Posts Tagged storm

Looking up again..you should try it

Hello All,

Just popping on as I found an interesting series of photos in between the subject I finished on last time and that I was going start on next time…my trip to Germany a while back. Now, I’ll say in the very early stages, this may or may not interest you so I won’t take offence if I don’t get any feedback! However, I find this kind of thing very interesting and, in a way, beautiful when it comes to the shapes in the clouds. If it is one thing I’d encourage you all to do, it is to look up once in a while, clouds aren’t all flat and grey.

One afternoon, just wandering around the house minding my own business I expect, the day got a little heavy cloud-wise and the first clue that something was swirling around appeared…

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Now, without being able to point in directions and add annotations (I haven’t worked that out yet) you can see that a shelf of cloud is developing and is moving in from the upper part of the sky from right to left. In the distance, you can see the yellow colour displayed when there is rain in the air too and even a bit of virga. The thing is, when you looked to the left, the same was happening….

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In this image, you can see in the upper part and the lower part there is some compact and elongated mammatus and some distinct curves in the cloud where more is developing. A sure sign that rain is coming! However, seeing one big lump is coming one way and one the other, this is where is got interesting as they met in the middle and created this kind of melee of tumbling clouds at low-level…

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This continued on for quite a while and things got very dark and distinct lines of where the air is pulled in and pushed out became apparent in the form of asperatus-like curves and shapes…

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Sadly, all things come to an end and the lovely show came to messy finish where everything was jumbled up all over. I was hoping for a rain shower, a clap of thunder or maybe I read things entirely wrong!

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Mind you, not being one to give up easily when it comes to clouds (I often wonder what the residents of the houses backing on to the fields where I take my sunset pictures think of me) I saw that following this was a very distinctly shaped cloud which I have looked around for on the webby net. It seems that it ticks all the boxes for part of a flanking line for a storm cloud, so I think I was right! It was a storm close by but not over us..

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In the words or Mr Wikipedia “a flanking line is an area of small clouds that mark an area of widespread updrafts in front of strong thunderstorms. These flanking lines generally occur in the vicinity of supercells or large multicell thunderstorms. The bases of the clouds making the flanking line are merged (like in the picture). The forefront area usually has no rain” (this accounts for the fact there was no rain the whole time.

“These feeder clouds will merge with the main cumulonimbus and will regenerate the storm.” That I can’t vouch for but “the feeder clouds are located at the west or southwest of the main cloud” I can vouch for as the large town that pretty much always has these big rain storms is located in that direction.

Just call me John Kettley.

Well, this concludes an overly scientific and speculative diagnosis of weather in my area of Wales. Next time, we embark upon a road trip to Germany! Thanks for dropping by and sticking with me in this post.

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Kind of a water theme….

Hello All

Back again! Within a month. Well, nearly.

Greetings anyway and thanks for dropping by. It’s a bit of a hotch-potch this post, I went through the pictures I have lodged chronologically and they were all over the place (or rather I was all over the county taking them) but I hope that you find them to your liking. I did think I was going to be able to go on to a water based theme, then this moved to clouds and then to beaches so…woops.

Anyway, how about the weather in Wales then? For those who aren’t fortunate enough to live in this area, it has been humid. Phew. I work in an office that has air conditioning but this is essentially for show, as it broke down in the first year or so of me being there and has never been fixed…we have Japanese tourist buses call in on occasion wondering quite how we retain such ancient cooling systems without spontaneously contracting Legionnaires. However, I’m more of an open window guy but even that hasn’t helped, as wind has been in short supply. However, this are changing, a little fresher and drier to come the weather people say. Mind you, weren’t they the ones who failed to predict the famous 1987 storm?! Anyway, cynicism aside, onwards to the pictures and associated nuggets of information…

Firstly, on the partial water theme and following on from my images of the boats last week, I ventured once again down to Port Lion and was fortunate to see evidence of one of the highest tidal ranges in the UK (upwards of 25 feet in the highest tide). In this instance, just a wet mark was left but, bear in mind that as you continue down the slip, there is usually a considerable stretch of beach to stand on which is underwater, that’s a whole heap of H2O….

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Quite what possessed the owner of the house down at the bottom of the lane to think it was a good idea to build there confuses me, but build they did. Of late, the property has been revamped as well and it has a pretty awesome view but what does he say to his insurance company in the event of a disaster? I imagine the conversation would go something like this….

