Category: Weather

London Sunsets

Sunset over NW London 30 June 2013

Sunset over NW London 30 June 2013

London Sunsets

As I have blogged before, 2014 the English weather up to mid-August has been generally wonderful. Now in early September after a couple of weeks of mainly rainy wet weather we may have an extended hot summer (also called an Indian summer here) with sun and high temperatures for the time of year as Autumn is near.   London sunsets can be amazing whether viewed from tall buildings open grounds etc.
 When I worked at Tintagel House, located along the Albert Embankment SE London, near the Houses of Parliament, the sunset views from our office windows  overlooking  the River Thames and the iconic Battersea Power station in the near distance  were wonderful.
Astronomy is a keen interest of mine, I like to watch the sky day or night!
Jean & I have seen some wonderful sunsets.
One of the best sunsets in the world to witness is over Manila Bay in the Philippines. I had this privilege in 2013.
Sunset over Manila Bay Jan 2013
 Manila Bay The Sunset of sunsets!
The best view we get locally is over the allotment gardens, simply called an allotment, which is a community garden( mainly used to grow vegetables etc), for the neighbourhood to use, especially those with no gardens of their own.
Our local allotment is across the road from where we live.  As no tall buildings are near it, there is quite a wide expanse of western sky to view.
I like looking at clouds and find the many shapes, sizes and colours fascinating.   The best clouds are seen when not a grey leaden cloudy over cast sky with cloud covering all the sky, but the clouds that compete with a blue sky at dawn during the day and at sunset. When I see what looks like a potential scenic sunset, I get my trusty camera and wander across the road and walk down to the allotment.
Sometimes, Jean has come with me when we take our lively and lovely terrier Diesel for his evening walk.  This summer, I have been able to photograph some fantastic sunsets with amazing cloud formations, colours and hues that could have been created by a great artist, in this case Mother Nature herself!  

March 20, Spring 2016

Daffodils, photo by PH Morton

Daffodils, photo by PH Morton

I can’t wait for spring.  In a few more days, spring is upon us.

Though spring is supposed to start on 20 March 2016, the flowers, especially the bulbs don’t wait for the official starts.

Some bulbs in our garden have come through, our potted magnolia tree is blooming with gorgeously scented milky white velvety petals.

Our fish in the pond have woken up from their hibernation from the wintry weather.

Again, I have not noticed any sign of frog spawns this year.  This is now the third year that this has happened.  Though I do not really care much for the amphibians, I do not particularly want them to vanish from the face of the earth.  I am sure they have some role to do in this world. 🙂

Spring is my favourite season of all.  It is when darker days/ morning literally lighten up, here in UK anyway. I love to watch plants coming into life.  I like to hear the chirping of the birds which visits the garden more often.  I find that there is a feeling of positivity when spring comes.  New life, new day.  Cycles begin.  Perhaps I just suffer from this syndrome called SAD!

Spring …. bring it on.

Winter, Not Quite of Discontent

Winter, Not Quite of Discontent

This winter is not too bad, touch wood.  It has been rather mind.  I went outside in my t-shirt and I did not freeze to death! 🙂  I supposed it was not for very long.  Just throwing some garbage in the rubbish bin.  It was a dash out, dash in back!

I hope it will continue to be mild especially around my birthday, which is end of this month.  I wish for my birthday to be nicely warm, though end of the month and first week of February are when snow falls due.  Hope not this year!

I need the runway to be clear so our flight to the Philippines is not delayed.

I saw and read news that the US has so much snow.  The White House in Washington DC,  has never been so white; so wintry white.  I hope not too many people are suffering because of this extreme cold.

Wrap up and keep warm.

Don’t let winter blues beat you down.

The weather outside is not frightful (in London)

The weather outside is not frightful (in London), photo by PH Morton

The weather outside is not frightful (in London), photo by PH Morton

The weather has been unseasonable not cold.  It is quite warm for this time of year. In fact this might be one of the warmest December in ages.   I was quite comfortable walking outside our front door into our bins area in my short sleeves.

The weather outside is not frightful (in London)

Christmas was wonderful as well.  No sign of snow whatsoever till now.

This was of course in London.  But in some part of the country, it was a different story.  Thousands of people did not spend Christmas at their respective homes because of flooding.  We are talking about ‘Philippine type of flooding’ here.  Quite shocking really.   Water came inside houses ruining everything it touched, which means, unfortunately, that building and content insurance will be sharply going up for everyone.  Payout to the victims has to come out from somewhere!!!   I do feel for the people who are victims of the flood, however at this rate I think it is really time to change insurance provider and look for a more competitive rate elsewhere.

Because of this warm weather, Peter is getting nervous about how hot summer can become and has been researching getting air-conditioner put in.  I thought a Dyson will do the business but not in Peter’s book.  He does not want the air to just continue circulating inside.  He wants the type where it would blow outside, wouldn’t that contribute to global warming?!!!

