Posts Tagged hail

Returning…with past Winter wetness

Hello!

Firstly, a very big thanks to those who have stuck with this site and have returned on occasion to drop in and view my pages. I very much appreciate. Essentially, I find myself here again after being brow beaten by a certain girlfriend who says I should try to advertise my talent. No, not really but she did persuade me to come back on here after seeing some pictures I took recently in Manchester on a weekend away.

I kind of agree and the blogs I haven’t posted have put me a little behind my usual 12 months behind, so you will excuse the Christmas themed image nearer the end! But it does have a cute animal in it…

Anyway, I shan’t pitter patter on but lunge straight into the meat of the blog. This update and those after it for a few weeks (yes, I plan to continue) consists of some images that I took during the winter of 2013/14 when we had pretty much 6 straight weeks of rain in this area of the world. If you had a leaky shoes, by the time the rain was done, you were wishing you had stilts as it was thoroughly miserable for all…driving, walking, riding, working…everything was a bind.

This first blog is based around some time at the very beginning of this period and has me taking pictures of a couple of my fave things. In this first instance, a lovely jumbly storm coming towards the house….

A forming storm hits its upper limit and starts to spread out, with a touch of mammatus

A forming storm hits its upper limit and starts to spread out, with a touch of mammatus

What do storms make? Rain! Yes, indeed…little did I know there was going to be a ton of it in the next few weeks. But, close to me is the little hamlet of Port Lion (I say hamlet, there are 2 houses…yes, 2) and there’s that lovely stream on there I have featured here before. A quick shower and this gets a significant amount of run off from the local fields so off I trotted…

That oak leaf was there by chance, honest!

That oak leaf was there by chance, honest!

The rain and the time of year had conspired to make things a bit messy but I think that the leaves, sticks and like add to the images quite well. I went for a walk down there recently to show Sarah the local haunts and I shocked to see that over last Winter the high winds here had not treated the wood well and absent minded locals, who didn’t want to take the broken trees away for disposal, had blocked the stream and scattered the who areas with dead foliage. I suspect this site might come off the lists for taking pictures for a bit.

The slow shutter speed and bubbles made a nice white "road" of water here

The slow shutter speed and bubbles made a nice white “road” of water here

The storms kept coming, small ones though. Always they were well highlighted with blue sky or sun and you could see the structures of occasional mammatus clouds or virga in them….

Another squall heads in.....

Another squall heads in…..

This one is a doozy…look at it! If you were even a commercial airliner pilot, one look at this brute is a bit alarming. Never underestimate Mother Nature is the rule. On occasion, these storms chucked a bit of hail at us as well. Nothing anywhere near US standards but it sounded bad enough! In fact one image I took of similar hail was included in the recent Weathernet calendar….

Yikes! Where's that bus shelter again?

Yikes! Where’s that bus shelter again?

Now on to more cute and furry things…Mischief! Yes, he is still mischievous. Here he is guarding the Christmas presents the other year. For some reason, he has a thing about the Christmas tree box (it’s an artificial tree which is partially decorated). This thing involves him spending an inordinate amount of time staking it out as he is too portly to climb it, as well as always climbing on the box to ride up and down the stairs to the cupboard where it is stored. This happens without fail. If he is nearby all you need to is tap the box and he’s there, riding along. Strange animal…

"You shall not pass..."

“You shall not pass…”

Whilst sheltering inside from these sharp showers we were getting that would eventually just become long expanses of persistent rain, there was the occasional glimmer of sunshine that created a lovely natural wonder….

Everyone loves a rainbow

Everyone loves a rainbow

However, around the corner there was always more! Some nice anvils and virga in the distance in this shot I thought. Judging by the position of the sun, this was before I went to work one morning…

A dramatic morning of squalls again, it seems. Where are my boots?

A dramatic morning of squalls again, it seems. Where are my boots?

Well, there we are. My return to the blog writing arena. Maybe as well as my ramblings about the pictures, there might be ramblings in general about politics and current affairs? Probably not…some things are best left in my head!

Thanks for dropping in…keep this frequency clear, more to come.

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A trip to Ghent (Part 2)….and some cool weather abroad!

Hello!

Must have a been a month or so since my last post so I thought I best get off my ample behind and write another post. Took me 5 minutes to get this far as WordPress keep changing buttons all over the place…it’s very annoying but I suspect I shouldn’t complain seeing this is all free and I can speak to my raft of fans (….cue tumbleweed….). Oh, Happy Valentines Day to all by the way. Hugs all round!!