“So, how did the property flood?”…”Erm, it was a particularly sticky tap when I was running a bath upstairs….for a day…with mud in it”…”So, how do you account for the seaweed?”….”I like Japanese food and was hosting a sushi party?”. Hmm.

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Moving to less ridiculous things and away from my twisted sense of humour, the next images are from one of my favourite beaches, Newgale. This place is packed during the Summer but, if you are a resident you get to see it at the best times, during Winter and Spring when it is quiet and sunny. As well as being a blue flag beach, which is one of the cleanest going, it is very beautiful in pretty much all weathers off season. Some of you may remember that this beach featured in my blog earlier when I posted some images of the ancient forest that had been uncovered by recent storms. In this incarnation though, I need the sand to give the effect I wanted….

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Also, it appears that (unofficially) this beach marks the marks the boundary between English and Welsh-speaking Pembrokeshire, with the next beach north of Newgale being called Pen-y-Cwm. It also made an appearance in a music video (Delerium – Silence)…yes, you can see it here …Pembrokeshire on the tinterweb. Who’d have thought?

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It wasn’t going to be long before I moved onto weather was it? Lenticular clouds. What? Yes, quite a rare occurrence around here, but there was a little rash of them not so long ago, only small, but they were there. Let me explain…..as air flows along the ground, it encounters obstructions like water in a flood would. These are every day objects, such as buildings and bridges, as well as natural features, like hills…in my case, the Preseli Hills. All of theses things disrupt the flow of air into eddies. The strength of the eddies depends on the size of the object and the speed of the wind. It results in turbulence, of a sort. Where stable moist air flows over a hill, a series of waves form. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds. I admit, the ones I saw were not as dramatic as the link….

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Here, you can see that the clouds have degraded into the waves I spoke of earlier…probably due to a change in the wind speed or direction. Not quite as pretty, but it demonstrates the principal.

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In some circles, these clouds are referred to as UFOs (or “visual cover” for UFOs), particularly the round “flying saucer” type in the link pictures, because these clouds have a characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer shape. Also, because lenticular clouds generally do not form over low-lying or flat terrain, many people have never seen one and are not aware clouds with that shape can exist. Bright colours are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds making people think they are other-worldly. However, they can form where a mountain does not exist, usually as the result of shear winds which are, again, not so common.

As an aside, the term flying saucer was created by an early documented sighting of “vehicles” over Mount Rainier by an amateur pilot, Kenneth Arnold. He described flying shapes moving “like a saucer if you skip it across water”. However, I’m sceptical…as per the description above, where are you most likely to see these clouds? Yes. Near mountains. It is quite a regular sight in the area, as per this picture by NASA.

Anyway, I took some further pictures later on of the further degradation and now that the wind had dropped and the moisture had increased, so had the cloud cover and there was a nice blanket of clouds with a slight asperitas feel….

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I love the folds and lines in these types of clouds and you can pick up the shapes of the lenticular clouds in places if you look carefully. Nice. I admit, I should probably have smoothed this image of noise as it was dark, but the PC was protesting at this point, so you’ll have to forgive me!

Well, here endeth the prattle. If you have stayed on this long without just scrolling down the pictures, well done! No, thanks for that, all criticism and requests gladly taken but remember, don’t nick the pictures for your wallpaper! Ask me. I am happy to email full resolution copies upon request. All my details are in the blog, I don’t bite and won’t charge unless you ask me to print one, that’s a whole different kettle of fish…

Thanks again, see you all soon for more Pembrokeshire based picture based nuggets!

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Never underestimate the power of the sea…and a lot of rain

Hello Readers!

I hope that you are all well. December already eh? I hope that we have all been making in-roads to our Christmas present buying? I have asked a few of the guys at work and the consensus seems to be that it is best to go out on Christmas Eve. Whilst, I’m usually quite organised, I am loathed to do any before the month begins with a “D” but I got some last weekend, so there goes that precedent….

Anyway, I arrive to yet another update on WordPress so I am hoping that all the buttons are in roughly the same place and this doesn’t get complicated. Seems straight forward so far.

Before I forget, I must pass on some sad news. The Temposcope didn’t make it 😦 Seems that although quite a few thousand people believed in the gadget, they weren’t rich enough to pull it off and the fund fell short by around $100,000, which is no small margin I will admit. I was quite disappointed as I was promised some feedback by Weathernet as to their involvement but never got any….which reminds me, it’s been awfully quiet regards my winnings. Hmmm.

