husband said that we could have done it quicker if we had run everywhere but there really is no way I am running in my wellies.  As it was, it took me ten minutes to get them off.

Afterwards, we went to a tiny restaurant on Upper Street called Rok.  This was utterly delicious and I got rather plastered.

Kings Cross - this used to be a DIVE
Kings Cross – this used to be a DIVE
The canal
The canal
As part of our hunt, we found a frog (just outside Culpepper Gardens).  I know that loads of you live in places where frogs are commonplace but this is EXTREMELY exciting in central London
As part of our hunt, we found a frog (just outside Culpepper Gardens). I know that loads of you live in places where frogs are commonplace but this is EXTREMELY exciting in central London
Dusk at the canal
Dusk at the canal – put your phone away (kids on bikes snatch them round here)
Nighttime!
Nighttime!
Mead was our prize.  It was surprisingly delicious
Mead was our prize. It was surprisingly delicious

It’s been a funny year

I’m not going to write much about Donald Trump; there’s lots about him on the news and on Twitter / Facebook already.  No matter what, he won’t be in power for more than eight years.  Unlike Brexit, which is bloody permanent.

It’s finally got a bit colder in the UK.  Today we even had rain!  Blessed, delicious rain!  Here are some pictures I took earlier.

The Barbican in Autumn
The Barbican in Autumn

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My garden in the rain

It rained quite a bit over the weekend so I took a few pictures.  A few of my plants will have welcomed the rain, I should think.

Lavender with a tiny butterfly
Lavender with a tiny butterfly
I think this may be the biggest slug EVER - and it's on my majoram
I think this may be the biggest slug EVER – and it’s on my majoram
Berries on the guelder rose - looks rather Autumnal in the rain
Berries on the guelder rose – looks rather Autumnal in the rain
Cotoneaster is a plant that people tend to ignore - but these berries are going to look super in a few weeks
Cotoneaster is a plant that people tend to ignore – but these berries are going to look super in a few weeks

It’s time to vote

Today is the EU referendum.  I’m not going to say very much about that – if you are interested (or just in the UK) then you will have heard about little else apart from this for weeks.  I’ve asked my children if they would like to come with me while I vote and summarised what the point of it was – my son said that he only wanted to stay in the EU club if they have lots of toys.  Which wasn’t quite the direction I meant the conversation to go in.  Perhaps he is a bit young to hear about Palmerston’s opposition to giving the vote to the urban working classes.

In the meantime, there was a lot of rain last night.  The Times has a thing about a load of people have been stuck in their cars for hours at Glastonbury, annoying all the pour souls who live nearby.  Some sixth formers were late getting to their A Level exams.  I always avoid the IoW when the festival is on, partly because it’s impossible to get a spot on a ferry.  However, I think Glastonbury must be even worse.

Yesterday, I was in King’s Cross.  This used to be awful, a complete shithole.  There would be dodgy geezers all over the place when I was leaving the Thameslink station to get to the main station to go to Newcastle.  It is pretty nice now, although it is a pity that whenever anything is gentrified it ends up looking like a shopping mall.

King's Cross
King’s Cross