Got the new bike the other week and it’s a flyer I can tell you. Who would have thought that a skinny tyre would make so much difference? So, if you’re around my area, don’t aim for the bike riders, one of them could be me. I’m also spending a bit of time souping up a fish-tank that I liberated from one of my work colleagues; had I known it was going to be so involved, I might not have. However, bits are slowly being cleaned, purchased and such…hopefully it will be filled and chugging away in the next couple of weeks. Bar that, all the news is work based so I shan’t bore you or risk being fired after ranting 🙂

Forward to the images!! As you can see, this is me finishing off the trip to Ghent, and in fact, the trip to Belgium entirely as, after this, we are back to boring old Wales. Not really. I shall try not to make it too boring…throwing in the odd interesting story as ever. Bar that, I could talk politics. Maybe not.

Anyway, here we go. First up are some pictures that I took when I went on the canal tour around Ghent. A lot of time was spent looking up as you can see. Interestingly, I swear that these canals were longer than those in Bruges but maybe it was that the tour was longer, who knows but I found it quite a lot more enjoyable than Bruges. First noticeable image in this set are the tops of some buildings we passed. I believe that the golden ship signifies that the inhabitant was a trader in goods from overseas or even a mater of a trading vessel (the nautical cues back this up). Whether that is real gold or not though is open to argument!

Does the top of a house need to be this fancy? I think not, but I suppose it was the thing back then...

Does the top of a house need to be this fancy? I think not, but I suppose it was the thing back then…

Next, we chugged along one of the longest buildings in Ghent where in days of old, merchants would store their goods. I seem to recall now hat it has gone the way of all old buildings like this, conversion in houses. But what a house you’d have, eh? Apologies for the man in the very bright jumper…the ability to take your time and use the art of composure is somewhat lacking when you have a moving target!

You! Metrosexual in the orange...tone it down!

You! Metrosexual in the orange…tone it down!

Around the corner past the square you got what I believe is the best view of the Gravensteen (mentioned in my last post) in the city. What an imposing building. That it got left to rack and ruin and was going to be used as a factory beggars belief. Should anyone be encouraged to visit this area of Europe after reading my posts, I sincerely recommend the few euros charge to get in.

Yes, it's that castle again (jarring chord)

Yes, it’s that castle again (jarring chord)

Further on, we came to a number of bridge and the canal started getting shallower and narrower by the minute…however, when you had lovely bridges such as this passing over your head, it wasn’t such a bad thing. I recall that this bridge is a recently restored one that makes up part of the University in Ghent.

One of the gates to the University of Ghent

One of the gates to the University of Ghent

All too soon, it was time to make an about turn at a very imposing and handsome gate (you can see, if you look through the bridge, that we could physically go no further as the canal has been dammed) but as we did, I also noticed some very large graffiti on the block of flats behind it…it appears to be someones cynical view of a treehouse if you look closely. Clever? Vandalism? I’m not sure…I find things like that quite appealing, I count myself as a Banksy fan.

Old and modern in one frame

Old and modern in one frame

My parting shot following disembarkation from our little boat and wandering to the train was this image of the archetypal curving and swooping frontages of shops and buildings that Bruges and Ghent are both famous for. Thank goodness for the rebuilding after the First World War.

A typical sweeping street facade

A typical sweeping street facade

Back in Bruges it appeared that interesting weather follows me. or maybe do I see it more than most as I can see what I am looking at better than some? I’m no Carol Kirkwood but as I arrived, it got very dark and then followed a hail storm with a hail core. Yay! I was lucky though, as my window faced in just the right direction, I was high up and the timing was right. Window open, camera at the ready….

The leading edge of the hail storm....

The leading edge of the hail storm….

I looked this up on Google and Wikipedia and it would appear the fact that we got hail was fairly rare, as these hail cores (feel free to do a Google image search, they look just like this) are quite rare at low levels and are usually seen at elevation where the stones are admittedly bigger. You can’t get lower than Belgium and its surrounding countries! However, the weather has been getting weirder of late, so anything is possible..

...you can now see the curve of the core and the rain and hail falling....

…you can now see the curve of the core and the rain and hail falling….

Just at the side, so no big hail. Damn. It was so dark, I expected lightning too. The pictures have been lightened slightly to bring out a bit of colour in the surrounding features…

...a little further on and the hail's still coming down....

…a little further on and the hail’s still coming down….

Then, just like that, it was all gone and we were left with a muddled sky, presumably all the turbulent stuff left behind by the wind.

...then, the turbulent skies to finish.

…then, the turbulent skies to finish.

Well, there we have it, a big finish for the last day of my Belgian exploration! Lovely place, very nice people, lovely food (all very reasonable if you stay away from the centre of the city), lots of beers, waffles and chocolate. What is there not to like? I should expect that I will go back, I found the place quite charming and educational. I hope you enjoyed the tours!

See you next time for some domestic scenery and weather, thanks for dropping in and enjoy the remainder of Valentines Day.

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