In the Heat of the Blog

Chris's Blog Archive: August 2018

Permalink entries for Chris's blog from August 2018.

Don't forget - my latest album is available here.


I'm on holiday for a couple of days, so I've been sleeping in. This morning instead of being dragged from my slumbers by the sounds of Radio 3 on the clock radio, I woke up to hear the gentle sound of rain outside. It's the first time it's rained here for more than ten minutes in six or seven weeks, and by the looks of the Met Office's rainfall radar web page it looks like it'll be raining here for a while longer yet. We need the rain; the countryside across Europe this summer has become a crispy yellow brown instead of its normal verdant green, and while archaeologists are literally having a field day thanks to the marks made by ancient earthworks on heavily-stressed crops, it's not been so great for wildlife or agriculture. I haven't seen my family of hedgehogs recently, so I hope they're managing to cope. I've been leaving water out for them. At least things here haven't been as bad as they are in California, where a good proportion of the state is currently on fire.

The weather is changing on a global scale. Back in 1976, our heatwave was an outlier when compared with the rest of the world; this year, things are very different. If you haven't started thinking that the climate situation is cause for alarm yet, you aren't paying enough attention to what's going on. Without immediate and drastic action, the next century is going to be very bad indeed for us. We need intelligent and thoughtful leaders around the world who can focus on global issues and take that action for the good of everyone...

Oh yeah, I forgot.

We're all doomed...


To take my mind off things I have continued to hone my songwriting chops by taking part in Fifty/Ninety again and so far I've written and recorded 21 pieces of music for the challenge since July 4th. That leaves me twenty nine songs to complete by October 1st. I was particularly pleased with the first song I finished yesterday, which was number 20. My G&L S-500 guitar (which I still think of as a Mark 2 Stratocaster) sounded very twangy after I'd put a fresh set of Super Slinkys on it last week; sometimes a fresh set of strings is all the inspiration you need.


I had a visit from the plumber again today. Do you remember how, back in 2016 my hot water tank burst? Well, this week the cold water tank in the loft started to leak. I was very lucky that I was in when it did, rather than at work, because things could have turned out very badly. Instead I was able to take action as soon as I realised that there was a smell of damp upstairs, and apart from an LP-sized damp patch on the ceiling in the back bedroom (which was directly over all my precious recording equipment!) I was able to limit the damage.

But to fix things, I had to turn the water off at the mains and since Tuesday night I haven't had any running water in the house at all. I drained the loft tank into the bath, and I've been using that as my water supply for the last three days. Once again I found myself appreciating the luxury of having access to clean, fresh running water.

And the outcome of the plumber's visit? The tank needs replacing, as it's got a hole in the bottom. The slight logistical hitch is that the sort of tank I have now was added to the house by crane before the roof was put on, and it's too big to fit through the hatch into the loft. So, measurements have been taken, and they've gone off to find a tank that will fit through the hatch. But in the meantime, the cold water feed to the loft has been stopped, which means that I have cold water from the mains again. Ah, the joy of having toilet cisterns that fill up automatically when you flush them. It's just that, once again, I don't have any hot water other than what I heat up on the hob or in the kettle...


Good grief, it's August? Where has this year gone?

A couple of days ago I was wondering whether I should have used this month's blog banner in July, but the temperature is creeping up again despite the fact that today there's actually some cloud cover outside. It's been very muggy today, that sort of heat that saps all your energy. The relative humidity's up around the 60% mark, even though it hasn't rained since the weekend's storms. My front lawn is still a toasted yellow colour, although this has meant that I haven't needed to get the lawnmower out for about six weeks. Maybe it'll rain later.

Once again I'm glad I was working at home this Friday, as my journey home would have taken in a long delay on the A34 thanks to a lorry that was on fire, and heavy traffic on the M4 westbound because it's a Friday afternoon in the school holidays. Travel is pretty grim in such circumstances, even if you have got a decent collection of science podcasts to listen to in the car. My latest favourite - and I have now listened to every episode - is The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry, which has equipped me with a whole new array of impressive and even bewildering facts that I can drop into conversations with erudite glee. Their neurological explanation of the process by which you can rid yourself of an earworm (that irritating song that gets stuck in your head) was downright fascinating.

I'm pretty sure those moustaches are fake, though.