The new year starts with rain after a rather dry Christmas. But tomorrow, when the builders return, is forecast to be fine, a sunny 8C in the afternoon which is good news as we need to get on with replacing the flat roofs.
Since starting building work I have become a bit obsessive about the weather. On the whole we have been lucky but some of the high winds have have been worrying. I had wondered whether the previous owners, and builders, had enjoyed a walk along the ancient Ridgeway path of southern England before they chose it as the name of their new home.
Perhaps they did. But Ridgeway it is a good topographic name as the place catches all the winds. We are going to keep the name. Years ago Lesley and I walked the Ridgeway from near Tring to Avebury, catching the wind and rain as well as sunshine as we went. It was a memorable tramp through beautiful England.
My growing interest in the weather led to my Christmas present from Lesley: an electronic weather station to supplement the beautiful 19th century wheel barometer she gave me years ago.
Setting up the new weather station has been a pain. We are Mac computer users and knew that the software that came with it was for PCs only. But I also knew there was suitable Mac software. Getting it up and running was harder than I expected. One candidate reminded me of setting up software in the 1980s and another was inadequate for what I wanted to do.
Eventually everything was sorted out thanks to fantastic help I have had from Boisy Pitre, developer of Weather Snoop which works as Mac software should. Great things, it seems, come out of the Cajun country of Louisiana.
Our current home is not really ideal for a weather station. The small courtyard makes the wind direction and speed instruments effectively useless but I know that they are working and reporting to the console in the house. And for the wind direction I can look at the weather vane on the Market Cross in front of the house and for strength the large pine tree behind.
The barometer, temperature and rain gauge all seem to be reporting accurately.
In the long run I am hoping that having interior and exterior temperatures I will be able to evaluate the efficiency of the insulation and ventilation at Ridgeway. As we are aiming to maximise solar gain in the winter it will be interesting to see what happens in summer and whether we need shading.