Thursday, August 11, 2022


I am back home again, happy to be off the plane and unpacked and relaxing on our couch with some coffee. The dog is in the garden sunbathing, as usual. She was very wiggly when I first got home but now I think I'm getting the cold shoulder: "How DARE you leave me here with a total stranger!"

Warren seems to have taken good care of her, as she hasn't noticeably lost weight or any limbs or teeth. He took good care of the garden too, for the most part. Look how big the daturas are in the photo above! They're as big as Olga!

Some things didn't fare as well:

The sunflower and the zinnias look pretty baked. I've watered them and hopefully they'll bounce back. This isn't entirely Warren's fault because that pot is probably rootbound and those plants need watering every day. I haven't closely examined the Russians' plants yet but as far as I can tell from our patio they appear to be alive.

The drought conditions in England have continued unabated during our absence. Here's a photo I took as we were landing at Heathrow. As you can see, the fields and farms are brown as can be. We're due to have temperatures in the 90's (F) through the weekend, and although rain is forecast for the beginning of next week, I'll believe it when I see it. This summer, rain has danced in our forecasts like a shimmering mirage on an asphalt highway, but it never quite arrives.

The picture is a little wonky because I had to lean across my seat-mate, an accountant named Natalie from Dayton, Ohio, to take it. Fortunately she didn't seem to mind. She was quite chatty, for better or worse. Overall, the flight was good -- I almost finished "Coming of Age in Mississippi," an autobiography by Anne Moody about growing up black in the Jim Crow South. Mr. Pudding's daughter Frances kindly sent it to me while clearing out some of her old books from University a couple of years ago, and I'm glad I've finally gotten around to reading it. It's well-written and vividly evokes how terrifying it must have been to live in that place and time under those circumstances. I think I'll add this copy to our school library -- it would be a good resource for high school kids studying the Civil Rights era. Thanks to Mr. P and Frances!

I've put clean sheets on the bed and after I take the dirty ones to the laundromat and do some grocery shopping I should be ready to face the week.


Boud said...

Welcome home! Sorry it's a dry one. That's a true school librarian, passing on an excellent book that's valuable to the students. Is it a school for Americans abroad?

The Padre said...

Olga Girl

Pixie said...

Just catching up. Love the video of the swallowtail. Welcome home and I'm sure Olga will smile once again now that her lovely Steve is home.

Barbara Rogers said...

Good to see you've been welcomed home by Olga, and your flowers. Poor England with this drought!

Bob said...

We always get the love from our animals after we come back from a trip, and then the cold shoulder sets in for a very short time because, unlike human, animals don't hold a grudge!

ellen abbott said...

Rain has been teasing us this week. Two very brief showers that hardly got the ground wet but we had a nice shower last night finally. Glad your flight was uneventful and home is as you left it.

Ms. Moon said...

Glad you're back safely. It always takes awhile to get things back in order after a trip away. The heat and no rain have certainly not helped your situation. But all will be well again.

gz said...

Welcome back!
Friends who were working at Lea Valley Velodrome in Stratford for the Commonwealth games were shocked by the dusty dryness. When they drove to Birmingham for the road events the verges were not green until they had passed Cambridge

Ellen D. said...

Glad you are home safe and sound.
Thanks for the book recommendation. I will be able to get it from my library next time I visit.

NewRobin13 said...

Welcome home! That view of dry and parched England is really a surprise. This has been quite a summer, hasn't it. I'm sure Olga will be so happy once you'v taken her on a walk at the Heath!

The Bug said...

Wow - those brown fields definitely tell the tale! I hope the rain actually materializes for you guys. As you know, we've had more rain than usual here in NC. I wish we could share!

Sharon said...

That photo out the plane window is very telling. My memories of flying into London is seeing nothing but a patchwork of various shades of green. This looks more like the American southwest.
Glad you made it home safely.

Linda Sue said...

"I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”
well, no longer green and pleasant is it? That is shocking, I have always loved flying into heathrow, over the emerald gem, lush, and inviting. What a sad reality.
Glad you are home, though.

Kelly said...

"shimmering mirage on an asphalt highway" What a great analogy! (or would that be a simile?) Rain here seems to come in very isolated pop-up storms. We got 2" last night in less than an hour. I sure hope you get some rain soon, even though the garden is still looking okay. Something about rain is so much better than water from a hose. Sweet Olga.

Sandra said...

I don't think drought and heat when I think of England. Olga is happy you are home with her.

Colette said...

Welcome back!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

So glad to hear you got round to reading that book Steve. I will tell Frances and I know she will be delighted that it is going in your school library. Welcome back to The English Desert.

Red said...

It's always good to get back. Plants are the things that surprise me. They grow a lot in a week.

Allison said...

Glad you are back. I just saw an article headline that the Thames has dried up. Is this true?

Margaret said...

It sounds like the conditions there are mostly positive. The hot weather though, ugh. We're getting more 90s this upcoming week. I'm not a fan.

Steve Reed said...

Boud: It's called an American school and it follows an American curriculum, but we also have British and international students.

Padre: I think she's glad I'm home, despite the cold shoulder!

Pixie: She seems to take comfort from having her routines restored!

Barbara: It's miserable. I'll be so happy to finally get some rain.

Bob: Maybe not long-term, but they do get ornery for a short time!

Ellen: The last few times it's rained here, most of the rain evaporated before it even hit the ground.

Ms Moon: Yes, it's all temporary. That's what I keep telling myself. But of course it's also the new normal in some ways. I guess the question is a matter of severity.

GZ: The Guardian published some satellite photos of the UK that show the country a vivid brown in the Southeast and even in eastern Scotland.

Ellen D: Yes, do! It's a very interesting book!

Robin: It HAS been quite a summer. I don't ever remember it being so dry here.

Bug: The planet is usually pretty good at evenly distributing its resources, but we seem to have fouled up the system!

Sharon: Yeah, exactly. It's usually green as far as the eye can see.

Linda Sue: "Brown and pleasant land" just doesn't have the same ring, does it?

Kelly: We're due to get some thunderstorms like that, but the experts say much of the water will just run off because the ground is so hard. We need slow, soaking rain.

Sandra: It's definitely not typical! This is more like Spain!

Colette: Thank you! :)

YP: Yes, do tell her that I enjoyed it!

Red: They grow a lot and they also show themselves to be quite resilient.

Allison: NO, not completely, at least not in London. The Thames is way too big to dry up. I'm sure it's low and maybe some docks or access points have been closed, and I read that some canals have been closed to navigation. But the Thames is tidal so its water supply is tied to the ocean.

Margaret: It's not too terrible because it's also dry. In Michigan the weather was much more humid and I found it pretty oppressive.

Moving with Mitchell said...

That photo from the sky tells a tragic story. I've never seen England look that brown. Here, we've got enough rain for all of you, I think.

Jeanie said...

I'm catching up with posts, as you can probably tell, so I hope by now that Olga has softened up a bit! That drought you are experiencing is a toughie. As you know, our part of Michigan has been unseasonably cool (Right now it is 68 and I am in jeans, a sweatshirt, a shawl and contemplating gloves!) I'd be happy to take about 15 (F) degrees off your hands!