The Dyson air-con/ fan looks clean-cut and rather snazzy.  I love it.  Well see…

I hope the weather do not get horrid at the end of January or early February.  We are flying to the Philippines and I can see delay at Heathrow if this happens. No, no, no.  Please let us have some snow in middle of Feb instead of in fact nothing at all.  Let’s have them on Christmas 2016.  Perfect!


Let it snow, let it snow and snow


Let it snow, let it snow and snow, photo by PH Morton

Let it snow, let it snow and snow


Let it snow, let it snow and snow, photo by PH Morton


Let it snow, let it snow and snow, photo by PH Morton

I saw my adorable grandson today. I went to watch him in his school pantomime. They did a very traditional version of the nativity play, which really gladden my heart.

More and more now, schools here in the UK have succumbed to the onslaught of political correctness and therefore do not want to offend other faiths except the Christian religion! They have been vociferously removing Christ from Christmas.  Anyway that is another blog in itself.

While walking from school, Nathan mentioned to me that he wishes snow for Christmas. He wants to make snow balls and have a real good fun fight in the garden. He also wanted to build a smowman and even offered his own scarf for the snowman to use (he is such a kind boy – so proud of him).

There is always a small chance that it would snow of course as the weather is getting colder and colder.

(By the way my heart goes to those people who were victims of the flood in Cumbria and nearby areas. It breaks my heart to see their homes which have been prepared for Christmas. All their furnitures and decorations were lost and ruined in the flood. It is only right that the Government helps them in anyway they can. It was underhanded of the UK Government to have cut the funds for floods, when it has been occuring more often in many places.)

Hopefully we do have a snowy Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas!

Autumn Foretold

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who sith: ‘A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all nor be afraid!’
– Robert Browning

Today, being the 1st September means, in the UK, autumn is just around the corner as we would normally say; tree leaves coloration begins to show autumn as being foretold!

With climate changes our summer sometimes lasts longer with September & October, traditional autumn months, are still quite warm and sunny, (we call this having an Indian summer) so the autumnal changes we see can be delayed.

This late afternoon Jean & I were walking home from Golders Green (NW London), it is a pleasant 15-20 minute walk for us, for a bit of exercise 😉

Ever vigilant for good photo opportunities, Jean noticed one tree that had a few leaves turning autumnal colours among the verdant green of the remaining leaves making quite a contrast. I had brought my trusty camera with me and so I took a few shots.

Autumn Foretold

autumn foretold

Autumn Foretold by PH Morton

Autumn Foretold by PH Morton

As I guess most school pupils learn in science or biology/botany lessons, the reason for the dramatic change in deciduous tree leaves are due to the approach of winter.
in order for the trees to survive the long cold dark winter months they must almost hibernate and cease using energy on green leaf production and the sun light needed to produce the trees sustenance via photosynthesis will be in short supply.

A leaf contains an abundance of chlorophyll.

Trying not to bore any dear reader;)

There large amount of chlorophyll in an active leaf masks the other pigment colours. Light regulates chlorophyll production, so as autumn days grow shorter, less chlorophyll is produced. As As chlorophyll amounts start to decline, so the green colour starts to fade from leaves.

Within the leaf, There is as surge of sugar concentrations cause increased production of anthocyanin pigments. Leaves containing primarily anthocyanins will appear red. Carotenoids are another class of pigments found in some leaves. Carotenoid production is not dependent on light, so levels aren’t diminished by shorter days. Carotenoids can have colours of orange, yellow, or red, but most of these pigments found in leaves are yellow. Leaves with good amounts of both anthocyanins and carotenoids will appear orange. tannins in a leaf are responsible for the brownish color of some oak leaves.

Super Hot, Hot, Hot Weather

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
– Jane Austen

Yes Jane, I am beyond perspiring myself; I am actually sweating. 😉

It was so hot today. According to news bulletin, it was 36.7 degrees centigrade at Heathrow.

It was 34 degrees centigrade in our garden. Our dog would not go into the garden; he was quite happy to lie down flat in all paws in the cool wooden floor in our living room.

Apparently, the tennis watching public at Wimbledon suffered the heat. This warm weather was unprecedented; it is a usual occurrence for Wimbledon matches to be interrupted by torrential rain not by super-hot weather.

BBC’s The One Show at tonight’s edition had these 5 top tips on how to keep cool during hot weather condition.

1. Ice-cubes – get some ice-cubes to put next to your face and inhale. It has a very calming and cooling effect. I just tried this, it does work.

2. Flannels – freeze first and use the flannel to wipe your face and to put on top of your head.

3. Cup of hot tea. Drinking hot tea – including fruit teas, has cooling and calming effect. It makes you sweat and of course sweat cools the body down.

4. Suntan Lotion – keep and store the suntan lotion in the fridge. When you apply to the heated skin, it will not only protect it, it will also cool it down.

5. Spicy food. Keep a chilli or two in your handbag. Eh?!!! The hot chilli will make your eyes water, your mouth tingling and your sweat glands active.

