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Page: Dec 2015 wk 4


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Tuesday 22 December 2015

Winter Solstice

Tuesday was the winter solstice. It’s the day proper winter starts not meteorological winter which started at the beginning of December. So today we had the shortest length of daylight hours of the year. The sunrise and sunset times as shown below. Just for interest I’ve added some sunrise and sunset times for Wednesday too so you can see how much the times change each day.  

Sunrise and Sunset times for Ossett, West Yorkshire



22 December 2015



23 December 2015



I’ve seen posts regarding how little difference there is in temperatures between summer and winter solstice this year. It got me thinking so I’ve produced a little table showing the figures for the last six years. It’s definitely true as there was only 1°C difference in the high temperature for the June solstice compared with this December’s. But looking at the tables it’s a combination of a cold June and very mild December. Thinking back to June nothing would grow properly would it? Young plants were struggling to grow on the plot and we were in need of some warmer weather to get them growing.

Certainly December has been very mild but I’m not sure how much of advantage that is to gardeners. I’m sure we’ll have a cold snap before we get through to spring. That’s when any tender plants will be damaged by frost but of course the good news is any pesky bugs still living on our plants over winter might well be killed off.

Wednesday 23 & Christmas Eve  December 24 2015

Alone this Christmas

Wednesday finished up rather a nice sunny day although we had some rain early in the morning before it got light and it got windy after dark.

I noticed that we still have a lone apple remaining high up in one of our trees in the garden.

It's one I missed or more likely couldn't quite reach at harvesting time. Well this apple has survived storms Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, and Desmond and now waits to see what Eva has to throw at it. The trees have lost all their leaves and there's no more apples left either so it's going to be a lonely Christmas for this solitary apple.

Hope you are having, or had a wonderful Christmas Day.

Wentworth Castle Deer Park - 28 December 2014

Christmas Day 25 December 2015

White Christmas

As forecast it rained for most of the day on Christmas Day. We didn’t have anything exceptional just steady rainfall for most of the day amounting to 5.8mm or 0.23”. Late into the evening despite the rain it turned ridiculously mild again for late December reaching 13.6°C or 56.5°F.  

The forecast for next week (surprise, surprise) is once again wet and windy with severe gales forecast for the middle of the week.

Despite the Christmas Day gloom, our rose White Cloud managed to brighten up the fence with a Christmas Day flower.

Now that’s a true Christmas rose.

Boxing Day 26 December 2015

Record River Levels

Boxing Day has been another wet day but although we haven’t had any great amount, higher up in the Pennines there’s been a lot more rain, a lot more! The two main rivers near to us are the River Aire which passes through Leeds and the Calder passing through Wakefield. Both rivers are at highest recorded levels. These two river drain water from the Pennines through these two cities out into the Humber Estuary and finally out into the North Sea.

The link to this Environment Agency site is http://floodalerts.com/?id=94600

This shows the flood warnings on the river Aire at the top and Calder lower down the map.

From the link to Visit Gaugemap, in the top right hand corner of the flood alerts map, the water levels at individual gauges can be viewed in almost real time.

2.45m represents the previous highest level recorded.

3.87m represents the previous highest level recorded.

4.03m represents the previous highest level recorded.

At least we live on higher ground an aren't likely to be affected by rivers flooding.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Flooding Update - Difficult to Believe

Up to lunchtime on Sunday it’s been sunny but much cooler than yesterday. Thankfully so far we’ve had no more rain. With serious flooding in towns and villages along the rivers Wharfe, Aire, Calder, and Ouse its hard to believe that I recorded only 9.0mm (0.35”) of rainfall on Saturday. To put that into perspective the record daily amount I’ve recorded was 39.2mm (1.54”) on 06 July 2012 so for us the amount of rainfall on Boxing Day was nothing out of the ordinary. It takes a while for all the rainfall that fell in the Pennines to arrive in the lower reaches of the rivers but it’s now doing that in record volumes.

We’re 3 miles from Wakefield, 12 miles from Leeds and 30 miles away from York and very glad we don’t live by a river.


Monday 28 December 2015

I Don’t Believe It!

Monday wasn’t such a bad day. It was a cloudy day but thankfully the rain held off and it wasn’t too cold considering it’s almost the end of December.

It’s only just over a week ago that I posted about the warmest December day I’ve recorded. I made the point that we hadn’t any spring flowers anywhere near out as other bloggers, facebookers and twitterers were posting. Well now that’s not the case.

This little gem is on flower in the front garden. What’s even stranger is that Katherine Hodgkin should be the first iris out on flower in this bed. But after looking carefully I couldn’t see any signs of her.

It does look like the flowers have been nibbled by slugs which I don’t expect to happen in December. It’s just a sign of how mild this winter has been so far.

Tuesday & Wednesday 29/30 December 2015

Very Different Days

Tuesday was a lovely December day with sunshine more or less from dawn to dusk. Again it was very mild for late December and in the sunshine it felt almost spring like as there was only the gentlest of breezes. Wednesday on the other hand was wet and windy. It wasn’t cold but with rain on and off for most of the day it was very different from Tuesday.

I noticed that last year on 30 December 2014 we went for a winter walk around the RSPB reserve at Fairburn Ings. It must have been a cold sunny day as some of our photos show bits of snow and frost on the paths as we walked around the reserve. In part the duck were able to walk on the ice on the lake.

RSPB Fairburn Ings 30 December 2014

RSPB Fairburn Ings 30 December 2014

Even if we wanted to we wouldn’t have been able to have a walk around the reserve on 30 December 2015 as the reserve is under water.


I’ve also plotted the temperatures for December 30 in 2014 and 2015 and there’s quite a difference.

The strange thing is of course it’s not just one mild day in the month virtually every day has been mild making it the mildest December I’ve recorded.