Beaches Leader 22 May 2009 - Rain pummels BeachToday is my fifth full day in Jacksonville after arriving on Tuesday night. Amazingly this is the first day I have actually been down to the beach to partake in my “usual” morning bike ride, in fact the first time to the beach for any reason. The sun is out, the sky has patches of blue, and the temperature is up. Nothing surprising about that you might think, but for the last few days we have suffered heavy showers for the majority of the day. I for one have been getting sick off it. Yesterday was Tina’s day off from her main job so we had almost a full day to do something before she did a couple of hours at her second job. But the weather was so dismal it ended up being a day of wandering around stores, and I won’t bore you with that, the only excitement being the discovery of a $8 DVD player at the Goodwill Thrift Store. Needless to say it turned out to be knackered, and a quick piece of internet research convinced me while the likely new part was only $1.59, the act of soldering it back in place was neither my forte nor worth it! So back it went to the store for a refund.

Any road I digress. The weather has been the main talking point around here and you can see that the usual laid back attitude has been affected, a grumpiness more at home on the wet Leeds side streets being evident amongst the locals. They are used to tropical storms, they are used to flash heavy showers that last an hour or so, but several days on the trot is unusual and unwelcome. The local newspaper, The Beaches Leader weekend edition reported that between last Monday and midday Thursday a total of 9.58 inches of rainfall fell at the Beaches area, Wednesday’s storms accounting for 3 inches alone. The rain was also combined with heavy wind gusts up to 53 mph, the average around 44 mph. The wind was enough to force the closure of Jacksonville Beach Pier after boarding broke away. Meanwhile the drainage system has struggled to cope with the deluge, and there has been flooding in some streets, the rain also setting of alarm systems of some of the nearby buildings, the block of condominiums across the road from us particularly annoying. The newspaper also reported that the pier wooden struts showed that around two feet of sand had been blown or washed away during the storms.

But today was thankfully different. I woke to sunshine and hastily set out on the bike to enjoy the beach and test the new rear tyre. Jacksonville Beach 24 May 2009 (I’d been out briefly two days earlier and pumped the tyres at a local gas station. Imagine my surprise several hours later when there was a loud explosion in the lounge, the brief smell of burning, a startled yelp from the cats, and I found the rear tyre had actually blown up! There was a lengthy gash with some strange green seepage trickling out. Unnerving. So my shopping purchases had included a new tyre, inner tube, and foot pump).

Anyway the tide was coming in so there was little beach to actually ride along so I switched back to the road after a few blocks. Sea at Jax Beach 8:30am 24th May 200910th Avenue Lifeguard Seat 24th May 2009Even at just after 8am the sun is very strong, so it was a short trip to avoid getting burnt. The forecast is for more heavy showers today during the afternoon, so hopefully I can get out beforehand to avoid them, but for the time being I’m listening to Stoke City getting a football lesson at Arsenal as half time approaches. The idiot BBC Stoke commentator John Acres opined at kick off that Stoke “could get something from this”, fancying a draw. It’s currently Arsenal 4 Stoke City 1. I ask you.