Anyway, less of my finances and more of the pictures. This week, I find my search landing at a trip I took to Newgale beach at low tide following the storms I wrote about a few post back, hence the title. The first picture tells quite a story showing what angry wave can do to a walkway on a beach…

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Er…might need a few more planks now

Actually, the reeeeal reason of my visit to this beach after the storm was due to the fact that the erosion and backwash (is it called backwash when referred to in a geological manner?) by the waves had revealed a rarely seen treat. A submerged forest. Sweet. I shall try to explain in my very no geological manner as much as possible, starting with this picture, which shows a preserved peat bed..

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The exposed peat layer on Newgale beach….look closely

If you look closer, you can see traces of roots and ferns. Quite a jumble, so I expect that the plants that used to live on top would have been thick and lush. I used Google to look into the type of plants that were here and when and it seems that Newgale peat and the fragments scattered around contain remains of preserved stumps of willow, hazel, oak, pine and birch. The site I found refers to such wood remains as ‘Noah’s Trees’ from an earlier belief, before their true nature was understood, that they were believed to be the result of the biblical flood which gave birth to numerous myths and legends of cities and countries swept away by the sea.

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In the foreground is a fair chunk of wood, exposed to the air after thousands of years

It goes on to explain that as well as wood, the remains of animals have been excavated from the deposits around the tree stumps, including red deer and brown bear from Whitesands and pig from Lydstep, both in Pembrokeshire. How fascinating! The tree stumps are rooted in peat levels lying below the marine sand (see the pictures earlier where they were exposed) and have been preserved by the continuous waterlogged conditions…in fact the council in some instances attended to cover large logs with pebbles to preserve and prevent them drying too much. The sites around the Welsh coast do not represent a single flood, apparently fancy technical dating techniques give dates showing that most sites have trees that died around 3 to 5,000 years ago….

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Some debris was more obviously wood than other bits

Isn’t it mad to that that the stick poking from the sand above could be that old? If you think about it hard enough, it gives you a headache. To reiterate, this is how wet it was. I went into a small cave at the high tide mark and the water was running down the rocks where it is usually dry…

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Could this be described as a weeping rock?!

Once I had got home and it was dark, as we hadn’t had enough, there were more showers appearing over the Preseli Hills in the distance. Apologies for the blue tinge, no sun to give this image any warmth, such is the danger of pictures at night!

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An evening of showers as the sun sets over the Preseli Hills

Well, there we have it once more. Now you can impress your friends and/or co-worker about the effect of an erosive wave action on a submerged forest. Say, “marine sand” or “underlying peat layer” on occasion, you are golden. Instant IQ increase. Have a beard? You’re a scientist. Thank me later.

Thanks for dropping in..come back soon for more of my fave local landmarks and holiday snaps with scintillating explanations or artistic insight. Coming soon is a petrolhead experience to Germany with a long detour via the Eifel National Park.

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Like buses…two posts at once!

Hello again

Well, no excuses from me. I thought that I’d have the opportunity to do a blog come the weekend but seems that I have become rather busy, so here I am again, with a blog which contains a few different bits and bobs in that I thought you may like. I have loads of pictures as I couldn’t choose which to post, so you could call it a bumper crop…excuse the pun.

Against my better nature, I have had to do a teeny bit on manipulation (mainly smoothing oput digital noise) on a few images. Honesty is the best policy but the results were rather good, so I’m hoping that you forgive me for it and congratulate my honesty. Or something. As I type this, about to add the images, I have had a very apt mp3 come on “Shakedown – At Night”…kind of fitting for the first batch of photos that were taken….at night.

Although I can’t remember the exact reason, it appears to be one of those times I just decided to take drive and it ended in Goodwick, next stop Rosslare, Ireland…well, Strumble Head first in a straight line, but that’s splitting hairs. I had the tripod, so thought I’d fiddle with some settings and see what happened….

