#UKHeatwave London Wildlife needs Water too

If you live in an area which doesn’t have much fresh water around, particularly in urban cities, try and put out fresh water for the wildlife such as the birds and foxes. Fill it up in the evening too.

When it is very dry and hot, a lot of our wildlife find it hard to find water.

Put some waterbowls outside for them, and if you can make a mini pond for the them, even better. The butterflies will also appreciate a bit of fruit.

UPDATE: I have had dunnocks, magpies and pigeons drinking from my waterbowl.


London: Thunderstorm – 30 Safety Tips #ukstorm

In London, we are just about to have a big thunderstorm. We are on Amber Alert and I thought I would put out some safety tips for you.

Some of these were things we did in my own family when there was a thunderstorm, and some of these I found out from other useful weather sites.

1. Mirrors – Cover them

2. Don’t use the phone with a cable. I forgot to remove the phone plug once and my answerphone was damaged and I had a crackly line. I managed to sort out the crackly line from BT though.

3. Unplug non-essential appliances to avoid a power surge and shock.

4. Don’t use a mobile phone outside

5. Avoid windows and doors. Lightning can go through glass and cracks in doors. I have also seen, horizontal lightning, when I was on the farm in Kent.

6. Stay inside, or stay in a car

7. The Met Office advises to avoid using showers, taps, sinks and baths and don’t put laundry in the washing machine.

8. Keep the dog calm, preferably with you. I also used to pull the curtains. For extreme cases, please see your vet, there are safe and effective medications to help with loud noise phobias. Dogs left out in large, open fenced area may have little protection from lightning strike. Shelter in a dog house or under a tree would present greater risk.

9. I made sure I had two ‘escape routes’ in the house, just in case. I tended to stay downstairs in a thunderstorm.

10. Charge your laptop etc beforehand. You can also warn others on social media beforehand.

11. Keep spare batteries for the radio and watch the clouds.

12. Avoid contact with plumbing

13. Avoid electrical appliances with cords. Switch them off.

14. Avoid driving in a thunderstorm, as you could get blinded by lightning and cause a crash and a fatality. Lightning, which can strike as far as 10 miles from an area of rainfall. Make sure windows in the car are shut.

15. Avoid riding on anything metal during a severe thunderstorm with close lightning, such as a bicycle or motorbike. I knew someone who was struck twice, yes, twice, on a bicycle in the UK. And avoid riding horses, who will be scared.

16. Use a suitable weather site showing you where the lightning is such as

http://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#y=52.2137;x=1.5514;z=7;t=3;m=sat;r=0;s=0;o=0;b=0.00;n=0;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;ra=1; or you can calculate where the lightning is ie count the seconds between the flash and the thunder and divide by 5. Lightning can strike 5-10 miles ahead of the storm, so if the lightening flash and thunder is 30 seconds or less, it means the lightening is about 5 miles away. Be sure to seek shelter! 

17. Stay away from trees and open spaces

18. Avoid fishing (one man in the US was struck using a metal rod when he was fishing six times).

19. Avoid water. Boaters and swimmers should get to shore as quickly as possible, as water conducts electricity. Avoid washing the dishes.

20. If you’re with a group of people stay about 15 feet from each other, if you are outside. One of my colleagues was in South Africa, in a school playground and lightning struck them. I think some school kids died. She was about 10 at the time.

21 Don’t stand in puddles

22. Stay away from clotheslines, fences, and drop your backpacks because they often have metal on them.

23. If you see or hear a thunderstorm coming or your hair stands on end and your skin tingles, go inside immediately!

24. Avoid using metal tools and sports equipment, like tennis racquets. (This is going to be interesting, as it is Wimbledon this week).

25. Make sure your house insurance is up-to-date

26. If thunderstorms are forecast, postpone or cancel outdoor activities

27. Do not put up an umbrella during a thunderstorm, even if other people are doing it.

28. Avoid poles

29. If you are outside, choose a low spot and crouch.

30. Be wary of venturing out too soon – the BBC Weather Centre advises waiting thirty minutes after the last flash


” Call for help as they’ll need urgent medical attention. It’s safe to touch them – people struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people.
Check for a pulse and for breathing – if you know first aid, begin artificial respiration and CPR if necessary. If they’re breathing, check for other possible injuries. Lightning strike victims have burns in two places – where the electric shock entered and then left the body, usually the soles of the feet. They may have broken bones or loss of hearing or sight.”

England: “Because it’s Tradition”, we do weird & stupid things.


I always find that State Opening of Parliament fills me with nausea. We have this cringeworthy spectacle for an unelected woman to make a speech in Parliament, a supposed democratic institution. (hello?) Is it just me to thinks this is weird?. The mass media never talk about this. It is like the elephant in the room.

