Do you remember the lyric "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain" from the musical My Fair Lady? Last week the rain refused to stay in the plain. The torrential rain and fierce storms that caused flash floods and brought everything to a standstill in the UK was blamed on the weather phenomenon called the Spanish plume. As the name suggested, it was a plume of very warm air that pushed north from the Spanish plateau and arrived here on a southerly airflow. There was a cold front coming in from the west which helped to lift the warm mass of air. With lots of energy in the atmosphere, spectacular thunderstorms was inevitable.
Loud roared the dreadful thunder
The rain deluge showers
~Andrew Cherry (1762-1812)~
The Spanish plume was behind three rare ‘super cell’ thunderstorms that swept across the Midlands bringing hailstones the size of golf balls in some areas. Babe had to check the car to make sure that there weren’t any holes on the roof because it had a soft top. Intense downpours and flash floods were also reported. Unfortunately, I missed all these excitements and didn’t get to see anything at all.
My colleagues and I were ‘trapped’ indoors for the bi-annual staff Open Day. We spent the morning listening to presentations about the Spanish Civil War from the Modern Record Centre, results of the Library and Leamington Spa survey, the risky Patron Driven Acquisitions, Information security, Research Match, Article Reach and what to expect from the new Get Started sessions. Then it was a lovely lunch at the newly opened learning space at Coventry House. While having lunch, we also took the opportunity to check out the information boards on ENCORE, QR code and 24-hours opening. I didn’t attend the sessions after lunch because I’d a pile of books that needed doing ASAP.
I was soo looking forward to the picnic and the game of rounders after office hours. But it had to be cancelled because of the atrocious weather aka health and safety malarky. Boo-hoo. We still had a picnic in the Teaching Grid, on the 3rd floor with the bright sun shining through the open windows. I did suggested switching on the huge plasma tv when the Wimbledon tennis was on but nobody took up the offer :-(. I brought spring rolls and a quiche. RC bought 2 huge, delicious salad that her hubby made, SLA and CC bought desserts. A very strange place for a picnic but it was fun.
This week was also the Warwick Students Art Festival, a celebration of the artistic diversity of the university’s students. It was for a good cause because the partner charity was Arty Folks, a Coventry-based charity that ran an art group for people recovering from mental ill health and stress. My colleagues and I went to check out the Folk Ceilidh at the Piazza after work. It was a very nice surprise to see the Piazza packed and buzzing. A pity not many people, including moi, joined in the Ceilidh. It was a bit too energetic for me but CC and JD had a great time on the dance floor. SLA and moi just soaked up the party atmosphere.
I ended the week with another meet-up with International Students Working Group. We welcomed 2 Erasmus librarians from Italy and Germany who were observing our meeting and we had a very interesting exchange of information. We discussed how international students were supported by the Bonn University Library, comparing to ours. Then, a short meeting to confirm the schedule for the phase 1 pre-sessional library tours in a fortnight’s time.
We started the weekend by taking a trip to Bradgate Park to check if any of the birds had fledged. As usual, we made a pit stop at Groby Pool but nobody’s home. Bradgate Park was like a mud-bath especially the grounds along the River Lin that flowed through the middle of the park. But nothing could stop us when we heard the very familiar whistle, “whee-hoo” of our favourite Widgeon. We carefully waded through the mud to meet an old friend. He looked a bit battered because he was moulting but it was still lovely to see him again.
We checked out the nests where we spotted the tree-creepers and Blue tits but it was empty. We hoped they’d fledged safely. A herd of deer was well-camouflaged among the bracken at the usual place. A tree juvenile was seen scuttering up a tree and below it was this huge mushroom. It was much bigger than my palm.
From the Lady Jane’s compound, the shrieking cries from the peacocks were enticing the visitors to come in. The 2 males were being territorial, guarding from opposite ends. We walked towards a herd of pregnant deer feeding at the back of the compound. But we were distracted by this family of Egyptian geese and their adorable 9 ducklings.
We left as soon as we felt the first drop from the sky. As usual, the faster we walked, the heavier it fell. We took shelter under a tree beside a wall. And we were glad that we did because we spotted a pair of Yellowhammer hanging about on the wall. From time to time, they would burst into a very melodious, rattling song.
Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.
On Sunday, we went for an early drive to our favourite playground. More Common Spotted Orchids had sprouted near the entrance. We managed to spot a very battered Bee Orchid beside the dipping pond. One of the regulars told us that several Bee Orchids could be seen near the pit area. We might check them out later.
As we walked towards the hides, huge brackets of fungi were growing on the old tree stumps. They were really enjoying this very humid, warm and wet weather. From Baldwin Hide, Little Ringed Plovers were scampering about on the mudbanks. The Sand-martins were busy whizzing in and out of their sandcastles, bringing food for their chicks.
We only made a pit stop at East Marsh Hide and Carlton Hide. Nobody was home and we made a quick exit home. I wanted to complete my household chores before the big match. It was the EURO football finals between Spain and Italy. I was thinking of either pizza or paella for dinner but we ended having leftovers. OOOps :-) Babe joined in the fun and helped to calm me down. He cheered for Italy and moi, Spain.
And ole!!! Spain reigned in Ukraine. Two goals in the first half set the tone early on and late goals from Torres and Mata with just minutes to spare confirmed the victory. Having won the World Cup in South Africa two years ago and the previous European championships, the win created history. They were clearly the world’s best side. I thoroughly enjoyed the electrifying EURO 2012 final. They out-passed and outclassed their opponents. Well-done.
After all the excitement, I set the alarm clock for 5.45 am. We planned to get up early and do our patriotic bit by cheering the Olympic torch leaving Coventry for Leicester. A few giant banners had been strewn over a few tall buildings in the city centre, London 2012 flags were already fluttering along selected routes, and the Ricoh signage on top of the stadium had been covered and will be known as the City of Coventry stadium. The weirdest, this Blue Ribbon sculpture on the Blue Ribbon roundabout was painted purple. Why???
If the first of July be rainy weather
Twill rain more or less for four weeks together
You have been warned!!!