As you perspire more during warm weathers, keep yourself hydrated. Have a bottle of water with you especially when you are out and about..

Be safe!

Summer of 2014

Summer of 2014

A sumptuous summer  with spring, summer & autumn of 2014 can be seen as the year of beautiful, bountiful & blooming flowers!

Thanks to a wonderful late summer last year then a mild 2013/14 winter, the profusion of plants, fruits and vegetables has been amazing. This has also lead to more insects being about to feed and breed on the quantity and quality of our English flora this year.

I am now always in our garden with my trusty camera to try digitally capture fast flying insects, birds etc. With patience and some luck, I was able to photograph hover flies in flight, a bee on landing approach onto a flower, a wasp approaching and leaving our lavender plant!
In flight Hover flies aka Syrphid  flower flies in our front garden

After fine abundant early summer, this August has been cooler and less sunny than usual, a number of interesting insects have yet to appear, especially around our garden pond. I managed top take some photos of some of our tiny visitors.

Roses in particular have been spectacular in English gardens and more than two blooms are expected by mid autumn.

Other flowers have made a scenic entry into our garden this year.

Looking at one of our small apple trees which we keep in large pots in our back garden, we expect about 30 apples this year. They will reach mature size in October.

For over 60 years, there has been a large blackberry bush in our back garden. I have fond memories of picking delicious almost ripe and ripe blackberries with my parents. I now gain fonder memories of doing the same with my lovely wife and treasured 5 year old grandson. This year we have had more blackberries than we can remember. After picking Jean made wonderful blackberry dessert compote and will make vinegar. We have frozen an amount to eat over the winter months as a sweet reminder of summer 2014 past!

Old Weather Rhyme


Touch wood, the weather here in London is quite mild so far, so much so that I spied bluebells starting to sprout from the warm soil of the garden.

I hope it will not snow this year, I do not want my growing bulb plants to perish in the cold.

Below is a very quaint and quirky rhyme I found on Project Guttenberg file.  It talks about the weather.  It forecasts the mildness or the ferocity of the climate!  Quite fun but please take it with a pinch of salt.



Photo by PH Morton

Old Weather Rhymes

If New Year’s eve night-wind blow south,
It betokeneth warmth and growth;
If west, much milk, and fish in the sea;
If north, much cold, and storms there will be;
If east, the trees will bear much fruit;
If north-east, flee it, man and brute.
If St. Paul’s day be fair and clear,
It does betide a happy year;
But if it chance to snow or rain,
Then will be dear all kinds of grain;
If clouds or mists do dark the skie,
Great store of birds and beasts shall die;
And if the winds do fly aloft,
Then wars shall vex the kingdome oft.
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spune;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
The hind had as lief see his wife on the bier,
As that Candlemas-day should be pleasant and clear.
If Candlemas-day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if Candlemas-day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
When Candlemas-day is come and gone,
The snow lies on a hot stone.
If Candlemas is fair and clear,
There’ll be twa winters in the year.
February fill dike, be it black or be it white;
But if it be white, it’s the better to like.
When the cuckoo comes to the bare thorn,
Sell your cow and buy your corn;
But when she comes to the full bit,
Sell your corn and buy your sheep.
If the cock moult before the hen,
We shall have weather thick and thin;
But if the hen moult before the cock,
We shall have weather hard as a block.
When the wind’s in the south,
It blows the bait into the fishes’ mouth.
As the days lengthen
So the colds strengthen.
If there be a rainbow in the eve,
It will rain and leave;
But if there be a rainbow in the morrow,
It will neither lend nor borrow.
A rainbow in the morning
Is the shepherd’s warning;
But a rainbow at night
Is the shepherd’s delight.
No tempest, good July,
Lest corn come off blue by.
When the wind’s in the east,
It’s neither good for man nor beast;
When the wind’s in the south,
It’s in the rain’s mouth.
When the sloe-tree is as white as a sheet,
Sow your barley, whether it be dry or wet.
No weather is ill
If the wind be still.
A snow year,
A rich year.
Winter’s thunder
Is summer’s wonder.
St. Swithin’s day, if thou dost rain,
For forty days it will remain;
St. Swithin’s day, if thou be fair,
For forty days ’twill rain na mair.
The bat begins with giddy wing
His circuit round the shed and tree;
And clouds of dancing gnats to sing
A summer night’s serenity.
At New Year’s tide,
The days are lengthened a cock’s stride.
If the red sun begins his race,
Expect that rain will fall apace.
The evening red, the morning gray,
Are certain signs of a fair day.
If woolly fleeces spread the heavenly way,
No rain, be sure, disturbs the summer’s day.
In the waning of the moon,
A cloudy morn—fair afternoon.
When clouds appear like rocks and towers,
The earth’s refresh’d by frequent showers.
As the days grow longer
The storms grow stronger.
Blessed is the corpse that the rain falls on.
Blessed is the bride that the sun shines on.
He that goes to see his wheat in May,
Comes weeping away.
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