Friday, 28 October 2011

Weather Data

While I'm not at the Parsonage the console in the Museum continues to collect the data transmitted from the weather station outside and i then download it all onto my netbook when i visit.
I was nervous the first time - wondering if the datalogger was actually collecting and storing the data or whether I'd got it wrong and nothing was being stored and all information was lost.

But, to my relief it all worked like a dream. And i now have the first two weeks of weather data to look through.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Bronte Parsonage Museum Library

I met with Ann Dinsdale (Collections Manager at the Bronte Parsonage Museum) this week. We met in the library in the museum - a wonderful room with cases full of books and documents - and we chatted about the Brontes and where I might start to investigate their writings on the weather. 

She mentioned that letters from Charlotte Bronte to Ellen Nussey would probably reveal many references to the weather - so I've come away with a copy of Selected Letters by Charlotte Bronte - edited by Margaret Smith and published by Oxford University Press - as a starting point.* I can then see if the Museum holds the original letters and arrange to view them. 

*There were many letters written by Charlotte Bronte: Margaret Smith has edited a massive three volume The Letters of Charlotte Bronte - which the museum has copies of, but as they are so big and I'm not allowed to take them off site, I'm happy to start with the Selected Letters.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Weather Collectors

I was at the Parsonage Museum last week to meet the local weather collectors who have kindly volunteered to gather weather data every day for the next year.

We had tea and cake in the chapel opposite the Parsonage and I gave out 8 weather kits (not everyone could make it to the meeting so i have another 4 kits to give out over the next few days). Each kit has a digital thermometer and record cards - please see blog entries below too.

We then visited my weather station at the back of the museum. Between us we will gather a range of data - from technical readings to personal observations for each day.

It was a lovely day and it was good to meet everyone involved in the project.

(the image above shows me explaining the technicalities of the weather station through the medium of mime)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Weather Station Installed

We put the weather station up yesterday and it works!

My day started at 5.45 getting up to arrive at the Parsonage Museum before 9am and although the instructions for putting the weather station together mentioned 10 minutes to install it I took until about 10am to figure it out how to get it out of the box and assemble the bits - and it took until after 2pm to get it up and running properly (although that did include a quick trip to the local hardware shop for bits and bobs). It's a beautiful thing with spinning cups to measure the wind speed and an arrow shaped direction indicator, positioned on a galvanised pole and tripod. It is solar powered and transmits the data to a console in the Museum.

In the instruction booklet it said it shouldn't be placed near sources of heat such as chimneys, heaters, air conditioners and exhaust vents and should be at least 30m away from asphalt or concrete roadways. We should avoid putting it near fences or sides of buildings. It should be ideally 1.5m and 2.1m above the ground which should be well drained. It should be away from sprinkler systems and not near bodies of water such as swimming pools or ponds. It shouldn't be under a tree canopy. It can't be anywhere near power cables or you could be in danger of death. It has to be level, plus the console that receives the data has to be within 300m of the weather station...

With all this in mind we've sited it at the back of the Museum and you can see it from one of the windows.

Thanks to Rob for helping install it.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Wuthering Heights

"Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind, blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by the range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun."
Emily Bronte 

I have finished reading Wuthering Heights written by Emily Bronte in 1845 / 46 and published at the end of 1847. I loved the book all over again: i read it in 2008 to inspire me to think of ideas for this residency, but hadn't thought of looking at weather on the first read - so i had to go through it again looking for references to weather.

At the very beginning of the novel it's the weather that forces Mr Lockwood to have to stay at Wuthering Heights kick starting his whole enquiry in to the story surrounding his landlord Heathcliff:
"The business of eating being concluded, and no one uttering a word of sociable conversation, I approached the window to examine the weather.
A sorrowful sight i saw; dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow."

There's plenty more references (as you can see from the image of my copy) and i'm going to spend time writing them out and re-reading them.