Thursday, 29 December 2011

Jane Eyre II

"I sought the orchard, driven to its shelter by the wind, which all day had blown strong and full from the south, without, however, bringing a speck of rain. Instead of subsiding as night drew on, it seemed to augment its rush and deepen its roar: the trees blew steadfastly one way, never writhing round, and scarcely tossing back their boughs once in an hour: so continuous was the strain bending their branchy heads northward - the clouds drifted from pole to pole, fast following, mass on mass: no glimpse of the blue sky had been visible that July day.

It was not without a certain wild pleasure I ran before the wind, delivering my trouble of mind to the measureless air-torrent thundering through space."

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
(first published in 1847)

I've finished reading Jane Eyre (again) and found lots of beautiful references to the weather throughout the book. I enjoyed it more than the first time i read it - maybe looking for weather descriptions helped. I'm going to write them all out and then see if i can match any days (roughly) with any of the days i'm recording throughout this year with the weather station sited at the Bronte Parsonage Museum... we'll see.

Since finishing the book i've started and am half way through The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. It's a delightful book and pretty funny too - get a copy if you can and try to learn your clouds.

By the way, under no circumstances is anyone allowed to comment on the state of my desk in the background of the image above. It's a work in progress and i know where everything is.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Anne Bronte's letters

"Charlotte is well, and mediates writing to you. Happily for all parties the east wind no longer prevails - during its continuance she complained of its influence as usual. I too suffered from it, in some degree, as i always do, more or less; but this time, it brought me no reinforcement of colds and coughs which is what I dread the most. Emily considers it a dry uninteresting wind, but it does not affect her nervous system."

Letter from Anne Bronte to Ellen Nussey, October 4th 1847

I was at the Bronte Parsonage Museum library again yesterday to look at the original letters that i've found have references to the weather in. To see one written by Anne Bronte was a treat - and as you can see from the images she crossed each of the two pages with her writing to make the most of the paper's small size. It creates a beautiful squared pattern, but it's incredibly difficult to read too.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Haworth Primary School

I'm delighted that as well as the individuals who are collecting weather descriptions for me daily, the local primary school in Haworth have also joined the project and are doing daily weather records too. They have won lots of awards for their vegetable plots at the school, so it might be interesting to see how the weather can effect the crops in the coming year.

Here is the school blog:

It's snowing here in Preston today, by the way.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Temperature Max Min

The weather station that is sited at the Bronte Parsonage Museum collects masses of data every half hour for me for the next year. But, i also wanted to be able to collect personal comments and notes on the weather around Haworth. To do this I recruited 10 volunteers that were given a small kit comprising a thermometer and specially designed cards to note the weather everyday for the whole year too.

It took me ages to decide which thermometer to buy for everyone. I wanted a max and min bit on it - but most of the traditional thermometers have to be re-set manually everyday - so if it's sited outside you have to go out in all weathers to check it and re-set it. I wasn't sure if that would be convenient for everyone and i was worried i was asking a lot during bad weather etc... So in the end i settled on digital thermometers that can be attached to the outside of a window facing inwards - so you can check it in the comfort of your own house. It said they had a max / min setting too - all sorted!

However, i got this email the other day from one of the weather collectors:

Hi Rebecca

I’m starting to get into the swing of daily temperature readings...but find that I am unsure about the timing. I notice that the maximum & minimum readings are updated at 08.00 & 20.00 respectively. My poor brain is having difficulty working out the best time to take readings for each day! Just before 08.00 they are the minimum for the previous night and the maximum for the previous day. Between 08.00 & 20.00 they are the same minimum for the previous night but the maximum reading has reset and is meaningless, as it is just the temperature at the time of reading (assuming it gets hotter during the day). Just before 20.00 they are still the same minimum (unless it’s been even colder during the day!) but the maximum for that actual day. After 20.00 the minimum reading has reset and so becomes meaningless for that day, just recording the temperature at the time of reading. It seems to me that just before 20.00 is the only time that gives the actual temperatures for the previous 24 hours. Oh for a good old mercury max-min thermometer!

Does it matter? Perhaps I am being too pernickety!.. though it would obviously be more consistent if everyone does the same thing, otherwise some will be recording the actual day, some the previous day and some not really the daily max or min at all.

Sorry if that’s confusing. Let me know what you think.


Hmmmm - I didn't want everyone to get confused or bothered about taking readings every day. But i can see that the timings of the max / min are confusing. I've decided to leave it up to each individual to work it out and to write down what they are comfortable with. The temperature readings are only a part of my request of the volunteers and it's their descriptions that i'm most interested in - 10 different viewpoints of any one day throughout this year.
The posh weather station will fill in the gaps with all the technical data - hopefully.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Jane Eyre

"On Midsummer-eve, Adele, weary with gathering wild strawberries in Hay Lane half the day, had gone to bed with the sun. I watched her drop asleep, and when i left her, I sought the garden.
It was now the sweetest hour of the twenty-four: 'day its fervid fires had wasted', and dew fell cool on panting plain and scorched summit. Where the sun had gone down in simple state - pure of the pomp of clouds - spread a solemn purple, burning with the light of red jewel and furnace flame at one point, on one hill-peak, and extending high and wide, soft and still softer, over half heaven. The east had its own charm of fine, deep blue, and its own modest gem, a rising and solitary star: soon it would boast the moon; but she was yet beneath the horizon."

I'm half way through my second reading of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It was during the first reading of the novel (and almost especially reading the chapter that the passage above is from) that I decided I should propose the Weather Project back in 2008. 
Published in 1847 under Charlotte's pseudonym Currer Bell it was an instant success. I have to say that when i first read it i wasn't that keen - it's a bit prim and deeply loaded with morality for me. But now i'm reading it again i'm really enjoying it. Maybe reading lots of Charlotte's personal letters at the same time has helped me get a more rounded view of her personality which in turn has helped me see more in the novel.