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Waking up and not hearing the tell-tale sounds of rain from outside, I thought we might have managed to beat the forecast. But when I looked out of and saw the teeming water, I realised my mistake: I'd pulled my bedroom window all the way closed the day before because someone was working outside with their radio on fortissimo and I wanted to shut out the noise.

Slightly disappointed, I pulled on my waterproof and headed out to meet up with the others for the usual Sunday dog walking. We'd planned to meet at nine, but delayed things by a few minutes to allow C to drop J off at the station in time for the London train. Leaving Tiny Flo at home to recover from her upset tummy — she had to content herself with twanging a spring-loaded doorstop! — we headed out with the rest of the canine contingent in search of muddy puddles and fields, which, thanks to the rain were enough for them and they weren't tempted to go swimming in the canal.

After a couple of hours, we ended up where we'd started and split up to go our separate ways: the newlyweds to go to the Double Locks to pick up the things they'd put in storage after their reception on Saturday; C to do some shopping; A to visit a friend; and me to go home, have a shower, and to put all my damp clothes in the laundry basket.

I spent the rest of the day pottering around inside and doing a post of post-production work on some recent photos. I thought about going climbing, but admitted to myself that I couldn't face the idea of going out again — it wasn't so much the rain as the thought of having to put my soggy shoes back on for the walk home from the climbing centre that really discouraged me.

By evening, the rain had stopped and walked down to the Puerto for the quiz. Much to my delight, I discovered that (a) Yorkshire Nick was back as quizmaster; (b) Dasher had come along to make up the numbers; and (c), even more unexpectedly, J was there too — it transpired that her trip to London had gone wrong after her rail replacement bus got caught up in a road accident — providing us with a vast, additional pool of knowledge.

Sadly, we only managed second place this week — some of the rounds were quite tricky — but that's fine: the others well deserved their win and, if nothing else, we were the only ones with a adorable springer on their team...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
After raining all night, it was still raining this morning when I left for the station. Running slightly late, I rushed down to St Davids and arrived very wet but just in time to catch my train. The rain kept up as we headed north-east and the low-lying land around the train was starting to edge under water. It was much better in Bristol and by the time I'd reached the Midlands, the stations had warnings up about wet floors and slip hazards.

Arriving in a lull, I walked the short distance to my sister's without getting too wet, and she gave me a lift in the car. The rest of the afternoon was astonishingly wet — I think the rain band must have followed me — and from the news I learnt of narrow escape: the rail lines to Taunton and Yeovil closed; Bristol Temple Meads temporarily closed due to overcrowding; and minor flooding in Exeter.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Out for dinner with friends, where I had the opportunity to meet their new springer puppy for the first time, I noticed the river levels were even higher than when I'd been running this morning. Fortunately I'd carefully picked a route that avoided any of the flooded bits of pavement and made it their unscathed.

After an extremely nice evening, filled with plenty of cooing over the new arrive and her oh-so-cute ways, I got ready to leave. My hosts offered me a lift, but I declined. I then stepped outside, we all realised how heavily it was raining, and I reconsidered the lift. Although it was dark and hard to tell for sure, it looked as though the river was up again and the pavements on the eastern bank were well and truly submerged.
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As someone who also struggles with an arctic bathroom, I felt a certain rueful familiary with Jenny Davidson's description of some of the problems of having an English flat in winter — although, happily, I can't speak to the difficulties of shaving ones' legs in a cold room!

The bathroom has a funny shower like a sort of plastic telephone booth - the water is hot and fully pressured, so that's the most important thing, but the bathroom itself is huge and drafty and unheated, and it is impossible to shave legs either in the shower (because the water runs down your legs in such a thick curtain when you are bent over vertically) or out (because the goose-pimples from freezingness catch on the razor).

In previous years, when the winters have been particularly biting, I've dealt with this type of problem by going into work extremely early — there is a bus that gets there at around 6:45 — and using the showers there rather than enduring the near-zero temperatures of my bathroom...

sawyl: (A self portrait)
Very, very hot solo run this evening. Despite leaving it as late as possible, the mecury was still in the mid-twenties and it was hard going. When I got home my top was so saturated it took me several minutes to wrestle it over my shoulders and there was a moment when I thought I might end up trapped in a swathe of sweaty spandex.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
The news is finally out: the Met Office are spending 100 million pounds on a new Cray!

