Friday, July 27, 2007

I Hate My Memory Foam Mattress

A few weeks ago, we finally bit the bullet and got rid of our much-too-old mattress, replacing it with a brand new 'memory foam' mattress - hyped to the eyeballs, Nasa technology and all that.
If you google 'memory foam' in an effort to research your purchase beforehand you will find lots of positive comments, most of them put there by the manufacturers. In the interests of fairness, I have to report that my husband loves it. He lies very still, and he has arthritis. He thinks it is wonderful. I, on the other hand, toss and turn. And I cannot tell you how much I hate, loathe and detest it. It is like sleeping on warm quicksand. It sucks you in. It moulds itself to your body, right enough, but when you move, or try to turn over (difficult, on this awful stuff) you find residual lumps and bumps in your new position. It is incredibly hot. And it stinks. In fact this disgusting smell was seemingly why Nasa didn't use it on the space shuttle for which it was originally intended. They tell me the stench fades with time, but two weeks have gone by, and in spite of frequent airings, it's still there. Fly tipping is beginning to seem like an attractive option, but hey, this ghastly thing cost a lot of money. This wasn't the cheapo option. If you are considering one of these, try before you buy, and I don't mean a three minute 'test' in the shop. You have been warned.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Have just spent the last fifteen minutes watching an aerial ballet of a dozen or more swallows, catching small insects, above our garden. It was a dazzling display of skill, making the Red Arrows look like rank amateurs. Often you thought they would collide - air misses all over the place - but they didn't. Sometimes it seemed as though they were almost skimming my head, deliberately, and joyfully, just to demonstrate their own extraordinary deftness. Meanwhile, the multitude of sparrows that throng our hedges at this time of year (hedges = sparrow high rises. Too many people grub them up these days. Sad, sad.) could only look on with what seemed like avian envy!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Weather

Everyone up here has been complaining about the wild inaccuracy of our official weather forecasts this year. I know it's a thankless task, predicting the weather in the UK, but this summer there have been complaints on two 'fronts' so to speak!
Firstly, our London centred media keep banging on about the truly awful summer (and it has been and continues to be appalling in parts of the UK) that we have had, as usual lumping the entire country into one sweeping assessment. This can't be doing our Scottish tourist industry much good especially since here, we have had reasonable weather - reasonable for the West of Scotland anyway - our usual mix of sunshine, rather frequent showers, some lovely days, some downpour days, and - with a couple of chilly exceptions - quite a bit of warm weather. Condition normal, in other words. Not a brilliant summer, and absolutely no sign of the drought that was confidently predicted by those same knowledgable media types (what price all those 'plan your drought friendly garden' articles now?) but not the worst I have seen either. And I believe that some of the Scottish isles have had lots of wonderful sunny weather - which never gets reported at all.
The second complaint though has been about a frustrating day to day inaccuracy. You look at the TV weather forecast for the next day, plan accordingly, and then find that - in Scotland at least - none of what has been predicted bears any relation to what happens in reality. Worse, even their real time forecasts can be wrong. I have often watched a television weather forecast, which is confidently telling me that it is pouring with rain outside, while in reality the sun is shining fiercely from a blue sky. Strong winds are forecast and don't arrive. Sometimes too there is a complete discrepancy between the forecasts on different TV channels. On the whole, the trend seems to be to predict much worse weather, here in the Scotland at any rate, than we are actually experiencing on the ground. All of which leads people to wonder if there is some conspiracy afoot to deter tourists from heading north. Which can't possibly be true. But why are they hedging their bets so much?
One more little thought.
The terrible flooding will no doubt be labelled as 'climate change' related. Of course it could have nothing whatsoever to do with greedy developers increasingly building on the flood plains of rivers, and planners allowing them to do it. Could it?