Then I also get annoyed that the soldiers in their bearskin hats are outside Parliament in a 32C heatwave, and are not being allowed to take them off ‘because of tradition’. It is just ‘not good form’ to do that. So soldiers are expected to faint instead. What kind of culture are we in? The class system is plain stupid. What kind of army leaders do we have? What, a ‘real soldier’ doesn’t take his bearskin off? The Queen didn’t seem bothered at all that they were very uncomfortable. Well, she is of a different generation. After all these years, they still make soldiers keep them on. Why don’t soldiers stand up to this nonsense – they are probably court martialled if they do, or bullied.

Even 91-year-olds like the Queen should not be out in a heatwave, on the ‘hottest day of the year’ and the NHS encourages us all to ‘check on their neighbours’ and to keep out of the sun from 11-3pm. Haven’t we forgotten that we are human? In countries like Spain, they have siestas for times like this, but no, we English go ‘out in the Midday Sun’ as the song says. And a lot of the time, we don’t even wear hats either to protect us from the high UV levels, which again, the Government warns us out. Some Brits have second degree burns because they don’t even use any sun protection, unlike people in other hot countries.

What about the emergency services who are inundated with people ignoring Government public health heatwave advice? Why don’t public health warnings apply supposed old people like the Queen? Why couldn’t the Queen just get Prince Charles do her job, at least she wouldn’t be out in the heat getting roasted? No, the Queen has to be out in a heatwave at 91 years old, ‘because it is tradition’, and even then, she’s stubborn enough to be out there during this time because ‘she wants to’.

I understand that the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, has been taken to hospital yet the Queen would appear to be at the State Opening of Parliament, instead of being with him during the day. And, after that, she even went to Ascot in the heatwave. All because she cannot upset ‘tradition’.

Horses should not be racing on the hottest day of the year either, and she is supposed to be a horsewoman. Horse.com advise “Know your horse and signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke can happen anytime your horse is exposed to excessive heat that his body cannot handle. Heatstroke can happen if exercising in hot conditions, but be aware that it can also happen if standing in a hot stall or trailer.” I am at a stables, we keep our horses cool, and none of them have even been out riding in the heat today. The racing industry can be appalling and greedy. The Queen should not be encouraging racing in this weather too. Why not have race times only in the cooler part of the day, or would that ‘not be tradition’? I would rather ‘blow tradition’ than have a sick horse to attend to. I don’t hear anything from the vets at Ascot, maybe they are gagged or are ‘enablers’ of the greedy racing industry in a heatwave, after all, they get a free day out at Ascot.

There comes a point in life that doing the ‘right thing’ is taking the time off work for family reasons, health reasons and animal welfare, this is more important than ‘being on show’. Some traditions are plain stupid, and even more so, in a heatwave. Being a younger generation than most of the old fogies who carry on making these stupid rules, I make my own stamp, by standing up to it and questioning it.

Some people who do ‘challenge things’, actually comes from kids. Recently a academy school banned kids from wearing shorts during a heatweave, so the boys wore skirts as a form of protest and got lots of media coverage. Why can’t boiling soldiers all together, in a band of brothers’. and make a stand, why can’t horse grooms make a stand for their horses? Even the journalists are made to wear suits in a heatwave, ‘for show’, which is ridiculous too. Sometimes were Brits are a bunch of wimps and won’t say boo to a goose!

We have to question our culture, but adults never seem to learn, and that’s a tradition too!

++ Note I am typing this in a library, keeping cool with fans.

Planes flying to Gatwick during Storm Katie



PHOTO: ‘Aftermath of Storm Katie’. Think I was one of the lucky ones, just a few flowerpots knocked over, a couple of garden chairs and a fence. No trampolines landed in my garden, even though my neighbour has one.

I was up much of the night with fellow Storm Watchers  online whilst the weather was howling around me – I couldn’t get to sleep until two in the morning.

I was also following Flightradar, the online fighttracker, and watching the planes hovering round Gatwick trying to land. They were then being diverted to other airports because they were unable to.

Now, what gets me, is that ordinary members of the public get weather warnings and Government officials tell them not travel but this  did not seem to get through to commercial airlines such as Easyjet.  I could hear their planes going  overhead, right during the height of the winds, just when the Met Office advised us exactly when  they were going to happen. There were also reports of low visability. It really snacks of profits over safety.

When I went up in a small plane in Biggin Hill a few years ago, the pilot was very conscious of the fact that we would only fly when the conditions were right. Of course, commercial planes can be a bit different, but, even so, putting passengers’ lives at risk in a massive storm is ludicrous and irresponsible.

Nowadays, planes bearly have enough fuel to even get to the airport, and it is a wonder how some even managed to get as far as Manchester. Passengers were praising the pilot for ‘landing successfully’ in some cases, but what if it all went wrong? This is one reasons I don’t like flying anymore. I don’t always feel pilots make the correct decision and I wonder what their insurance companies would  have said. I expect they were also pressurised by their profit grabbing superiors, and others in the industry. This type of stuff also raises concerns for those who may be under their flightpath, should a Gatwick extension go ahead.