A full moon and moondog over North Pembrokeshire

A full moon and moondog over North Pembrokeshire

As you can see, a full moon and small town (Old Fishguard) make for some good reflections and, I think it might be, a moondog on the thin cloud just below the moon. Same principle as a sun dog but at night. Nice capture. Further around the coast now, towards north Pembrokeshire and the old Fishguard Harbour…

No need for a flash when there is a full moon to provide all the light you need

No need for a flash when there is a full moon to provide all the light you need

The cloud was coming and going as you can see in the pictures as we had been having some heft showers that days it looks like but the trip was well rewarded in the end by a lunar halo. Check out this bad boy (as with all images, please click on them to see the full resolution versions, these are but large thumbnails)…

A lunar 22 degree halo...portent of bad weather?

A lunar 22 degree halo…portent of bad weather?

The technical term is actually a 22 degree halo but that is a bit of a mouthful. Incoming science!! Those who have stuck with me might have seen the solar (sun) version of this many posts back but both are formed the same way, light is refracted in millions of randomly oriented hexagonal ice crystals hanging way up high. In days of old, moon rings were are said to warn of approaching storms or bad weather. The reason was that, over time, people realised that they appear when the sky is covered by thin cirrus family clouds (like mares tales) that often come a few days before a large weather front. However, the same clouds can also occur entirely randomly, making a halo unreliable as a sign of bad weather.

On to clouds that are just pretty now, for no other reason that I liked the colour, shape and effect the still water in puddles had on the image. This was taken when it was VERY cold, so rather than water, these clouds are more likely ice….

Icy water in the air...icy water on the ground

Icy water in the air…icy water on the ground

Next, a cloud ray shadow, or rather as some in the weather spotting fraternity would call it, a “crown ray”. Reason being, as you can see below, the sun is directly behind a big thick cloud giving a shadow from behind that creates a crown, instead of the light coming through and creating the familiar crepuscular ray (have I lost any of you yet?!). Nice.

A very pretty golden "crown ray"

A very pretty golden “crown ray”

Now, further on in the year, one of those storm clouds that has a mix of clouds in it that creates weird colours, shadows and shapes. I love these. I have stuff like this on my PC as wallpapers as pictures of these kind of clouds make them look different from different angles every way you look at it if you were there in person. I don’t think that much came of this particular bumpy bit but it is a nice example…no prizes for storm chasing on this occasion though…

OK, so it's no masterpiece...but look carefully at the blues, greens and greys, not to mention the rays lighting the top

OK, so it’s no masterpiece…but look carefully at the blues, greens and greys, not to mention the rays lighting the top

Further on, more cold weather and the clouds created above the chimneys in Pembroke and Milford Haven where the refineries are located. No massive science here. As I am sure you are all aware, warm air rising into cold is going cause condensation, that’s what warm air does…same thing applies to aircraft engines, hence condensation trails. If it is nice and clear as well as still, you get a big lump of warm cloud sat there and, on these occasions, the said lump was quite photogenic. The first is taken looking towards Neyland at sunset one day….

A winter sunset over Neyland

A winter sunset over Neyland

The same few a little while later but if you look closely, you can see the separate streaks of condensing warm air as they create the cloud. On this occasion, all four chimneys at the new gas power station were puffing away…

So, it's pollution of sorts, but it is very pretty

So, it’s pollution of sorts, but it is very pretty

And last, but certainly not least is this purpley orange beast I spotted. It looks so alien in the blue sky with the thinner cloud around it, it’s easy to see how that, at a glance, people mistake these for UFOs. However, you’d have to be pretty silly to not realise this is a cloud.

Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a UFO? No, it's a cloud!

Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a UFO? No, it’s a cloud!

Anyway, there we have it. I hope you enjoyed the night shots that I took and that you might take the time to pop a comment on if you did. Maybe you hated them and want me to skip on to my holiday in Germany or something. Go ahead, it’s free, vent your spleen, I shan’t take offence.

Until next time, thanks for dropping by.

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A missed opportunity? Maybe not.

Hello everyone,

Well, winter is well and truly here now and with that, in West Wales at least, it means lots of rain and wind. However, it could be worse. I saw in the news today as well, that the first named storm of the season, Abigail, is heading for the north of Scotland and they are forecasting mountainous seas and swell with pretty gnarly winds. Be some pretty awesome footage coming out of there, I’m sure.

Talking of weather forecasting, I know what you are thinking after looking at my last post and viewing the best weather gadget in the world on Indiegogo (as I’m sure you all did); something along the lines of “Oh no, I missed the chance to back the awesome Temposcope…how remiss of me”.

