Thursday, November 19, 2009

Horizontal Rain

A number of years ago Alan Titchmarsh and the Groundforce team visited RAF Valley where they revamped an officer's garden. Those who remember seeing the TV programme will recall that Alan and his crew spent quite a significant amount of time working in souwesters and oilskins because of the high wind and rain.
I can tell you that today is a day of horizontal rain. Throughout the day we have been receiving varying amounts of rain but blown by strong gale force winds coming from the south west. I visited the manse of our Methodist minister this morning and the car door was almost ripped out of my grasp as I got out. The sound of the wind in the trees there was deafening. I can say that I have never heard wind in trees make so loud a noise.
So Anglesey has been battered by some pretty strong winds. It must be fun for the trainee fast jet pilots taking off in their BAe Hawk trainers over at RAF Valley. I do hope no one has been silly enough to go out climbing in Snowdonia! We often read stories about people who go out on bad days in our mountains but I think the high winds will speak for themselves today.
Part of the island experienced a power cut last night but I don't think the north of the island was affected. Looking at Facebook I note that the high winds are happening inland in the Manchester area too so my family are experiencing this bad weather as well. There are advisory speed limits on the Britannia Bridge as you might expect. Don't be there with a high sided vehicle! You will trap us on the island if it falls over. Actually, we can always use the suspension bridge but the arches are very narrow for buses and lorries.
The best advice is to stay at home wherever possible and avoid being blown over in the gales. Little old ladies are always the most vulnerable to this. When I lived and worked in the Oldham area our Civic Centre tower block created some very awkward winds outside the building. It was not unusual to see a small and slightly built woman measure her length!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bad Weather

It was about seven years ago that we first began house hunting in Anglesey. We had been looking at properties all day and had just viewed the penultimate property. There I was, standing on Mynydd Bodafon, looking out across to the north coast when the rain came. It was not very heavy but the wind whipped it against me. I felt chilled to the bone. I asked the question, "Why do I want to come and live here?"
Shortly afterwards I was standing right on the cliff edge at Church Bay, wasting a little time so we arrived at our next appointment on time. I was wearing a winter coat but I felt very cold indeed - as if I were not wearing a coat. It put me off in my quest to live in Anglesey. However, as my wife pointed out, in this sort of weather I would be indoors normally so the problem was solved.
After we moved here the first winter included a medium snowfall as photos I took at the time show. At no time were the roads impassable. We drove over to Llangefni to change library books. we arrived to find a closed library. Two days later we returned and found the library still closed. When we tried a third time later in the week we asked why the place had been closed. the answer was that the staff couldn't get in because of the snow. Now the snow we experienced had fallen only to the north west of Llangefni and the the other half was free of snow. The roads in the snowy zone had remained usable throughout. So there was no excuse!
Every time there is significant rain the markets are not held. This meant that after a night of heavy rain and strong winds (but not gales) the Llangefni market did not happen. The car parks were almost deserted. Anglesey was hibernating today. After our library visit we drove over to Tesco in Bangor where business was as usual.
My conclusion is that the islanders are soft about weather. With the windy reputation of Anglesey one would expect the islanders to be a hardy breed but not so. It is amazing to me that the island virtually closes down when the weather is bad. In the words of Craig Revell Horwood - "A- ma-zing!"