ETA: A handful of links:
Best of all, it's also made the Guardian's passnotes.
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I was lucky and managed to get to work in a brief gap between thunderstorms, but others weren't so lucky and arrived looking distinctly bedraggled. Then, in the middle of a conversation about a thorny problem that had kept someone up until three this morning, there was the huge flash of nearby lightning strike followed by an abrupt loss of power to the building. Not exactly the most auspicious start to the day. But the UPS did its job and the power feeds switched to an alternate substation and things gradually started coming back on. Just as well: I'm not sure either of us was up to the chore of a cold restart...
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Caught in a big thunderstorm on the way home from work and I got completely soaked in the 20 seconds it took me to run from the bus stop to my front door. After learning it about LightningMaps from Stuart Heritage's piece in the Guardian earlier this week, I'm currently glued to the web watching the storm do its worst...
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Despite a couple of weeks of terrible storms, today's feels like the worst of the lot: the track seems to be passing directly over us, where as others have tracked further to north. The rain, intermittent until mid-afternoon but now semi-permanent, has been driving and everything seems to be taking a battering from the strong and incredibly gusty winds — I've been out a couple of times to try and move the dustbins to a more sheltered spot, not that it seems to have helped much!
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Didn't even think of running this morning: a quick glance out of the window confirmed strong winds and driving rain. And while the weather may have been appalling here — strong winds and heavy rain — it was nothing compared to poor old Dawlish:

ETA: Riverside valley park well and truly underwater on Thursday morning and sandbags along the eastern side of the river by the Waterfront, while someone I met bouldering on Friday told me the water was lapping the beer gardent at the Mill on the Exe.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Having experienced yesterday's terrible weather and seen the forecast, which promised worse for today, I wasn't looking forward to my morning run. But in the end it wasn't too bad: I managed to avoid the worst of the rain and I don't think it was quite as windy as yesterday.

The only real problem was the little swing bridge where the river and the canal join up. Somehow it had managed to drop below freezing, turning the already wet deck into something resembling a slick ice rink. Fortunately a cyclist, who I now suspect must have found out the hard way, warned me what I was in for and I slowed down in preparation. But not by enough, it transpired: I slid a good part of the way across before hugging on to the rail and saying something like, "Wow. Ok. You were right: it is slippery!"

The forecast for tomorrow looks even worse than today's — heavy rain and winds gusting 50 mph — but at least it doesn't look icy...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Very cold start, with a heavy frost overnight. Traction was very limited while out running and I took things very slowly, coming back with very cold hands as a result. Pater went off for his usual Sunday bike ride, slipping off on a patch of icy road out close to Charlecote Park whilst going very slowly around a group of charity walkers. Fortunately his helmet took the bulk of the impact — even more fortunately while he'd set out without his helmet, he'd remembered its absence before he'd got to the station and come back home for it before join the rest of the riders.

Mater and I chanced the supermarket, which turned out to be far less busy than we'd feared, where we picked up enough bits and pieces to make suppers for the next couple of days. After a quick lunch we went for a walk in the park, dodging large numbers of kids busy trying out their new bikes and scooters on the still intermittently icy paths.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Didn't see too much storm damage on my run this morning: just higher than normal river levels, lots of leaves and small branches all over the place, and one of our bins blown over. In fact the greatest impact I noticed was when I got epically splashed by a car driving too fast through a huge puddle somewhere along Magdalene Road. Delightful.

ETA: It's good to see the model and the supercomputers credited with much of the success of the prediction!
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Despite our plans our plans to meet up and climb, we all separately concluded that it was far too hot and shelved our plans in favour of swimming. Let's hope temperatures are better later in the week...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Via insideHPC, a Washington Post piece on the US National Weather Service's plans to increase their supercomputing capacity. But what I really found interesting was a link to a 2012 blog posting by Cliff Mass criticising the performance of NWS' model when comparied with ECMWF and the Met Office.

Mass' comments remind me of a discussion I had with someone from another met service — not the NWS &mdahs; who was talking earnestly & excitedly about their forthcoming procurement and what a huge difference it was going to make to their supercomputing capacity. The scientist I was with breezily dismissed this, saying "You don't need more computer capacity. It's not going to help because all your models are at least 20 years out of date..." It may have been true, but it left the other completely crushed.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Very cold run this evening, not so much because of the raw temperatures, but rather because of the extremely strong arctic winds. The worst point was coming back up from the river, where I was forced to run both up hill and into the wind — a serious slog. But still: whatever does not kill us makes us stronger. Possibly. Ask me again tomorrow, once my hands have properly defrosted themselves...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Not a terribly good day for wandering around Exeter. The weather was wet and cold and miserable — classic Devonian stuff — with an arctic wind and the promise of worse to come in the next few days. We still managed to have a good time wandering about and after 18 months of good intentions, I finally got round to visiting the climbing gym by the quay — not to actually climb, but more to contemplate the possibility of climbing at a later date.
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Got caught in town in a deluge heavy enough to make Noah feel nostalgic. Deciding to cut my losses and hurry home, I had to wade along pavements that had started to resemble rivers. By the time I got under cover, only five or six minutes after I set out, I was completely and utterly saturated. Sometime tells me that, what with the high winds and driving rain, the switching on of the Christmas lights isn't going to be particularly well attended.
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Today is the 25th anniversary of the Great Storm:

I particularly liked the piece on PM which signed off with the line that missing a forecast once in 25 years is far better than economic forecasters have ever managed...
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The hottest day of the year so far and instead of working from a nice cool office I've been working from home, stuck in a hot living room that's all long chain monomers and hot electronics. My appointment with my consultant — the reason for working from home — went well, although their primary advice was to wait for the full report and have a good think before making any sort of decision. So that's exactly what I'm going to do.


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