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Thursday 01 August 2013

One Day Heatwave

Thursday got August off to a scorching start with the late afternoon temperature producing the hottest day of the year as the mercury hit 31.1°C or 88°F.

It’s the second hottest day I’ve recorded but the record is still held by 27 June 2011 with 31.6°C.




Friday 02 August 2013

Pattern of Thunderstorms

Friday was another very nice summer’s day and although we had much more cloud than Thursday the temperature still managed a very warm 26.9°C.

We do seem to be into a pattern of heavy showers or thunderstorms brewing up late into the afternoon and into the evening. Friday was no exception with this storm forming over Wakefield early in the evening.

It might have deposited some rain somewhere but Ossett escaped and stayed dry apart from a few large drops of rain later into the evening.

Saturday 03 August 2013

Disappointing Charlotte

After some overnight rain, Saturday was a much fresher day with a fairly stiff breeze at times. We did have plenty of sunshine and with the temperature into the low twenties it was a very pleasant day.

On the plot I lifted the last of a row of Charlotte potatoes. These were planted on 23 April and so the last potatoes had been in the ground for 102 days. That’s a bit misleading as the tops had started to die back a few weeks ago. The crop from this row came to a disappointing 14.3kg. There were lots of small potatoes which hadn’t bulked up which I’m putting down to the very dry hot weather at the end of June and for most of July.

The dry weather has meant slug activity has been reduced to an absolute minimum and the potatoes are all free of any nasty holes so should store well boxed up in the garage.

The next row to be lifted is a row of Winston’s planted alongside these Charlottes. It will be interesting to see if these have bulked up more as their haulms remained in better condition for longer. Both these varieties are our “banker” potatoes and it’s unusual for them to let us down.

Our last two rows of potatoes were planted on 16 June which is really late. It will be interesting to see how they perform. If they require 100 days to produce good size potatoes they will need to continue growing through to the middle of September.

So far so good they look to have come through our hot and dry spell of weather very well and are growing strongly. These are Nadine and Nicola another couple of varieties that are good “doers” on our plot.

Sunday 04 August 2013

Blackcurrant Galore

Sunday continued August’s theme of gradually cooling down after our hottest day of the year, on the first of the month, as Sunday’s temperature just made it into the low twenties centigrade.

We’ve always thought that having plenty of variety on the plot is good as different crops almost compensate for good and bad years. This year our poor soft fruit has been our summer raspberries. The plants have actually died so you can’t get much more of a crop failure. We are still hoping for a good crop of autumn raspberries.

One of our soft fruit successes this year has to be our blackcurrants which have cropped exceptionally well. We planted Ben Connan and Ben Lommond back in 2010 and this is the first year that they have cropped really heavily. It’s a time consuming job picking blackcurrants. The faster you try to pick them the more stalks you have to remove when preparing the currants for culinary use so it’s a real catch 22 situation. Anyway yesterday I managed another 1.5kg of Ben Connan and finished up with blackcurrant pickers fingers. Fortunately for me the juice washed off without staining. I might try making some blackcurrant cordial so watch this space.

Monday 05 August 2013

Back to Normal

We had some heavy rain first thing on Monday morning but it didn’t turn out to be wet all day as forecast and the remainder of the day was cloudy and mostly dry.

After the hot start to the month temperatures have returned to normal and so far this month we’ve had some rainfall each day.

Tuesday and Wednesday  06/07 August 2013

A Little Bit of History

Tuesday and Wednesday turned out to be nice summer days with the temperature nudging around the 20°C mark in the afternoon it was good for getting jobs done or enjoying a walk in the Yorkshire Dales.

Now for the history bit.

The 1T57 'Fifteen Guinea Special' was the last main-line passenger train to be hauled by steam locomotive on British Railways on 11 August 1968 before the introduction of a steam ban that started the following day. It was a special rail tour excursion train organised for the occasion from Liverpool via Manchester to Carlisle and back, over the Settle to Carlisle line. The train was pulled by four different steam locomotives in turn during the four legs of the journey with two engines sharing the third leg.


This was recreated on Wednesday with a special charter train running from Lancaster to Carlisle and back over the now famous Settle to Carlisle line so we set off into the Dales to capture some pictures of this special occasion.

Here we see the two preserved steam locomotives with the special charter train as they start the steam climb to Ais Gill on the Settle to Carlisle line at Helwith Bridge.

After lunch at the Creamery in Hawes we spent the afternoon at Ingleton taking in the waterfall walk. It was a little longer than we had anticipated but there were some spectacular views of the waterfalls.

This one is Thornton Force which I’ve seen pictures of in winter when the water has been completely frozen. The whole waterfall trail is 8km or 4½ miles with lots of very steep steps and in places tricky walking conditions but well worth the effort.

These waterfalls must put on an even more spectacular sight after some heavy rain.