Fear not! The fund closing date has been extended for a few more weeks, so you can pledge cash to a worthy toy! Go on, you know you want to.

Now the evenings are longer, there will be the time to post a few more images and fiddle with pictures, so expect another post soon, I’m editing as we speak.

Keep this frequency clear! Speak to you soon….

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Further Winter wetness (Part 2)…plus competition news!

News? Indeed!

For those who don’t know…that’s pretty much all of you bar my girlfriend and my Dad, I got an email yesterday informing me that I have, once again, managed to get two pictures included on the Weathernet calendar. So, that’s an image (or two) for 2013, 2014, 2015 and now 2016. Once again, the email arrives just in time as I’m away on hols as of Tuesday so I can send the originals for them this evening.

Pretty good huh? As I’m finishing off the Winter wetness blog, I shan’t post the images on here just yet to break the theme, I shall do it some other time. So, what’s next? My own business?! I doubt it, but it’s nice to think that the images are enjoyed elsewhere. I’ve not been out too much of late, as the last time I went for a walk I managed to overstretch my knee ligaments (again…this is an old injury) so I have been limping around like an old carthorse. Once I have had a proper rest, I shall be on the bike to build that joint back up, I can assure you!

Anyway, on to this load of images from last year of the flooding a bad weather we had in the area…I’ve managed to move away from flooding and include some clouds in this post…love my clouds. Firstly, does anyone remember the BBC news story about the bus being washed off the road in Newgale? If not, you can read about it here to refresh your memory. Below is a set of images from the aftermath….sans bus;

Who would think that down there is a main road and a large campsite...?

Who would think that down there is a main road and a large campsite…?

Still, no bus, but it’s pretty dramatic isn’t it? You can see the power of the wind in the foreground by the amount of rubbish strewn over the undergrowth. Usually, this kind of stuff never sees landfall. In the distance you can see the local pub that had been flooded…again! Quite how they get insurance I will never know……or maybe they don’t.

I then took an image down the road (this is one of the main roads to St Davids, the smallest city in the UK) which shows the road disappearing under the gravel bank and water. To the right is, believe or not, a camping ground. Somehow, this always manages to dry out in time for the holidays. Quite amazing. It’s either that or a very efficient drainage system!

Er...can I borrow your tractor? I need to get along there...

Er…can I borrow your tractor? I need to get along there…

Now, a closer image showing what used to be the road and the camping ground with people walking where cars would usually be passing, probably so they could pop some inane comment on their Faceboobs status like “walking in the middle of the road, lol” or something similar. If you hadn’t gathered, I’m not a fan of that stuff!

A pebble bank that used to be a road!

A pebble bank that used to be a road!

Moving on, quite literally, as this following image was after a drive away from Newgale, Dad and I moved over to Broadhaven, a little further along the coast. Normally the small road to the left in the first picture would lead there but, obviously, that was now impassable for rocks and water. That is not quite the world that a Ford Focus should inhabit!

As we approached, I remember squeaking at Dad to stop as I spotted one of the best formations of mammatus clouds I have seen since we have lived here…

A very impressive outbreak of mammatus over Broadhaven

A very impressive outbreak of mammatus over Broadhaven

The defences at Broadhaven (well, a wall) had meant that the front of the village wasn’t affected as badly as Newgale but there was a good few pounds of sand and gravel around, I can tell you! The local council was actually in the process of cleaning it up as we arrived, so I took another image of that mammatus as it slid inland..

Mmmmore mmmmammatus

Mmmmore mmmmammatus…very nice

Finally, a few days later, the sun and a passing squall came together in a lovely shot as I was out having a walk. A famous photographer (can’t recall who) once said that good pictures are all about fortuitous timing and this pictures demonstrates this quite well. After all, if the sun wasn’t there, would you even have the contrast and colour you have here? I doubt it.

A winter squall and a sunset conspired to make a lovely snap

A winter squall and a sunset conspired to make a lovely snap

There we go, a winters flooding in a dozen pictures or so. A whistle-stop tour you could say. I am sure that there will be more to come and I will be ready to take pictures! Who knows, there could be bigger calendar entries in the future…

Thanks again for dropping in and continued support, much appreciated and like the lady who emailed me from Germany a while back saying she liked a picture I had taken, if you want an image, feel free to ask. I can only say “no”…but I probably won’t, because I’m a thoroughly nice bloke. Go on, try me.

See you soon!

