Ups and downs in the weather… a few local observations during lockdown …

Heavy rain, storms, floods, howling winds, followed by snow and ice, brilliant sunshine, extremes of temperature … small tornadoes have also been reported in different parts of the country. Climate change can’t be ignored any more.

Mimosa, which comes out in February, soaked in a heavy downpour …

Below are a few recent local photos of the Thames and Barnes Pond, showing the changeable moods in the weather. I’m aware that these influence my own moods too!

I’m a member of ‘The Cloud Appreciation Society’, set up some years ago by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. I’m letting you know just in case you think there are too many cloud panoramas here …

Cloud panorama over the Thames – January 2021
The Thames at Barnes towards sunset – January 2021
Sunset over the Thames at Barnes Bridge – January 2021

During lockdown we may only walk for exercise close to home. As well as walks along the river towpath, enjoying a fresh sea scented breeze in our faces, we are also getting to know a few of our neighbours’ front gardens more intimately, as we ply our course along quiet, residential streets.

Some front gardens still have shrubs and flowers but many of the larger ones have been paved over to house massive SUVs. This could save the price of parking permits but doesn’t save the environment. Maybe if you do this, you should also have ‘bee friendly’ pots of flowers and shrubs surrounding your charabanc.

Concrete is bad because producing it creates an enormous amount of carbon dioxide. Also, rainwater should be able to sink into the earth. Paradoxically, the more front gardens are paved over, the greater the risk of flooding.

Eye catching sunset clouds above Glebe Road, Barnes

Barnes Pond (‘rus in urbe’), makes for a green and pleasant, (socially distanced), rendezvous for grown ups, who sit and chat/read/phone on the surrounding wooden benches, which, in turn, are dedicated to various Barnes residents no longer with us.

Children whizz up and down on scooters and babies in their prams with mothers and nannies are drawn to the water’s edge – ten Egyptian goslings being the latest excitement.

If you go in the rain you are lucky enough to get it all to yourself …

A miserable, rainy day at Barnes Pond – February 2021
A dusting of snow – Barnes Pond – February 2021
Seagulls flying over Barnes Pond – February 2021
Ice covering Barnes Pond – February 2021

And then there was a fanfare of sunshine and blue skies …

Blue ice on Barnes Pond – in full sun – February 2021
Barnes Pond – pigeons wondering why they can walk on water February 2021

These are the days when being out and about beckons – but I also like walking, even trudging, in the rain – as long as I know the sun will return, and that home isn’t too far away. We are lucky to have seasons in the year.

Looking through a bookshelf the other day I came upon a book entitled ‘Since Records Began’ – the highs and lows of Britain’s weather, by Paul Simons. It was the first book to bring together all the extreme weather events in the U.K. since records began – something to dip into while in your warm and comfortable bed, when last week in Scotland -20C was noted, close on the heels of this week, which is reaching 14C or more in the south of the country. What other extremes are in store for us this year, I wonder?

An interesting record, full of fascinating facts
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