Sunday Tea

A (mostly) cold meal this evening: salad, cold meats, pigs in blankets, jacket potatoes, tuna, boiled eggs, freshly baked rolls and fruit salad with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from our garden. We scored 10 on the GWQ thanks to Dave and thanks also for his heroic gardening efforts.
July gifted us 126mm of rain but was otherwise a pretty average month all things considered.
Admin1 is reading The Waiter by Ajay Chowdhury. Admin2 is rereading One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson.

The Day That the Rain Came Down

It hasn’t rained for two weeks but it bucketed down today, accompanied by thunder. It has only rained for 10 days so far this month, but we’ve had over 100mm of precipitation. Interesting, huh?
Admin1 is reading The Eight by Katherine Neville, an enjoyably daft conspiracy thriller about a mystical chess set, set mostly in revolutionary 1790s France and 1970s US/Algeria. KN is amusingly determined to shoehorn in absolutely everyone you’ve ever heard of to this barmy tale: various Bachs, Euler, Casanova, Diderot, Boswell, Robespierre, Newton, David (the painter), Wordsworth, the Freemasons/Rosicrucians, Talleyrand, Napoleon, Gadaffi, Catherine the Great, William Blake, Voltaire, Cardinal Richelieu, Marat, Frederick the Great, Rousseau … and many more. Not to mention myths of Ancient Egypt, Crete, Algeria, the Moors, Syria, Turkey and so on. Published in 1988, it’s a sort of mix of The Da Vinci Code, Tomb Raider, Mary Gentle’s Ash and Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle (in order of (very!) sharply rising quality). I didn’t believe a word of it 🙂
Admin2 is reading The Waiter by Ajay Chowdhury, a spicy snack of a story about a disgraced detective turned waiter who carries on detecting.

Critter of the Day: Cabbage White

Pieris rapae feeding on our lavender.
Admin1 is reading Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas. Admin2 has been reading The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo, which is like a fiendish logic problem, not helped by its old-fashioned style and Admin2’s ignorance of aristocratic Japanese culture in the 1930s.

Epic Street Chalk Day

Well that’s how it was billed, but nearly all the chalk was in one patch (exception for ELMO LOVES YOU next door to us) and Auds and Bobs preferred to draw all over our patio. Admin1 is reading Dark Memories by Liz Mistry, a confusingly overpopulated crime novel set in Bradford which belongs more in the misery-lit genre. Admin2 is reading The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig; a corny Cornish gothic romance overlaid with trendy topical talking points (and impossible to believe that a former advertising strategist dealing with a couple of public-facing characters would not have cleared everything up with an internet search). Yesterday was our warmest day this year: 30.7°C.
We scored 11.5 on the GWQ.

Lighten Our Darkness

A bright blue band low in the sky. Probably the last noctilucents of the season.
Meanwhile, earlier tonight Admin1 looked up at the sky and saw a glorious golden fireball trailing sparks. Make a wish, everybody.
Also on display, by a lucky coincidence, was the International Space Station. Try Heavens Above if you’re interested in spotting the ISS (also excellent for many other events of astronomical interest).
Admin2 is reading Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas,an early Adamsberg book in which we meet many characters in the subsequent novels, and in which Paris is threatened by Vargas’ research subject, bubonic plague. Admin1 is reading, very appropriately, Masked Prey by John Sandford.

Critter of the Day: Cinnabar moth

Hello, pretty patterned fly-by-day moth. We look forward to golden eggs and stripy caterpillars on the ragweed. Oh, and hello Fiona too. Long time since we’ve had a house guest.
Last month was the third sunniest June on our records: 252.4kWh.
Admin1 is reading The Royal Secret by Andrew Taylor. Admin2 is reading Smoke Screen by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger.

Batting for Africa

One of the questions in yesterday’s Guardian quiz prompted a family discussion about the Kasanka National Park in Zambia and its enormous colony of bats. Admins 1 and 2 paid a visit there in 2010, which involved getting up in the middle of the night, trekking through a swampy jungle with some armed guards and climbing rickety wooden towers to view the bats flying around. It was spectacular. Here’s another shot we took:
Anyway, in a weird coincidence the Park turned up in today’s Guardian. Apparently some company wants to open a huge commercial farm which would have a catastrophic effect on the wildlife. The paper also has a nice photo essay on the Park’s bats.
Admin1 is reading The Special Dead by Lin Anderson. Admin2 is rereading The Second Sleep by Robert Harris.

Saturday Lager

Beers and a delicious veggie supper at a new pub table in the evning sunshine. Thx Gez and Dave, and props for scoring 13 on the GWQ.
Admin1 is reading The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman — readable, but amusing rather than funny and somewhat twee. Admin2 is reading This Night’s Foul Work by Fred Vargas, which was marvellously convoluted.

Crescent Sun

Today’s solar eclipse, partial from the UK and annular in parts of Canada/US. We were lucky with the weather — totally overcast at 9am but it cleared up somewhat in time for maximum eclipse at about 11am, giving us some atmospheric shots through the cloud cover, which then rolled in completely.
Admin1 is reading A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee, and Admin2 is reading, rather aptly, Black Sun by Owen Matthews; a KGB agent investigates a suspicious death in the run-up to the real-life biggest nuclear test ever.

Red Sky @ Night

A fine sunset following our excellent Chinese family banquet during which we scored 12.66666 on the GWQ.
Admin1 is reading Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee. Admin2, who is really enjoying these Indian historical crime novels, is now reading A Necessary Evil by the same author; so far she has read the series in reverse order.
We are watching Unforgotten series 4.


It’s beginning to feel a bit like summer: 24.6 °C. May was thunderplumping, pothering and stoating, and most probably our wettest ever May: 144.3 mm, and definitely the cloudiest: 202.626kWh. It was also colder on average than April.
Admin1 is reading Fall from Grace by Tim Weaver. Admin2 is reading Ruin Beach by Kate Rhodes. We are watching Line of Duty series 6.

Weather of the Day: Rain

Another wet day; the nineteenth so far this month. We’ve counted more mm than kWh.
Admin1 is reading Death in the East by Abir Mukherjee, an interesting historical crime novel set in early 20th century London’s East End and Assam, India. Some anachronistic language, but good on the entrenched racism of the times. Starts with a weird annual mass suicide of birds in Jatinga, which is apparently real.
Admin2 is reading Cruel Acts by Jane Casey.
Happy birthday Dave!