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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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A step back to Summer storminess and some cloud phenomena

Hello All,

Apologies for the break here, the main reason has been that the weather has been pretty good of late so I have usually be out on my bike or wandering getting new material for the blog to file in my archive for later use. The weather has broken after an extended period of good warm sun….typically as the British we moaned as it was too hot about a day into it. Now it’s raining, people are moaning about that. Sigh.

Talking of the photography archive, I have decided that upon a scoot through, I would post some images from the summer storms and rain we had last year as there are a few phenomena to make you aware of.

One day there will be a pub quiz asking about this stuff and you’ll be glad, trust me.

First off, is the first clear occurrence I have seen of a pileus cloud. Usually spotted over mountains and such, this was over a very tall cumulus cloud as the showers sprung up around me. This is also called a “scarf cloud or a “cap cloud” by those who can’t handle a small latin word :p

Mr Wikipedia states that “a pileus found atop a cumulus cloud often foreshadows transformation into a cumulonimbus cloud, as it indicates a strong updraft within the cloud; Pilei clouds indicate that the parent cloud is growing rapidly, has plenty of moisture, and is highly unstable” so I am not making the storms up or over dramatising the weather in these posts. Weather don’t lie!

See? Pileus, here as a cap on the big white sunlit cumulus

See? Pileus, here as a cap on the big white sunlit cumulus

The next couple of images show virga. Arguably, this is linked to the previous phenomena, as these little cells that collapse and evaporate are trying to be big clouds. Bless their hearts! Basically, it is “an observable shaft of precipitation that evaporates before it hits the ground”.

A cloud cell collapsing and turning to virga....

A cloud cell collapsing and turning to virga….

In connection to my previous comment about the small clouds trying to eat their greens and become big boy clouds, I am right as the science bit says “Virga also has a role in seeding storms whereby small particles from one cloud are blown into neighbouring supersaturated air and act as nucleation particles for the next thunderhead cloud to begin forming”…so I wasn’t making it up. However, sadly on this occasion, none of that happened 😦

Smaller virga above my head

Smaller virga above my head

This is where my science head runs out. A rainbow in the middle of a cloud?! Crazy stuff! I think in all honesty it is more virga but the sun was very low and at just the right angle to catch the light through the water droplets here. It was very short-lived but pretty.

The newly named "cloudus-withus-a-rainbow-in it...us"

The newly named “cloudus-withus-a-rainbow-in it…us”

Once all this had cleared came the edge of a front or “whales mouth”. Don’t ask me why it’s called that but again, the colours were pretty striking so a boring cloud was made a little less boring with a little red on it. However, whilst this was happening, behind me the sky was completely different!

The "whales mouth" of a front coming towards where I was standing with the setting sun turning it a nice colour

The “whale’s mouth” of a front coming towards where I was standing with the setting sun turning it a nice colour

Confused? I was, as this sky and the two or three clouds that made it up were worlds apart from the type I had just been looking at. Remember, as per the usual posts I make on here, this is all in (roughly) the same place on the same day. How things change!

Thin, high and wispy clouds to the west very different to what was approaching the other way

Thin, high and wispy clouds to the west very different to what was approaching the other way

I’m sorry for all the cloud pictures. I should really branch out into other areas, but I looove weather. Alas there are a few more files of this ilk (sky phenomena) to come but then I am going to educate all of you on Belgium as I will be entering the folder containing last years holiday snaps. Don’t sneer, Belgium may be deemed boring and they do put mayonnaise  on their chips (which is just weird) but the place is oozing culture and history, you’ll see!

Thanks for dropping in and I appreciate the comments sent to me of late. Please keep them coming. All the best until next time.

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Summer storminess and a Preseli wander (Part 1)

Hello again!

You know that promise I made at the end of the last blog. Hmmm….well, I am kind of sticking to it but stretching things a little as there were some good images of “explosive” cumulus clouds at the end of Summer and there were some nice colourful images one evening that I just had to share! sorry about that…but, stick with it.

I have more of the Preseli Hills to share in Part 2 of this post…I couldn’t cram everything I wanted to into just one post.

