Preparing For Ophelia


(Gwen and Yvonne, divert your eyes when it comes to the culinary coda)

Compared with what has been inflicted on Wales and Ireland by the albeit waning hurricane Ophelia, we have got off lightly.

Chairs lain down

This morning we made our usual preparations for protection from strong winds, notably laying down chairs, pedestals,

Pelargoniums and marigolds

and hanging baskets.

Towards midday a fleeting glimpse of a bright red version of yesterday’s solar discs was seen peering from behind the billowing smoke

Clouds 1Clouds 2Clouds 3Clouds 4Clouds 5Clouds 6Clouds 7Clouds 8Clouds 9

 that was dark slate-coloured clouds. By the time I had gathered up the camera the sun had disappeared. The temperature was so unseasonably warm as to give the impression that there was, indeed, a fire somewhere.

Birds flying against clouds

I suspect that the birds thought they must be having a sleepless night;

Clouds and weeping birch

but the weeping birch still hung unmolested.

By early afternoon the sky had lightened and the sun played upon the garden.


These pansies still brightened

Patio planting

the pots outside the kitchen door.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsias etc

Fuchsias are among the flowers still blooming beside the greenhouse.

Pelargoniums 1Pelargoniums 2Pelargoniums 4

Various pelargoniums,

Pelargoniums 3

including this sweetly scented one;


and begonias still defy the coming of the first frost.


Delicate striped petunias thrive in the Cryptomeria Bed;


and white dahlias in Elizabeth’s Bed.

Rose Just Joey 2

Among the rejuvenated roses are Just Joey,

Rose Aloha


Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia,

Rose Peach Abundance

and, photographed later, when the wind was getting up and making this spray elusive to the lens, Pink Abundance.

Weeping birch in wind 1

The weeping birch was now waving about,

Cordyline Australis

as was the Cordyline Australis.

Weeping birch 2

I wondered how many of these leaves would be in place in the morning.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine liver and bacon, new potatoes, cabbage and mange touts, with which I drank Chateau Bonhomme minervois 2016.








  1. Yes, Derrick. Not too much wind here in Surrey, but weird weather indeed. Morning so very warm. Afternoon the whole sky darkened – just as in your photographs, then a strange yellow sun surrounded in red – and possible to look straight at it. Then a chilly evening. Thanks for your photographic record.

  2. I happy to see Ophelia stayed away from your beautiful garden, Derrick. Our weather has changed dramatically. Yesterday is was humid and in the mid-eighties, and today it’s windy and 66 degrees.

  3. I’m glad you got off with little damage. Surely this is the first time there has ever been a hurricane in the UK. Climate change?

  4. The colour after that Saturnine darkness is most uplifting. What strange weather! I have my heating on today – tomorrow we expect 27 (C) crazy stuff! Just like global politics really 🙂 I wonder if the one mirrors the other – someone ought to do a study 😀

  5. Forewarned is Forearmed – thanks! What weird, weird weather, and such a strange sky. Over here, all we want is some decent rain. The soaking type, not the torrential type that floods everything because the soil is baked so dry it can’t absorb it.

  6. That is a rather romantically named storm. No wonder the weeping birch held back its tears in anticipation of Ophelia’s. The blossoms of your garden appear non too bothered however.

  7. I was hoping your storm Ophelia wouldn’t ruin anything, Derrick.
    I like that the begonias which are usually wilted (around here from 45-50 degree nights) are vibrant in your area. I love peach and cream roses, which you featured beautifully.
    Liver, onions and bacon with potatoes and a salad is something I really like to eat! I know this was delicious cooked by your culinary queen! ?

  8. Heading back in time, so glad I have been enjoying this visit, the brown (nearly sepia toned) sky with weeping willow silhouette was lovely, Derrick.

      1. I hope this didn’t post twice! The place I am sitting in has wifi and seems to be repeating my sending messages. . . If you feel like it, just delete.
        I’m waiting to have my car oil changed. Just ran out of my workplace a few minutes ago! ?

  9. The weather patterns everywhere seem to be off lately. The sky over there looks pretty ominous. Smoke from fires here has mostly been washed away with the autumn rains. We had a beautiful sunny day in the 70s here today, marred briefly by someone brush pile burning in the area.

  10. How fortunate that Ophelia skipped over your homestead and perhaps took Hamlet’s advice and got herself to a nunnery!

    Ha! I love your new banner with a pensive Jackie. 😀

  11. Lovely shots – as always. One does wonder how long south east England is going to bang on about the storm of ’87 – though it was pretty scary, I remember it well. The sun was very strange in the frozen north yesterday – I decided my photo skills couldn’t do it justice, but it did look suitably apocalyptic. We have all got off relatively lightly – apart from those poor souls in Ireland.

  12. I was woken early in the morning back in ’87 and travelled down from Peterborough to Romney Marsh to rescue chickens from a collapsed shed. The massive commercial greenhouse next to the poultry house was untouched. It was a strange day.

  13. My husband when asked what he thought was going on with the sky said ‘simple … a question of Earth Wind and Fire … Ophelia gathers sand from the Sahara and fans the flames in Portugal whilst taking hot ash with her – result …. people on FaceBook and in the gutter press announce it is aliens or Armageddon.’ Very relieved that you got off lightly … it would be tragic to see damage in your garden.

  14. What a season for fire and water! It would be wise for we humans to heed the warning. In the meantime, too many of our politicians fiddle…

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