Anyway, before we continue, a little shout out to the poor disillusioned soul who parked in Haverfordwest today where I work and decided that, upon receipt of a parking ticket for not paying, they’d put it on my car instead. I can only imagine that this is because their outlook on life is that of an ostrich. If they had an ounce of sense, they would know that not only are the details of the vehicle recorded inside a sealed bag (I don’t drive a black BMW) but also that ignoring stuff like this just makes it worse as in a while, the owner will be found (they record the tax number and such) and pay many times more than the original fine due to costs of bailiffs etc. What is wrong with people?!  Well, wherever you are, Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs BMW driver with loose moral fibre, spend the money you think you saved by dishonestly trying to palm your ticket off onto me wisely and quickly, it’ll cost you more soon!!

Rant over and on to the pictures….my favourite part. Firstly, a collection of layered clouds I can’t quite find the name for. To me they look like flattened Asperatus but I am sure this is wrong. Shame the sun wasn’t shining on them to pick up the details a little more.

Flattened Asperatus...long Lenticular clouds? Who knows!

Flattened Asperatus…long Lenticular clouds? Who knows!

Onto the most impressive and most quickly formed clouds I have seen of an evening in a summer here. During the day, they were scattered showers all over but as the day came to an end, little puffs of Cumulus started appearing all over so I nipped off on my bicycle to catch the best angle I could. In the first instance, a shot from the house…..

I spy with my little eye a big Cumulus cloud

I spy with my little eye a big Cumulus cloud

After this and in the opposite direction (the previous image was towards the east), there was some very colourful wisps building in height over the refinery. I stuck around in this field for some time as I could see that there would be some nice colours from these….

Quite how many different types of cloud are in here I'm unsure but it was lovely to behold

Quite how many different types of cloud are in here I’m unsure but it was lovely to behold

Back towards the east, another big puffy Cumulus. Lovely. I know, I know, this is nothing compared to the storm chasing you may see across Nebraska and Kansas on the TV but for here, it’s pretty impressive…especially since when I arrived a short while earlier there was nothing there! Dare I say that there is a very nice structure to it? Sounds a bit sad doesn’t it. Sorry.

Nice blue sky, Cirrus, Cumulus and crops just outside Rosemarket

Nice blue sky, Cirrus, Cumulus and crops just outside Rosemarket

Alas, these puffs of bubbliness didn’t last too long and didn’t come to much (at least not that I could see as they were too low to see and rain and such) so I moved on to one of my usual haunts where the last light of the day was making for a nice colourful skyscape…

Okay, so it's mainly condensation from the refinery but I'd give it an Honourable Mention

Okay, so it’s mainly condensation from the refinery but I’d give it an Honourable Mention

Well, that is the cloud based images done. I promised some landscapes from the Preseli Hills and here we are. Some time during Summer this year I must go up and experiment with some astrophotography now I have downloaded some instructions on how to do it. My usual method of trial and error was not wielding any decent results at all. Keep you eyes peeled for that stuff anyway and me celebrating a good session. Until then, there are a few nice open landscapes to enjoy….

A summers day in the Preselis. Imagine a picnic here...go on, it's worth a visit!

A Summer’s day in the Preselis. Imagine a picnic here…go on, it’s worth a visit!

Lovely day when I popped up, blue skies, not much wind and the green grass and grey “bluestone” contrasted very well as you can see. Further on in the set, there will be more structured remains that you may enjoy. All this walking distance from the main Cardigan to Haverfordwest road. Which, incidentally is a blast in my car….Officer 🙂

Blue sky...blue stone. Looking towards Cardigan across the Hills

Blue sky…blue stone. Looking towards Cardigan across the Hills

Last image for this part now which shows one of the greatest shames of the Hills. I think so anyway. At the top of the hill on the right, you can see a yellowy scar where once stood a large copse/forest of pine. These have been harvested and boy, do the trucks and trailers make a mess. Such a shame. I realise that this type of product is a cash crop but this area is a National Park; it seems at odds with the rest of the landscape (which is grazed or boggy).

A wider view of the previous image looking towards Cardigan; ignore the scar top right!

A wider view of the previous image looking towards Cardigan; ignore the scar top right!

Anyway, I think I have levelled my opinion way too much in this post so I shall give you all a rest. Next time, I shall show you some of the more interesting wildlife that I encountered in my short wander. No, it’s not a cloud. Cynical lot.

As ever, I much appreciate you dropping in and encourage comments, criticism or random facts about any of the things I have spoken about; I shall pop the other images up in the next week or so. In the meantime, have a good week whatever you are up to. Ta-ra!

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